EAST BEND — In a gym that’s usually filled with red, white and blue, Carolina blue and Duke blue were the dominating colors. On Tuesday night, Forbush High School hosted the ACC Barnstorming Tour in front of a packed house.
High school athletes from across the area took on ACC standouts Grayson Allen, Joel Barry and other players from Wake Forest, NC State, UNC and Duke. The ACC team took home the win, but the night was about more than the game being played on the court.
“The crowd was amazing,” said event coordinator, Pet Sumner. “I liked the fact that the seats were so close to the court. We love coming to towns like this. We love coming to communities that don’t usually get the chance to go see Duke, UNC, Wake, or NC State play. The school was really helpful, they were great. Sam Crews was phenomenal. We really enjoyed it, and the players had a great time.”
“I had a smile on my face all night long because it was everything I had hoped it would be,” said Sam Crews, who coached the high school players for the Barnstorming game. “I had a lot of fun. Just watching everybody in the community that had a smile on their face was great. I think the ACC guys enjoyed it as well.”
The game consisted of ACC players from Duke, UNC, Wake, and NC State. The players put on a show on the court with dunks, and other impressive moves that put the crowd on their feet.
“Being part of the ACC Barnstorming Tour is always a very fun time,” said Nolan Smith, a former Duke player who served as an assistant coach for the game. “We get to come to a bunch of these towns in North Carolina and meet a lot more Duke, Carolina, State, and Wake fans. They truly, truly support us all the time, and they support the ACC which is even more important. It’s just always a fun time.”
“Tonight was fun, the atmosphere was a lot of fun,” said UNC’s Theo Pinson. “We try to give everybody a good show and have a good time. Carolina blue always travels well so I didn’t expect anything less from the fans.”
The High School team consisted of Forbush, Carver, Starmount, West Stokes, South Stokes and Surry Central athletes. Lance Kennedy, Jarrett Hall, Louden Hundley, Alex Boyles and Tony Douglas represented Forbush; Russell Bradley represented Carver; Griffin Cass represented Starmount; John Brooke and Noah Spainhour represented West Stokes; Ben Bowen represented South Stokes; and Brandon Norman and Blake Woods represented Surry Central.
“I had a great experience and I would love to do it again sometime,” said Forbush’s Louden Hundley.
One of the more notable players that had the crowd hyped was Duke’s Grayson Allen. Allen competed in the dunk contest and took home the win with a through-the-legs dunk.
“Tonight was great,” said Allen. “I had a lot of fun playing with the guys I had competed against all year, and all four years at college. It’s awesome to get together on the same team and put on a show for the fans.”
During the night, there was also a three-point contest. Cass and Kennedy competed for the home team and they both made three shots. UNC’s Joel Berry put on a show as he made all of his shots to take the win.
“Tonight was a lot of fun,” said Berry. “It’s great to come out here with the fans and be able to do what we do. They get to enjoy it and see us up close.”
At one point during the game, Cass went one-on-one with Nolan Smith. Smith threw down his talents, but Cass was able to stick with him. On the other side of the court, Cass was able to get revenge as he was on offense and Smith was on defense.
“His handles are unreal,” said Cass. “Tonight was fun. When I played against Nolan on offense he fouled me, they just didn’t call it. He even said he fouled me.”
The game went in the favor of the ACC players, but the game was about more than the score. It was about the entertainment for the crowd, and the excitement that was felt throughout the gym.
“Tonight was great, the enthusiasm was great, and I think the players were well received,” said UNC legend and Barnstorming coach Phil Ford. “It looked like everybody was having a great time. It was just another great Barnstorming night.”