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35th Annual Modie Risher Classic Wraps Up Another Successful Year
1/2/2013 1:51:29 PM

Stephon Taylor of Burke defends an inbound pass during it’s contest with the Beaufort Eagles on Saturday.

 The 35th Annual Modie Risher Classic continued its legacy with a strong showing over the weekend at Burke High School. 12 games were played in three days that involved 8 teams from around the state. Although the host team was not able capture the championship, the eventual champion still had some Burke flavor.

 This years’ tournament was especially special as three teams in the field are coached by former players of Burke High School. Melvin Watson(Burke ’93) is the head coach of South Pointe High School, who were crowned champions of the tournament this year. He led the Burke Bulldogs to two lower-state titles before going on to USC to play college ball. Jamar Washington(Burke ’90) now coaches at Bethune-Bowman High and was named the MVP of the Modie Risher tournament in 1989. He is also the athletic director for the school. Jermel President(Burke ’94) is an assistant at Fort Dorchester High School. He was named Charleston Basketball player of the year at Burke and played for the College of Charleston Cougars from 1995-1999, leading them to four regular-season conference titles.

 When asked what it meant to be a part of the Modie Risher tournament, Washington said “It definitely means a lot to me being a former Burke Player that played in this tournament every year. It’s been one of the best tournaments in Charleston for years and it’s always good to come back and show support for Mr. Risher and what he has done for Burke and athletics in general.” Coach Risher was in the stands along with his wife enjoying the games throughout the weekend.

Saturday’s Games


South Pointe 87, Fort Dorchester 61

 Pressure, pressure and more pressure. That was the name of the game for the South Point Stallions as they were crowned champions of the 35th Annual Modie Risher Classic this past weekend defeating the Fort Dorchester Patriots 87-61. The Stallions, led by former Burke High School standout Melvin Watson, made it to the finals after defeating Calhoun County and Beaufort in the first two rounds before facing off versus the Patriots Saturday.

 Fort Dorchester, who had already defeated Timberland and Burke to advance to the finals, got off to a good start and led 12-4 early in the first quarter. After a timeout, Coach Watson rallied his troops and the Stallions pressure defense proved to be too much for the Patriots. “We didn’t start off the game as good as we wanted to, but we stuck to our game plan and what we do best,” said Coach Watson. The physical play and tenacious defense of Watson’s squad frustrated the Patriots and led to several turnovers. After being called for a controversial foul that appeared to be a blocked shot, Anthony Johnson (South Pointe) responded with a steal and breakaway two-hand dunk to take the lead 24-20. Fort Dorchester was able to weather the storm with good free throw shooting as the Stallions took a 29-25 lead into the half.

 The third quarter was one to forget for the Patriots as they were outscored 28-10. They couldn’t handle the pressure and fast pace that South Pointe played with throughout the contest. The game had a rivalry- like atmosphere and it was getting louder and louder as the Stallions continued to force turnover after turnover and converting them into baskets. The crowd went into a frenzy when Tyreece Bryce(South Pointe) stole the ball after an inbound pass and slammed home a one-hand dunk to go up 50-32 with 2:12 left to play in the third quarter. The Stallions continued to dominate and went into the fourth quarter with a 57-35 lead.

 It was more of the same in the fourth quarter as Coach Watson’s team continued to pressure their opponent to take a 74-41 lead with 4:25 left to play in the final quarter. The Patriots were finally able to make some plays offensively after South Pointe pulled most of their starters to finish the game. Anthony Johnson led all scorers with 17 points, and Tyreece Bryce added 15. Johnson was named the MVP of the tournament.


3rd Place -4th Place Game: Beaufort 56, Burke 50

 As the host team of the Modie Risher Classic, the Burke Bulldogs came into the 3rd Place game versus the Beaufort Eagles on a sour note after not being able to advance to the finals losing to the Fort Dorchester Patriots 69-49 in the second round on Friday Night.  This would be the third matchup between the two teams already this season, with the Eagles winning the first two contests.

 The Bulldogs got off to a slow start and were down 24-14 early in the second quarter. The long front line of the Eagles bothered the young and smaller Burke team in the first half as they struggled offensively. Burke Head Coach Deon Richardson called a timeout and pleaded with his team to be more aggressive and toughen up on both ends of the floor. They were able to close the gap and were down just six points going into the half with Beaufort leading 33-27.

 Burke came out of halftime and went on a 12-2 run in the third quarter with some good ball movement and better shooting to take a 39-35 lead.  “I told my guys to continue attacking the basket and we were able to get some fouls on their big men and got some confidence going into the fourth quarter,” said Richardson. “We have a young team and we’re still learning how we fit together on the court”. The score was tied 39-39 going into the final period.

 Beaufort took a 42-39 lead early in the fourth quarter with a 7-0 run of their own that started late in the third quarter. After a few possessions, Craig Williams of Burke hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 46 with 3:34 left to play.

 Unlike the Bulldogs, the Eagles were able to execute effectively late in the quarter and took a 52-48 lead with less than two minutes to play. Another pair of free throws gave Beaufort a 54-48 lead which was too much for Burke to overcome. “We had a chance to win this game tonight but we came up short. This was the closest we have played Beaufort after already facing them twice earlier this season, so we are getting better. Anytime you have a young team, you can appreciate the effort that they gave and we saw some improvements,” said coach Richardson. The Eagles won the game 56-50 and placed third in the tournament. Burke finished in 4th place after the tough loss.

 Although Burke has a 7-6 record overall, four of the losses came against 4AAAA schools, and three of them were against Beaufort who came into the tournament 7-0. “In my opinion, we have played a tougher schedule than most 1A schools. We have beaten everyone else that we have played that are smaller schools like us,” Richardson commented. “I still believe that we can win our region and compete for a championship which is the overall goal every year.”

Other Scores

5th Place – 6th Place Game: Calhoun County 54, Timberland 48

7th Place – 8th Place Game: Manning 43, Bethune-Bowman 39




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