From Littleton to Weldon, and all points in between.
Such has been the December sprint for “Run it Back,” a Daily Herald podcast set to debut at 8 p.m. on New Year’s Eve.
The show, which details the title game of the 2018 Northampton County Christmas Classic, features interview segments with players, coaches and personalities from Big Sports TV — all of whom had plenty to say on the subject of Weldon’s 75-60 triumph over Northwest Collegiate and Technical Academy.
“We’re excited to share this with the Valley basketball community,” said Herald sportswriter Justin Hayes. “The interviews we have conducted are full of background information that will cast new light on what was a brilliant final.”
Entering the tourney, NCTA was a popular choice to emerge the winner, courtesy of its 5-0 record and vapor-trail inspired approach to half-court offense, which saw the group attempt a three-point basket once every 76.8 seconds ahead of the tournament.
“They became the Beatles,” Big Sports analyst Duriel Smith said of the bunch, who would finish the season with a 25-2 record. “They were the rock stars of the Roanoke Valley — where they traveled, they brought a crowd with them.”
And so it went to sleepy Gaston, where the masses witnessed a Viking clinic over the first two days of the bash, setting up a legendary showdown with the always-proud Chargers — who, by sharp contrast, had played just three times in advance of the championship.
“The final was certainly a study in pace,” Hayes said of the tilt, played before a raucous crowd of some 2,000 fans. “On one side of the score book, you had Northwest, on fire and playing with tremendous burst, and on the other, Weldon — a deliberate group that ran offense and never settled for a bad shot.”
Ultimately, the latter won out — propelled, of course, by tourney MVP Jalen Lynch, who averaged 26.3 points, 8.7 rebounds and 7.3 assists per night over three games.
A legendary performance, by any estimation.
“Lynch was outstanding,” Hayes said of the Weldon guard. “And what he accomplished over the course of that tournament stands as some of the best basketball the Valley has seen in a long time.”
The series, which spans three episodes, is slated for release on the Herald’s Facebook platform.