Varner Tip-Off Classic 2023: Top 5 Performers
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With the 2023-24 season being officially underway, a number of early-season and midseason tournaments are taking place across the state and country. Woodruff HS, a 3A school out of the Upstate, was one of the sites of those tournaments. For…
With the 2023-24 season being officially underway, a number of early-season and midseason tournaments are taking place across the state and country.
Woodruff HS, a 3A school out of the Upstate, was one of the sites of those tournaments. For the third consecutive year, it staged the Varner Tip-Off Classic, named after Willie Varner who was a legendary longtime football coach at the school.
Even though it may only be the start of the season, there were several who arrived at the home of the Wolverines in midseason form. Without further adieu, here are five of those names who raised our eyebrows.
Landrum went 2-1 in last season’s Varner Tip-Off and coach Jared St. Charles’ Cardinals resumed its winning ways on Saturday afternoon as his team matched up against Boiling Springs. Cortez concluded her afternoon with a 23-point showing in a game where Landrum’s margin of victory was 22. Included in those 23 points she put on the scoreboard were four made attempts from behind the 3-point line. The Cardinals as a team sank seven successful triples. Cortez displays impressive handles to compliment her scoring prowess and displays plenty of speed and quickness as well. She is off to a good start in her bid to conclude her high school career with an exclamation point.
Young stands at an imposing 6-foot-1 and she stood tall and talented in Laurens’ first-round contest against Greer Middle College. The Blazers had no answers for the Raiders junior big as she placed 20 points on the scoreboard. Among those 20, 12 were tallied in the first half of play. At the time, the game was close before a second-half scoring outburst by the Raiders turned a close contest into a coronation. Her height not only makes her an efficient high-percentage scorer, but she also wins plenty of battles on the boards. Young is also not afraid to play the game on contact and find her way to the free throw line. Combining the skills of a big with veteran instincts is almost certain to improve the Raiders’ fortunes in 2023-24.
Freeman got her first taste of what playing at the varsity level was like last season when she was part of 5A Chapin’s team as an eighth grader. She is entering her freshman campaign in 2023-24 and is poised for a breakout season if she has more games similar to what she had when her Eagles were victorious over Broome. Freeman tallied 16 points to lead all scorers for the game. She has a number of strong points to her game – including the ability to finish strong at the rim and a willingness to absorb contact that can place her at the free throw line.
The final team to be in the win column as Saturday’s play at Woodruff HS concluded fittingly was – the team representing Woodruff HS. The Wolverines defeated 3A Seneca by a final of 44-31 in large part because of the heroics of its star junior. Burnette concluded her game with 19 points. In appropriate Burnette fashion, she sank four 3-pointers to lead the Woodruff attack from behind the arc. In fact, those four 3-pointers were the only triples that were made by the team. Burnette also displays impressive handles, knows how to organize an offense in a halfcourt set and knows when to score and when to pass.
On paper, when fans think of 5A Boiling Springs matching up with 2A Landrum, fans may not exactly expect a close contest. But that is what Ezell and the rest of her Bulldogs teammates gave the Cardinals on Saturday at Woodruff for a good portion of the matchup. Ezell led all Boiling Springs scorers that game with a 16-point effort. She is 6-foot-1 and does get plenty accomplished as a converter of high-percentage shots near the rim. But Ezell displays her offensive versatility with her willingness to play the role of point guard. Her tall stature also comes in handy when looking to bolster a team’s rebounding output – which she does.