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Moonlight Madness jumps off new season

By Curtis Brooks
Sports Editor

October 25, 2012

Photo by Jonathan Bym
Black and Gold sophomore Jihad Wright goes up for a two handed slam during the men's intersquad scrimmage at the Second Annual Moonlight Madness on Oct. 18 in the English E. Jones Center. Wright won the slam dunk showdown later on that night, as he beat out teammates Tyler Kordenbrock and Reggie Cobia.

The Black and Gold men's and women's basketball squads kicked off their season on Oct. 18 as they hosted the Second Annual Moonlight Madness in the English E. Jones Center.

A family-friendly event that attained great success in the first installment last season, the basketball programs decided to exhibit the improvements and changes that have been made since the conclusion of the 2011-2012 season.

The event is also an opportunity for Braves' fans to preview their favorite team prior to the season getting underway. The gym was full of students and local fans anticipating a show.

In the opening comments from Chancellor Kyle Carter, he displayed his pleasure with the growth of both of the programs over the last few seasons and the continuing growth in fan support for UNCP's basketball programs.

Following Dr. Carter's comments, both the Black and Gold cheerleaders and dance team performed a set of choreographed routines to help build the excitement and anticipation for the upcoming action on the hardwood.

The new-look teams were then introduced to the fans, first the ladies followed by the men.

Fan favorites like seniors Shahmel Brackett and George Blakeney were greeted with the loudest cheers once their names were announced to the anxious crowd.

The player introductions were also the first opportunity for a majority of UNCP fans to become acquainted with all of the newcomers to both programs.

Once the introductions were complete, the fans were able to interact with their favorite Black and Gold players as they all gathered on the floor and danced to the popular "Cha Cha Slide."

Fans young and old strutted their stuff and showed off some of their favorite dance moves during the four-minute session.

When the 15-minute intersquad scrimmages began, both units were able to exhibit their respective playing styles and competitive spirits.

The Lady Braves played at a controlled pace, with a heavy emphasis on the defensive side of the ball.

Returnees Courtney Bolton and Jazmine Kemp stood out as they showed their offensive prowess.

On the men's side, the Braves frantic pace and high intensity offense thrilled the crowd after a series of dazzling passes and dunks.

The main event of the night featured freshman Tyler Kordenbrock, sophomore Reggie Cobia and sophomore Jihad Wright as the trio squared off in a two-round dunk competition.

Wright, a transfer from Campbell, stole the show with a reverse dunk he caught on an alley-oop with assistance from Lady Braves' senior guard Amelia Partin.

Following the dunk contest, UNCP senior Walter Munoz said, "Both teams are very young and there were a lot unfamilair faces." "But they are some of the most athletic players I have seen since I have been out here," Munoz continued.

The Black and Gold men's team opens its season against Athletes in Action on Oct. 25 in exhibition play, while the women will travel to Wingate to take on Newberry College in the OrthoCarolina Classic on Nov. 10 in their first action of the season.

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