Longtime Mount Airy head girls basketball coach Howard Mayo is coming home this week.
Mayo, who stepped down on May 11 after a highly successful run in which he posted a 235-97 record as the Lady Bears’ mentor between 2005 and last season, will return to Bear Country on Tuesday evening with his Galax Maroon Tide squad. Galax (2-2) will host High Point Andrews (5-3) in the third game of the 2016 Lady Bear Holiday Classic at approximately 5 p.m.
The tournament features host Mount Airy, Galax, Andrews and five other schools — Alleghany, Forbush, Eastside (Va.), North Surry and McMichael. Both junior varsity and varsity games are being played, although only the varsity portion is in a tournament format. The junior varsity teams’ second and third-day opponents will be based on the outcome of the varsity games, and be played an hour prior to tip-off of those contests. The JV games are played with a continuous clock for all four quarters.
Games will be contested over three days, starting on Tuesday at 11 a.m. and concluding with the championship game at roughly 8 p.m. on Thursday. For those curious, the Lady Bears and Galax are not likely to meet unless both reach the championship game, although it is possible they could also meet in the fifth-place or seventh-place contests.
Mayo’s new team has played just four games so far. The Tide own two wins over Pulaski (62-48 and 48-45), but have lost twice to Carroll County (71-40 and 68-35).
The tournament tips off with Mount Airy taking on Alleghany, with the JV’s playing at 11 a.m. and the varsity teams at noon. This could be one of the best match-ups of the tournament, as the Trojans are off to a 6-1 start to their season, and the Lady Bears are 6-0 with an average margin of victory of 38.3 points. At 1:30, the Forbush (9-1) girls take on Eastside, based out of Coeburn, Va., which is 4-3 to start the year. After that game is finished, the JV’s from those two schools will play. Last year, a similar tournament was played at Galax, where the Lady Falcoms slipped by Mount Airy to win the championship.
The Galax and Andrews JV’s play at 4, followed by the varsity teams. North Surry (6-5) and McMichael (3-7) will wrap up day one with the varsity playing at 6:30 and the JV’s to follow. The Lady Hounds were impressive in the SouthData Classic, scoring a 58-38 win over a 4A Reagan team that entered the event 11-1, and then leveling East Forsyth 65-31 on Friday. North’s losses came at the hands of three 4A schools and unbeaten Mount Airy, and a third meeting with the Lady Bears is possible during the tournament.
The first two pairings on Wednesday are consolation bracket games. The losers of the Mount Airy-Alleghany and Forbush-Eastside games will meet at approximately noon, one hour after the JV game. The losers of Galax-Andrews and North Surry-McMichael will meet at 1:30, with the JV’s to follow.
The winners of the Mount Airy-Alleghany and Forbush-Eastside contests will meet at 5 p.m., about one hour after the the JV’s start. at 6:30, the Galax-Andrews and North Surry-McMichael winners will meet, with the JV’s to follow.
On Thursday, the seventh-place, fifth-place, third-place and championship games will all be played, with varsity games at noon, 1:30, 5 and 6:30. Corresponding JV games will be played at 11 a.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.