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ACC Barnstorming Tour Brings a Big Crowd to Watauga High School on Friday

By Nathan Ham

A group of Watauga High School basketball players got a chance to share the floor with some of the best seniors the Atlantic Coast Conference had to offer on Friday night.

The team of varsity boys and girls players, as well as coaches and even the school principal suited up for the game to take on ACC standouts Joel Berry, Al Freeman, Theo Pinson and others in a night of fun hoops action. Duke senior Grayson Allen was unable to take part in the game.

The Barnstormers team, coached by former UNC star Phil Ford, gave fans plenty to cheer for with long three-point baskets and rim-rocking slam dunks.

Of course the Watauga High School all-stars had plenty of bright moments from a team that included varsity boys players Sam Crabbe, Bryant Greene, Hayes Henderson, Alex Marinakis, Jonathan McClannon and Alex McConnell, varsity girls coach Laura Barry, varsity girls players Parris Bolick, Madie Darner, Alyssa Lopez and Melissa Robinson, school principal Chris Blanton, assistant girls basketball coach Dylan Eppley, soccer head coach Josh Honeycutt and football assistant coach Marshall Thomas.

Most of all, those players got a chance to make a lasting memory, playing on the same floor with some guys that may get an opportunity to play in the NBA next season.

Boone was the final stop of the 2018 ACC Barnstorming Tour. The tour began on April 9 at Southeast Guilford High School in Greensboro followed by stops at Forbush High School in East Bend (April 10), Alexander Central High School in Taylorsville (April 12), Hunter Huss High School in Gastonia (April18), Franklin High School (April 20) UNC-Asheville (April 21) and New Bern High School (April 24).

Fans line up for the ACC Barnstorming Tour on Friday evening at Watauga High School before the doors opened at 6 p.m.
Phil Ford (left) takes a photo with Blowing Rock resident Tim Knight.
Barnstormers head coach Phil Ford took some time to sign autographs for fans prior to the game. Those that purchased VIP tickets got to meet the players and coaches and get autographs prior to the game.

Joel Berry (left) and Theo Pinson sign autographs and take photos with fans prior to the game.

Theo Pinson autographs a t-shirt for a fan.
Joel Berry takes a selfie with a fan while another fan takes a photo of both of the UNC senior players.
A packed gymnasium waits for the start of the game between the ACC Barnstorming team and the Watauga High School All-Stars.
Watauga All-Star players warm up before the game.
ACC Barnstorming merchandise was available to purchase.