The dedication of Bill Pope Gymnasium took place in a fitting manner as Northside cruised to a 79-44 victory over Brookville in Friday's first round of the Northside Invitational Tournament.
The Northside coach, who led the Vikings to their first boys basketball title in March, was feted prior to the game with the official ceremony naming the 23-year-old gym in his honor.
Pope’s family, including his parents; his wife, Patty; four daughters and six grandchildren were present, along with his high school coach at Mount Vernon High in Alexandria, Gordon Hill.
They watched him rack up career victory No. 542 as the Vikings improved to 4-3 on the season to move into Saturday’s semifinal against William Byrd.
Jordan Wooden, the lone returning starter from the 2019 championship team, scored a game-high 23 points for Northside (4-3).
Wooden said he was not about to lose on the night his coach was honored.
“In the locker room when we came back after the [ceremony] I huddled the guys up and told them it was a big night and we had to come out and play,” Wooden said.
“It was real special. I’m happy for my coach. He really deserved it.”
Wooden shook off a two-point effort in Saturday’s loss to Martinsville.
“I went to the gym and worked on my shot,” he said. “I was just in my head a lot, telling myself I had to do better than that.”
Sophomore Ayrion Journiette added 16 points and Jamison Foley shook off early foul trouble to score 15.
Senior guard Donnie Cook led Brookville (4-4) with 14 points.
Liberty Christian 67, Chatham 51
Connor Hartless hit four of the Bulldogs’ nine 3-pointers as they pulled away from the Cavaliers in the Northside Invitational.
Haddon Smith added 14 points while Sully Holmes scored 12 for LCA (4-3).
Chance Briggs led Chatham (2-3) with 12 points.