Combine Academy 61 Kinston 48

Kinston and Combine Academy came into Saturday afternoon’s contest for the right to play Leesville Road for fifth place in the TJ Warren Bracket of the John Wall Holiday Invitational. Kinston lost on opening night to Moravian Prep while Combine Academy lost a heartbreaker to nationally-ranked Hillcrest Prep. Kinston is a perennial NCHSAA 2A powerhouse and coached by Perry Tyndall, who is considered one of the top coaches in the state. For Combine Academy, Jeff McInnis is in his first season as a head coach and brings excitement, enthusiasm and a passionate style of coaching that makes him a fan favorite.

First Half

Both Kinston and Combine brings high-level athleticism to the floor and an aggressive style of play that makes every trip down the court exciting and entertaining. Kinston has national-level prospect 6’7 junior Dontrez Styles, while Combine Academy counters with 6’5 sophomore Jalen Hood-Schifino.  The first half promised everything we thought it would as Combine Academy took a 23-21 lead into the half. For the most part, it was a defensive struggle as both teams had a difficult time scoring. For Combine Academy, they went 8-of-27 from the floor, 2-of-9 from the 3-point line while Kinston went 8-of-24 from the floor and 1-of-5 from the 3-point line.

Second Half

Whatever coach McInnis said at halftime, it worked like a charm. Combine Academy went on a 13-0 run to take a 36-21 lead and never looked back. In addition, Combine found their range as they scored 27 points in the third quarter alone. The backcourt of Hood-Schifino and Robert Dillingham went to work and combined for 14 points, but the big story was the ball movement as Combine had seven assists to only one turnover.


There’s no question, Combine Academy plays an aggressive, suffocating, and attacking team defense. They simply make the opposing team work for each possession, contesting each and every shot, and that one moment when you think you have your man beat, they have someone rotating over to take a charge. While it was a well-balanced and great team win where 10 Combine players got into the scoring column, 6’5 sophomore point Jalen Hood-Schifino was outstanding in today’s win. He finished with 14 points going 5-7 from the floor, 4-7 from the free-throw line, and dished out seven assists to only two turnovers. In addition, 6’0 freshman Robert Dillingham once again played well on the big stage and chipped in 10 points. For Kinston, it was 6’0 senior point guard leading the way with 18 points while 6’7 junior Dontrez Styles added 14.