Friendly adversaries will be teammates for the first time on July 20.
And the occasion is worthy of such a convergence.
Erwin’s Malik Moore and North Buncombe’s Daniel Burchette have been invited to play in the East-West All-Star basketball game.
Erwin’s David Rhoney is one of the coaches for this year’s West team along with Graham’s Michael Williams. The East-West All-Star game is played annually inside the Greensboro Coliseum and is open only to statewide seniors.
Burchette (2015) and Moore (2014) are the past two Citizen-Times All-WNC Players of the Year.
But they have never been allies until now.
“I can’t imagine there are many people in Western North Carolina who don’t know these kids’ names or many outside of Western North Carolina either,” Rhoney said.
“Getting the chance to coach Malik one more time is going to be special. And then you have a kid like Daniel who we’ve battled, off and on, for the past four years. Beyond the basketball part, they are two really good kids, too. When you pick players for a game like this, you want to have a high criteria and they fit it.”
Erwin (19-8) and North Buncombe (22-5) shared last winter’s Mountain Athletic Conference 3-A regular-season championship and split their four meetings, 2-2.
The Warriors won a tiebreaker game for the MAC’s top NCHSAA 3-A playoff seed, 79-67, on Feb. 20, but then fell in the second round of the postseason on Feb. 28 to the visiting Black Hawks, 66-61.
Burchette and Moore were often matched up against one another. Still, they always had a rapport off the court.
“We’ve already been texting about (the East-West All-Star game),” Burchette said Friday.
“Malik is a great player, and I am super stoked about being on his team.”
Burchette is a 6-foot-3 guard/forward who signed to play college basketball for North Greenville (S.C.) on Friday afternoon. This past season, he averaged 22.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.2 steals and 2.8 assists per game. Burchette and the Black Hawks tied their school record for single-season wins and won a share of their first conference championship in five years.
In addition to his Citizen-Times award, Burchette was named the MAC Player of the Year and the N.C. Basketball Coaches Association’s district player of the year.
Burchette was a four-year starter for North Buncombe and a Blue-White All-Star selection who scored a school-record 1,947 points.
Moore earned All-MAC and Citizen-Times All-WNC recognition this past season after averaging 18.3 points, 7.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists a game.
He was a Blue-White All-Star selection and completed his career with 1,397 points.
Moore has yet to make a college commitment, but has received scholarship offers from Appalachian State, The Citadel, Radford, Tennessee Tech, Western Kentucky and Winston-Salem State.
“It means a lot to get to play in an all-star game like this,” Moore said.
“It’ll be interesting (to play with Burchette). Getting to play with someone you know like him and coach Rhoney is nice.”