THURSDAY SPORTS: Apple Classic tournament underway; Gamecocks finish 3rd in Honolulu; Newberry ranked in final coaches poll

The 2013 Apple Classic Holiday Hoops Tournament gets underway Thursday at Walhalla High School. Admission is only $5 and fans can see 7 games per day. The tournament runs through Saturday featuring teams from South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia.

——————————————————————————————————————————————South Carolina trailed by as many as nine in the first half, but the Gamecocks (4-6) out-scored Akron 44-28 in the second half to defeat the Zips (6-4) 69-59 to take third place at the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic on Christmas Day in Honolulu. Five Gamecocks scored in double-figures, led by freshman guard Duane Notice with a season high 15 points.

——————————————————————————————————————————————Newberry College finished its football season in the top-25 of the Division II coaches poll. Newberry finished the season ranked 23rd. Northwest Missouri State, #1 at 15-0, was the only unbeaten team in Division II.


Three Palmetto State baseballers have earned preseason All-America honors from Louisville Slugger. South Carolina  infielder Joey Pankake and Gamecock catcher Grayson Greiner earned second team honors, and Clemson pitcher Daniel Gossett picked up third team honors. Pankake hit .311 with 11 home runs and 42 RBI last season. Greiner hit .298 with 4 homers and 38 RBI. Gossett was 10-4 on the mound for the Tigers with a 2.56 ERA.


The San Francisco 49ers said farewell to Candlestick Park, their home for 42 years, with a 32-24 victory over the Atlanta Falcons that clinched their place in the playoffs. Monday’s game was their last regular season home game at Candlestick Park. Next year, the team starts playing at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, about 35 miles away. Memorable moments at Candlestick Park include the 1989 earthquake that interrupted the World Series, and The Beatles’ farewell concert.

——————————————————————————————————————————————Bowl season continues today as Bowling Green takes on Pittsburgh in the Little Caesar’s Bowl at 6 PM on ESPN. #24 Northern Illinois will take on Utah State in the San Diego Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl at 9:30 PM.

______________________________________________________________________________ Kobe Bryant leads the NBA with a record 15 games played on Christmas Day, but he spent this last one on the sideline. Bryant is out for about four to six weeks to allow a knee fracture to heal. His moral support wasn’t quite enough for the Los Angeles Lakers. They lost 101-95 to the Miami Heat in Wednesday night’s game in L.A.