Local refs handle last week's All-Star Festivities
A pair of long-time referees in Lenoir County had their first opportunities to shine on an All-Star stage.
During the NCCA East-West All-Star Games last week in Greensboro, Leo Lockhart and David Grimes covered a pair of contests. Lockhart was one of the referees in the girls’ basketball game on July 16 — which included Kinston’s Danielle Heath and South Lenoir’s Hunter West — while Grimes handled duties at the football game two days later.
“It was one of the best high school girls’ games I’ve ever worked,” Lockhart said. “The atmosphere was great with some of the best players in the state of North Carolina. The East-West game is truly an honor to referee and it was a privilege.
"It’s something every referee wants to put on their resume."
Lockhart will head into his 21st year as a referee for the area, primarily doing work in Eastern North Carolina. The Kinston High School graduate said he was inspired to referee after his playing career ended, including a basketball stint at Louisburg College.
“I really have to thank Earnest Brown and Anthony Loftin for getting me into refereeing,” Lockhart said. “I remember attending my first camp in 1992 -- the Tommy Mattocks Ref Camp -- and going from there. Tommy really took me under his wing over the first 13 years of my career and I’m truly thankful for him. I just wanted to give something back to the game after my playing days were over and I had the opportunity here.”
Grimes has been in the profession for 18 years, with the South Lenoir High School graduate refereeing football and volleyball. Grimes refereed the 2012 2A state championship game and said this was another amazing contest for him.
“It was a fantastic game and one of the best experiences I’ve had in my field,” Grimes said.
Grimes is set to head into his 19th year officiating games across the region, taking up a fellow coworker on an offer nearly two decades prior.
“I worked at Parks and Rec with Jimmy Rouse and when he became a booking agent in 2000, he asked me to do it,” Grimes said. “I had reffed rec league games, but never a high school game (at the time). I’ve loved it ever since.”
The West won both games against the East, with a 95-81 victory in girls’ basketball and 23-21 decision in football.