Wild Wing Cafe Hoops Classic Update
↑ Hoops Classic: Good to have big crowds, and big-time ball back in town.
↓ Ardrey Kell girls offense: Knights had 28 turnovers in a loss to Princess Anne (Va.).
↑ Montverde (Fla) Academy: Nations top-ranked team is entertaining, long and talented. Worth the price of admission.
↑ Olympics C.J. Jackson: Sweet-shooting guard had a tough shooting day against Victory Christian, but he provided one of the days biggest highlights, appearing out of nowhere to slam a layup attempt by Victory Christians 6-foot-7 Filip Simovic violently and legally against the backboard.
Santa helps Santa Ana end slump
After his team beat Charlotte Christian 68-41 Friday, Ardrey Kells Steven Santa Ana was wearing a dark sweat suit and a big smile. He passed by Knights girls assistant coach Boris Cheek in a hallway and looked back over his shoulder.
See coach, Santa Ana told Cheek, told you Santa was going to bring me a jump shot.
Santa Ana was the Southwestern 4A player of the year as a sophomore last season, but had been struggling a little bit with his shot this year. That all came to a screeching halt Friday. He missed his first two shots and then hit five straight 3-pointers, putting on a display worthy of a guy who has interest from 30 different Division I schools. A 6-3 guard, Santa Ana finished with 24 points and made 6-of-11 3-point shots. He also had five rebounds.
Montverdes Ben Simmons is special
How good is Montverde (Fla.) Academys 6-9 junior Ben Simmons? I had one well-respected scout tell me that Simmons is not only the best junior in America, but hes better than any senior out there, too. He makes (former college All-American and NBA player) Michael Beasley look like a baby at the same age.
Simmon is long and left-handed and can handle the ball better than I expected. He had a series of highlight dunks and layups during an easy win over South Atlanta. I would predict he will be at LSU, where he committed early, for about nine months.
Schedules need adjusting
There are three tournaments going on in the Charlotte area this week the Holy Angels at Charlotte Catholic and Charlotte Latin, the Upward Classic at Gaston Day and the Wild Wing. We dont need all three on the same dates. Dont make fans choose. Lets hope organizers can work out something next year where at least one of these events changes dates.
Northside impressive in opening game
Playing against a national power in Arlington Country Day (Fla), Northside Christian looked every bit the team that is ranked No. 14 in the nation by MaxPreps. The Knights spread out their taller opponents and drove by them or outran them on fast breaks in an amazing display of athleticism and discipline in a 100-90 win.
Northside had a few moments late trying to close out the game, but showed championship mettle. This is North Carolinas best public or private school team, regardless of class, and coach Byron Dinkins is doing a wonderful job coaching it. Saturdays semifinal game with national power Lincoln (N.Y.) at 7:30 p.m. is the cant-miss game of the day.
Fridays Top Performers
Gadiva Hubbard, Princess Anne (VA) girls: 23 points, seven steals, four rebounds in a 60-43 win against Ardrey Kell.
Eleah Parker, Northside Christian girls: 12 points, 17 rebounds and four blocks in 71-38 loss to St. Johns (DC). St. Johns Niya Beverly had 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting for the winners.
Ben Simmons, Montverde (Fla.) Academy: LSU recruit had 28 points and six rebounds in a 98-39 win against South Atlanta. He had three dunks go in and out. Those were his only misses. He was 11-for-14 shooting with most of them being the jaw-dropping variety of conversions.
Isaiah Whitehead, Lincoln (N.Y.): 23 points, eight rebounds and two steals in a 56-51 win against Westlake (Ga.). Whitehead was 7-of-9 from the field.
Lincoln (N.Y.) 56, Westlake (Ga.) 51: Lincoln shot 65 percent in the first half and 60 percent for the game, but was never able to pull away from Westlake, the alma mater of Panthers QB Cam Newton. Westlake shot 34 percent for the game but was down just 39-36 entering the fourth quarter.
Montverde (Fla.) Academy 98, South Atlanta 39: Montverde, the nations top-ranked team, simply overwhelmed their Georgia opponent, leading 24-5 after the first quarter and 53-21 at halftime. Montverde shot nearly 60 percent for the game and held South Atlanta to just 35 percent. Jordan Caroline (19 points) and Ohio State recruit DAngelo Russell (17 points, five rebounds, five assists, four steals) had big games for Montverde.
Olympic 63, Victory Christian 58 (OT): Victory Christian lost a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter as Olympics pressure defense and star point guard CJ Jackson finally heated up. Jackson shot 7-for-22 but finished with 29 points. He made 13-of-17 free throws and had nine rebounds. Olympic shot only 30 percent for the game. The Trojans made 5-of-25 3-point shots. Victorys Brenton Davis had 22 points and five rebounds.
Ardrey Kell 68, Charlotte Christian 41: Ardrey Kell jumped on Christian early, leading 16-8 after the first quarter and 38-20 at halftime. Markel Pollard (10 points, six rebounds, four assists) and Devin Cooper (13 points, three rebounds, two blocks) had big games for Ardrey Kell. Christian got 15 points and three rebounds from junior Trey Phills.
St. James (Md.) 45, Vance 34: St. James broke open a tight game by outscoring Vance 16-5 in the third quarter. Obi Enechionyia scored 17 to go with seven rebounds for St. James. Vances Torin Dorn, a Charlotte 49ers recruit, had 14 points, five rebounds and four assists.
Princess Anne (Va.) girls 60, Ardrey Kell 43: Ardrey Kell hung around with one of the top programs in the southeast on Friday before losing. Ardrey Kell was outscored 16-8 in the fouth quarter. Princess Anne shot 53 percent in the second half. Ardrey Kells Jordan Muhammad had 16 points and four rebounds.
St. Johns (D.C.) girls 71, Northside Christian 38: St. Johns limited Northside Christian to 30 percent shooting for the game and just 16 percent in the first half. St. Johns grabbed a 40-8 first half lead, outscoring Northside 20-0 in the second quarter.
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