↓ Dunk Contest cancellation: All these stars and there aren’t enough volunteers for a dunk-out? To quote the ESPN “Monday Night Football” guys, “C’mon man.”
↑ Tournament volunteers: Shout out for all the excellent effort, helping make the tournament run so smoothly. Heard many coaches comment on “how well this tournament is run.”
↓ Ardrey Kell’s 3-point shooting: The Knights shot 3-for-19 in a 41-40 loss to Olympic
↑ Crowds: Fans at the Wild Wing event were amazing. Monday’s championship-day crowd was thick. The temperature inside the gym was at least 20 degrees warmer than when you stepped into the lobby.
He said it
“It’s been a great tournament for us to have here at Ardrey Kell. It’s been really nice and it’ll be a really good thing for us when we get to the playoffs to have played in this,” – Ardrey Kell coach Mike Craft, reflecting on the Wild Wing event held at his school the past few days.
Monday’s Top Performers
Derrick Byrd, South Atlanta: 19 points, 5 assists, 2 rebounds in a 68-65 upset win against nationally ranked Lincoln (N.Y.).
Raven Dean, Ardrey Kell girls: 16 points, on 6-for-10 shooting, plus 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals in a 58-25 win vs. Northside Christian.
Desean Murray, Northside Christian: 12 points, 9 rebounds, 4 blocks, 2 steals in 83-60 loss to Montverde (Fla.)
Trey Phills, Charlotte Christian: 14 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals in 48-41 loss to Victory Christian.
Filip Simoviv, Victory Christian: 16 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists in 48-41 win against Charlotte Christian.
Isaiah Whitehead, Lincoln (N.Y.): 25 points and 11 rebounds for Seton Hall recruit, but he had another tough shooting day. He shot 7-for-24 after going 4-for-20 Saturday against Northside Christian.
Is it time for a shot clock in N.C.? You bet
Sitting at the media table Monday night with ESPN national recruiting analyst Paul Biancardi, we saw South Atlanta come down the floor nursing a late, two-point lead on nationally ranked Lincoln (N.Y.). South Atlanta went into a stall, and Biancardi said what I was thinking: more high schools need a shot clock.
I don’t like how teams try to play keep-away late in games, and with new rules that prevent defenses from making much contact, the offense has a huge advantage. I know there’s a cost associated with shot clocks, but they would make games much more entertaining.
A city-championship dream
Every year that I come to this event, and see how well it’s run and how large a crowd it attracts, I can’t help but think a city championship would be a big hit here. Let the same folks who put on this event handle it, and it could be a major pre-Christmas success. It could also be a big money-maker for the local schools, who probably wouldn’t mind some (cable) TV exposure and a paycheck.
Northside Christian’s effort
Hard to not applaud the sheer effort and want-to exhibited by Northside Christian in Monday’s championship game with Montverde (Fla.) Academy, ranked No. 1 nationally in many high school polls. Northside has a collection of the Charlotte-area’s top players and the best from Greenville, N.C. Montverde has what is likely Australia’s top high school player and many of the best in this country. There was a big difference in talent.
Montverde was also simply too big and too athletic for a very long and athletic Northside team. Proof? Montverde shot 66 percent for the game and 70 percent in the second half. But the Knights, who struggled at the free throw line (15-for-24), kept the game competitive for a long time. For the first time all week, I discovered that Montverde’s bright yellow uniforms actually do show sweat stains.
National boys all-tournament team
MVP: Ben Simmons, Montverde (Fla.) Academy
Isaiah Whitehead, Lincoln (N.Y.); Quendarrian Miller, South Atlanta; Keyshawn Woods, Northside; D’Angelo Russell, Montverde (Fla.) Academy
Girls all-tournament team
MVP: Gadiva Hubbard, Princess Anne (Md.)
Jordan Muhammad, Ardrey Kell; Niya Beverly, St. John’s (Md.); Mercedes Tapia, Princess Anne (Va.); Eleah Parker, Northside Christian
Local Boys all-tournament team
MVP: CJ Jackson, Olympic
Brenton Davis, Victory Christian; Trey Phills, Charlotte Christian; Malik Constantine, Olympic; Steven Santa-Ana, Ardrey Kell
Ardrey Kell girls 58, Northside Christian 25: One day after a big upset of regional power St. John’s (Md.), the Knights didn’t allow Northside Christian to score more than nine points in any quarter. Raven Dean scored 16 points and had six rebounds for Ardrey Kell, which held Northside to 21 percent shooting.
Princess Anne (Va.) 58, St. John’s (Md.) 39: Tournament MVP Gadiva Hubbard had 12 points, three rebounds in an easy win. Princess Anne led 26-15 at half. Justyce Swango (13 points) and Mercedes Tapia (10 points, four rebounds) also had big games.
Westlake (Ga.) 51, Vance 42: Westlake shot 37 percent for the game but won because it held Vance to just 30 percent shooting. Westlake’s Raymond Saunders and Tyler Williams combined for 25 points for Westlake. Vance’s Bryson Rankin had 15 points and four rebounds. He made 3-of-6 three-point attempts.
Victory Christian 48, Charlotte Christian 41: Victory Christian won its second straight game of the tournament. The Kings outrebounded Charlotte Christian 30-24.
South Atlanta 68, Lincoln (N.Y.) 65: South Atlanta shocked nationally ranked Lincoln on a night when Lincoln was missing one of its best players, 6-5 forward Desi Rodriguez (ankle). Isaiah Whitehead (25 points, 11 rebounds) and Anthony Williams (21) led Lincoln. South Atlanta, which held Lincoln to 33 percent shooting, got 19 points and five assists from Derrick Byrd and 16 points and 6 rebounds from Tyler Thorton.
Olympic 41, Ardrey Kell 40: Malik Constatine’s put-back with 11 seconds left gave the Trojans the win. Olympic avenged a 19-point loss two weeks ago and improved to 11-1. Tournament MVP CJ Jackson led Olympic with 15 points.
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