Butler High boys’ basketball coach Myron Lowery has one goal for his team in this week’s Hoodie’s House High School Hoops Classic at Providence Day School:
“We’ve just got to continue to get better,” Lowery said. “And it needs to happen against good quality teams like the ones we’re going to play here, and then we’ve got to try to keep that momentum into the conference season.”
Butler (9-2) is No. 5 in the Charlotte Observer Sweet 16 poll and will play private school power Victory Christian (8-7) Wednesday. The Bulldogs will play N.C. Independent Schools’ 2A state title contender Concord First Assembly (9-3) Thursday and finish its tournament run Friday against Sweet 16 No. 14 Lincoln Charter (9-2), the reigning N.C. 1A public school state champions.
“It’s a great tournament to be in,” Lowery said. “It’s great exposure and great teams, and to be around all that great basketball for three days can only help you. We’re excited to be in this. It’s a privilege to be in that tournament and we’re cherishing it and we need to get better and I hope it will help us.”
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▪ The Hoodie’s tournament began in 2000, then called the Dell Curry Shootout, after the former Charlotte Hornets star. It began as a local tournament matching area public and private schools, but in 2001 tournament organizer Jeff Hood added a national boys’ field in addition to a regional tournament field. In 2008, USA Today named the tournament, then called the Bojangles’ Shootout, the nation’s best post-Christmas high school tournament in America.
Through the years, the tournament has attracted many of the nation’s top teams and players to Charlotte. They’ve included Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons, Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry and LaMarcus Aldridge of the San Antonio Spurs.
▪ This year’s event features three Observer Sweet 16 teams: No. 2 Providence Day, No. 5 Butler and No. 14 Lincoln Charter. It will also have more than 30 Division I recruits. The out-of-town teams are strong, too. Edgewater (Fla.) is 9-0 and ranked No. 7 among all Florida teams by MaxPreps. Lincoln (N.Y.), the alma mater of former Charlotte Hornet Lance Stephenson, is a perennial power off to a 4-1 start. Philadelphia power Neumann Goretti (4-1) - despite losing Quade Green, now at Kentucky, and Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree, now at Villanova - has won four straight games .
St. Frances is 13-1 and ranked No. 3 in the state of Maryland. It will face N.C. 2A private school runner-up Carmel Christian (14-1) in a tough opening game. MaxPreps ranks Carmel No. 6 among all N.C. teams.
5 players to watch
Adrian Baldwin, St. Frances Academy (Md.): 6-foot sophomore guard has offers from Drexel, Kansas State, Miami, Rutgers and UConn, among others. He averages 15 points, seven assists, five rebounds and four steals.
Devon Dotson, Providence Day: 6-foot-1 senior has signed with Kansas and was MVP of the prestigious Chick-Fil-A Classic tournament in Columbia last week.
Stephen Edoka, Concord First Assembly: 6-5 senior forward is averages 20.3 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.1 steals.
Marcus Littles, Neumann-Goretti (Pa.): 6-9, 260-pound power forward is ranked No. 4 in his state and has committed to George Washington. Littles averages 10 points and 10 rebounds.
John Wilson, Abraham Lincoln (N.Y.): 6-foot sophomore guard has offers from Iona and New Mexico and appears to be another in long line of elite guards from his school.
Wednesday’s Holiday Tournaments in Mecklenburg County
Hoodie’s House for Hoops Tournament (Boys only)
At Providence Day
Butler vs. Victory Christian, 11 a.m.*
Abraham Lincoln (N.Y.) vs. Edgewater (FL), 12:45
Lincoln Charter vs. Concord First Assembly, 2:30*
St. Frances (Md.) vs. Carmel Christian, 4:15
Neumann Goretti (Pa.) vs. Asheville Christian, 6
Fort Myers (Fla.) at Providence Day, 7:45
Craze Sports’ Annual Christmas Tournament
At Harding High
First Assembly Monroe vs. South Mecklenburg, 3
Christ the King vs. South Charlotte Thunder, 4:30
Harding vs. Harrisburg Prep, 6
Grace Academy vs. Carolina Christian, 7:30
Harding vs. Carolina Christian, 10 a.m.
Gaston Day vs. Statesville Christian 11:30 a.m.