↑People’s Bank Holiday Clash winners: Lincolnton won the title; North Gaston won the consolation bracket.
↑Statesville Christian: The Lions’ magical run continued with a 64-49 win over Grace Christian (TN) in the HBC Palm Beaches tournament American Challenge bracket semifinals. Statesville Christian (15-0) will play St. Andrew’s Episcopal (MD) in Saturday’s 6 p.m. championship game, which will be streamed live on Facebook. Scott Harvey had 23 points, four steals and three blocks for the Lions Friday.
↑Mallard Creek: After starting 0-9, the Mavericks have won three straight for first-year coach Jason Causby and will play East Lincoln for the second straight season in the finals of the East Lincoln Winter Jam Saturday. Mallard Creek’s Kyle Austin had team-high 19 points in a 78-75 semifinal win over Robinson Friday. The Mavericks led 27-12 after the first quarter. East Lincoln’s in the finals after junior Sydney Dollar’s jumper with 0.9 seconds left gave his team a 57-55 win over Northwest Cabarrus.
↑Community School of Davidson: beat Mount Pleasant 48-44 in the finals of the Laurie Ann Cruse tournament at Mount Pleasant Friday. Sage Alexander and Brandon Ellington were named all-tournament. Ellington, who had 10 points in the final, was named tournament MVP.
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Friday’s #BIG5 Performers
Jairus Hamilton, Concord Cannon: 23 points for the 6-foot-8 unsigned senior in Friday’s 64-55 win over Wake Forest Heritage at the John Wall Holiday tournament in Raleigh. He also had the Observer’s “Move of the night” (Below).
Nate Hinton, Gaston Day: 28 points, nine rebounds, six steals, five assists in a 78-73 win over Georgetown Prep at the Farm Bureau Classic in Roebuck, S.C.
Madison Monroe, SouthLake Christian: 31 points, six rebounds in a 78-68 loss to Grace Christian at the WNC Holiday Classic in Asheville. Teammate Jalen Celestine had 16 points, five rebounds and three assists.
Jaquan Thurman, Hickory: shot 7-for-7 from the field in a 66-50 DICKS’ Sporting Goods Classic tournament final win over Hickory St. Stephens. Thurman, named tournament MVP, had 16 points, 12 rebounds, two assists and two steals. Teammates Torey James and James Freeman each had 19 points.
Jae’Lyn Withers, North Mecklenburg: 14 points, nine rebounds in a 62-55 win over Webb (TN) in the semifinals of the Arby’s Classic. The Vikings will play for the championship Saturday against Columbus (MS).
By The Numbers
29: points for Isaac Baker of Salisbury in a 67-63 win over North Rowan in the Sam Noir semifinals.
10: Lake Norman beat South Iredell 80-62 in the finals of the Iredell County Sports Hall of Fame Tournament Friday, improving to 10-3. Zane Haglan had 17 points for Lake Norman. Haglan and teammates Austin Edds and Demarcus Johson made the all-tournament team. Johnson, who had 14 points in Friday’s win, was MVP.
6-12: Vance’s Arlo Washington made 6-of-12 3-point attempts to finish with 18 points in a 72-66 win over Hickory Ridge at the Ashbrook Holiday Hoopfest. Jheison Saunds had a season-high 15 for the Cougars.
63-47: China Grove Carson got 19 points from Jamarius Hairston to beat Davie County 63-47 in Friday’s Sam Noir Classic semifinals. Carson (11-0) will try to win its first tournament title Saturday against rival Salisbury (10-0), which hunts its 15th.
41-38: Linden (NJ) beat No. 12 Charlotte Christian 41-38 in the semifinals of the Rotary Roundball Classic to advance to Saturday’s finals against Porter Gaud (SC).
Friday’s Sweet 16 Spotlight: Ardrey Kell wins Ashbrook Holiday
Long Island Lutheran 53, No. 3 Concord Cox Mill 47: Cox Mill struggled shooting (42 percent) and with turnovers (17) in a loss at the Beach Ball Classic semifinals. Wendell Moore had 12 points and six rebounds to lead Cox Mill, which had no other double figure scorers. Cody Cline and Khalid Davis had nine points each.
No. 7 Marshville Forest Hills 52, Camden 49: Forest Hills (9-1) won the Chesterfield Basketball Classic for the third time in four years. Tournament MVP Nas Tyson had a team-high 15 points. Fellow Yellow Jackets Jaleel McLaughlin (nine points Friday) and Jai Rorie (eight) made the all-tournament team. Forest Hills led 44-30 going into the fourth quarter and withstood a rally.
No. 13 Morganton Freedom 85, R-S Central 57: Freedom won the Freedom Christmas Invitational with a hot start led by Fletcher Abee (26 points), Jakari Dula (21) and Michael Logan (16). Freedom led 54-29 at halftime. Zyrion Wilkins had 27 for R-S Central.
No. 15 Ardrey Kell 45, Hopewell 42: The Knights won the Ashbrook Holiday Tournament beating Hopewell 45-42, rallying in the fourth quarter to do it. Navy signee David Kasanagnay, named tournament MVP, had 14 points and Harper Hendricks added 10 for the Knights (12-2). Brice Williams had 14 for Hopewell.
The Observer’s Move of the Night
Concord Cannon star Jairus Hamilton had a wicked turnaround jumper in a 64-55 win over Wake Forest Heritage at the John Wall Holiday Classic. Virginia Tech signee Jarren McAllister had 20 points for Heritage and East Carolina signee Jayden Gardner had 15 points and 11 rebounds. Hamilton had 23 points and teammate Qon Murphy had 32, making 6-of-9 3-point attempts.
Observer’s Move of the Night, Part Deux
Rocky River’s Jaden Springer took an unofficial visit to Kentucky Friday. Later Friday, he led his team to a a 73-69 win over Lexington Catholic in the Traditional Bank Holiday tournament in Lexington, KY. This pass, near the end of the game, helped seal the win.
▪ Lincoln Charter won the N.C. 1A state championship last year finishing 30-4. This season, the Eagles are 11-3, with losses to 3A state champion Cox Mill, 4A power Independence and 2017 4A semifinalist Butler. Not much shame in that. The Eagles won’t find much push-back against the 1A teams in their future and I wonder if many of those teams feel a similar way about Lincoln Charter -- which draws from a 25-mile radius around the school and doesn’t have a strict geographic area -- as Charlotte Catholic’s football opponents feel about the Cougars.
I watched the Eagles for three days at the Hoodie’s House tournament, and they’ve got a lot of talent. Presbyterian-bound point guard Kody Shubert is super quick and fearless, and 6-8 big man Jehlon Johnson is solid, and I really liked 6-3 junior London England, whose middle name should be “Smooth.” Credit coach Brad Gabriel for challenging his team with a tougher schedule, and as league play begins in earnest next week, I don’t think Lincoln Charter will have much trouble, outside of maybe Winston-Salem Prep, in winning a repeat state championship.
They don’t look like a typical 1A team and they don’t play like one. I think they could challenge for a 2A title and go a few rounds deep in 3A, too.
▪ I’ve had more than one person suggest to me that charter schools and parochial schools like Catholic and Raleigh’s Cardinal Gibbons should play in their own state championship pool. I could see the logic there, but I might offer to allow them to play in a higher classification: 3A for the charters and 4A for Gibbons and Catholic. I would also think hard about just installing those schools into 3A and 4A conferences. Up until this year, when Catholic was in a 4A Charlotte league, I didn’t hear much about their boundaries.
▪ It’s really easy to get caught up in the high-level basketball tournaments in the area like the Chick-Fil-A in Columbia, the Hoodies House at Providence Day and the John Wall in Raleigh. Those tournaments draw dreamy teams and dreamy players and all the scouts, coaches, media and fans. But looking at all the smiling faces in photos from teams winning other area tournaments Friday night, I was reminded that those tournaments matter, too. Every school doesn’t have a team chock full of Division I college basketball players. So I’m glad we still have those events. There’s a place for everybody. It’s still high school.
▪ For the past two days I got to sit beside former NBA and UNC point guard Jeff McInnis at the Hoodie’s House. Jeff was a state champion at West Charlotte and later played with Jerry Stackhouse on perhaps the best high school team I’ve ever seen at Oak Hill (VA) before playing for Dean Smith in Chapel Hill. It was fun listening to him break down the game he knows so well (And he really, really knows it). I also got to see the breadth of his contacts. As all the coaches and shoe reps and players and internet folks came through, Jeff seemed to know them all. I also know his reputation of getting talent from watching his Team Charlotte travel teams win title after title every summer. Got me to thinking: he would be somebody I would look -- hard -- as a potential Charlotte 49ers assistant when the Niners start assembling a staff. And I mean I would look really hard. Jeff loves Charlotte and I think he would look at it as a challenge to bring talent to his city.
Friday’s Roundup: West Meck wins Governor’s Challenge
Charlotte Latin 60, Myers Park 47: Charlotte Latin advanced to the championship game of the Myers Park Holiday Classic by smothering Myers Park in the second half. After scoring 29 points and leading by five at halftime, the Mustangs scored just 18 points in the second half. Jack Felkner had 18 to lead Latin, which will play Northside Christian in Saturday’s 7 p.m. final. Myers Park faces Country Day for third place at 3 p.m.
Gaston Day 78, Georgetown Prep (MD) 73: Gaston Day beat the No. 7-ranked team in MaxPreps’ Maryland statewide poll at the Farm Bureau Classic. Georgetown Prep has three Division I players. Jared Bynum, a St. Joseph’s recruit, had 28 points, four assists and three rebounds. MJ Armstrong had 18 for Gaston Day, which shot 56 percent, and Quan McCluney had 16.
Independence 76, United Faith 50: The Patriots got 18 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals from Andra McKee and 17 points, five rebounds, five steals and four assists from Raja Milton at the Phenom Hoops Palmetto Winter Classic in South Carolina. Independence’s Matthew Smith (12 points, 11 rebounds, three blocks) and Jamarius Burton (10 points, eight assists, seven rebounds) also had strong games. UNC-Wilmington signee Jaylen Sims had 16 points and unsigned senior KC Hankton 15 for United Faith.
West Charlotte 53, Freedom Christian 39: Patrick Williams had 17 points, seven rebounds, four assists and four blocks to lead the Lions to a win at the Winter Classic. Cartier Jernigan had 14 for the Lions and Christian Koonce added 11.
West Mecklenburg 61, Tallwood (VA) 59: Power forward Eli Lockhart had 18 points, 11 rebounds as the Hawks rallied in the fourth quarter to beat Tallwood in the finals of the The Governor’s Challenge in Salisbury, MD. West Meck was in Bracket 9. Jalan Moore had 16 points and Jahfari Francois 14 for the Hawks (5-5).
People’s Bank Holiday All-Tournament team
Dezure Molden-Stuart Cramer
Kobe Christian- Highland Tech
Lance Bailey- North Lincoln
Brandon Lail- West Lincoln
Tyrese McNeal-North Gaston
Caleb Bridgewater-East Gaston
Ryan Grice-East Gaston
MVP- Robbie Cowie- Lincolnton
Freedom Christmas All-Tournament Team
Skyler McKinney - McDowell
Aidan Pearson - Freedom
Greyson Collins - Caldwell Academy
Fletcher Abee - Freedom
Zyrion Wilkins - RS-Central
MVP: Jakari Dula - Freedom
DICKS’ Sporting Goods All-Tournament
Nash Whitener- Fred T Foard
Noah Smith- Newton-Conover
Christian Ramseur- Bunker Hill
Trent Black- South Caldwell
Blan Hodges- Alexander Central
Caleb McDaniel- Maiden
Luther Scott- St. Stephens
Teavius Henry- St. Stephens
Torey James- Hickory
James Freeman- Hickory
Jaquan Thurman- Hickory
Tournament MVP- Jaquan Thurman (Hickory)