One of our scouts from Phenom Hoop Report checked out the action at the Phenom Challenge LIVE in Spartanburg and was able to give a game breakdown for each one that caught his eyes. Check out a few game recaps that he saw and who stood out.
Game 1 – Next Level SC (62) v Charlotte Royals (58)
- It was obvious early how dominant Next Level SC was going to be in this tournament. This group of 2023 boys has a variety of weapons. Led by Jayden “Cowboy” Boyd, who was dominant on the glass and in the paint in a double/double effort in the win. Boyd led both teams with 16 points and 11 rebounds. The length of William Brooks (Next Level SC) proved to be a problem for the Royals as he was disruptive in passing lanes. The Royals switched to a 2/3 zone hoping to keep Next Level out of the paint and it worked during the end of the first half as they were tied 31-31. The Royals were led by Frank Bates IV (11 points), knocking down three 3’s. These were two of the better teams in this age group.
Game 2 – Charlotte Hoyas (63) v Fayetteville Spartans (45)
- The Charlotte Hoyas were dominant during this game and the entire weekend. Led by the duo of F Karon Boyd and PG Christopher Wilson. Karon was a beast in the paint and led both teams with 22 points. Wilson set the pace for the offense and was unstoppable in transition, getting to the rim with ease. The Spartans had a nice second half from Myles Eakins (9 points) but couldn’t match the size and speed of the Hoyas. Once the Hoyas switched to a zone, it gave the Spartans problems. It’ll be interesting to keep eyes on Boyd and Wilson to see how their game continues to develop in the next 3 years.
Game 3 – Team Loaded 704 (47) v LowCountry Storm Blue (46)
- Hands down one of the most exciting games on Friday from the 15U group. Team Loaded jumped out to a nice 25-16 lead at halftime, led by Miller Shouse’s 7 first-half points. Teams were back and forth in the second half and LowCountry, led by Samuel Schwartz (11 points), take the lead with 10 seconds left. Team Loaded’s Enrique Meyers hits a game-winning three from about 30 feet out to secure the 47-46 win.
Game 4 – Black Top Kings and Queens Black (61) v LowCountry Storm White (27)
- From start to finish this game was dictated by Black Top’s athleticism. Probably the most athletic group in 15U. Led by MVP Khabir Mitchell (16 points), Black Top continued to turn LowCountry over leading to easy baskets. Black Top proved to be unstoppable in transition and seemed to jump every passing lane. LowCountry struggled with their length, rebounding, and athleticism for most of the game.
Game 5 – HoopCity SC (76) v Running Rebels (69)
- HoopCity was led by Gerald Gary’s strong second half and OT. Gary had just 4 points at halftime but ended the game with 25. Whenever HoopCity needed a basket, it always seemed that Gary was the guy to hit a shot. Turnovers seemed to kill HoopCity in the first half, with them trailing the Rebels 38-26 at halftime. The Rebels, one of the more well-coached teams of the day, had great ball movement and solid defensive rotations. One of the bright spots for the Rebels was PG William Fowler. The offense ran through him and he was quick to find Landyn James (19 points) and Kayzzin McDowell (16 points). Once HoopCity got the ball into the middle of the zone, they started to make a run and eventually forced overtime, leading to their win.
Game 6 – Charlotte Royals (61) v WNC Warriors (58)
- This game went back and forth from the tip. The sharpshooting of MVP Frank Bates IV (16 points) was apparent with four first-half 3’s. The Royals led by one at halftime, 34-33, and struggled to score in the paint. The Warriors, led by PG Caleb Senyo, continued to fight back. Senyo finished with a game-high 20 points. I really liked Senyo’s game. He’s a small, but incredibly tough PG with great handles and looks to distribute. If the pass isn’t there, you better keep a hand up because Senyo will knock down an open shot.
Game 7 – TMP (76) v Upward Stars Riverfront (60)
- TMP was one of the more fun teams to watch on Saturday. Their on-ball defense was aggressive and jumped passing lanes early and often. They finished a lot in transition and had much more easy baskets compared to Riverfront. Riverfront began to figure out the TMP defense and had offensive success after getting past the first defender. MVP Jayden Johnson led the way with 15 points for TMP. Johnson was a beast in the paint and distributed the ball out of the high post.
Game 8 – Black Top Kings and Queens Orange (65) v Charlotte Royals (63)
- This was one of Saturday’s better games in the 15U group. Black Top’s aggressive defense led to some easy baskets in the first half. Their half-court trap and full-court press gave the Royals problems and it took them a while to figure it out. This game went back and forth and the Royals, led by Sabastian Taylor’s 21 points, had a late lead until MVP Javonte Tillery (23 points) hit a game-winning three under 15 seconds. Both of these teams were extremely well-coached and got after it on the defensive ends. Keep an eye out for these teams moving forward.