Well Christmas is officially over and we need something to carry us into the new year, what better way than to dive in to some Frank Spencer Winter Classic story lines!
Winston Salem, North Carolina- The Frank Spencer is one of the most prestigious high school holiday hoops tournaments in the entire state, over the years we’ve witnessed McDonald’s All Americans, College All Americans, and a number of professional players compete. Day one kicked off yesterday at the Lawrence Joel Coliseum and the local programs around the City didn’t disappoint! These programs are battling for bragging rights and the crown of the city!
1.North Surry can stroke the leather
6’1 2020 Brett Johnson might be the best sniper we didn’t know, the kid is money from deep with a quick trigger. Johnson moves well off ball, he comes off screens ready to shoot the rock. Johnson found clean looks and made them count, he found his scoring within the flow of the offense.
The Greyhounds came up short but watching them work was refreshing, this group is disciplined and understands the game. Coach Tyler Bentley has a well coached group and they’re selfless. As a unit the Greyhounds move the ball extremely well, these guys are constantly in motion cutting and screening. Overall this is a scrappy group of High I.Q. Ball players.
2. Walkertown flashed real potential
Jalen Cone is the Focal point for this offense that’s no secret, but what may be surprising is although they’re younger, this years team has a chance to be more complete than a year ago. Cone has back court help, these guys just have to learn to operate with Cone on the floor and avoid watching the show. Cone went into foul trouble and these other players stepped up to keep the Wolf pack within striking distance.
Coach Kevin Thompson will need guys like Kierre McClain, Leonard Greer,and, Jalen Ware to remain aggressive while playing alongside Cone. During the second half against Reynolds Cone went to the bench with four fouls, these guys really sparked a run with some excellent transition offense, and full court pressure on the defensive side. This team is still learning to gel as a unit, isolation offense limited team production, but the potential is apparent when you watch this group. As the Wolf pack continue to gain confidence as a team the wins should come, Cone is the the type of leader who wants to make players around him better.
3.Reynolds Offense was a class above the rest
Reynolds is very legit, the demons offense exploded for 90 points in their opening game. This was personally the most impressive offensive performance I witnessed, it was a complete team effort. RJR features multiple guards who can get their own shots, the back court gels well and feeds off one another. Mysta Goodloe (USC Upstate signee) and Devin Ingram are the two seniors that tip the spear. Goodloe is best off the dribble where he can create chances, he finished with 23 points yesterday to pace the Demons, majority of the damage was done at the cup and from the mid range.
Goodloe is a strong finisher who won’t shy away from contact at the rim, he’s not a sniper but Goodloe is a streaky shooter who can experience heat checks at times. Ingram is one of the sauciest players on ball in the triad, the guy absolutely has the rock on a string, Ingram posses a nice first step, it makes him extremely hard to stay in front of. Ingram is creative off the bounce he’s got a nice package of dribble moves, to keep the defense off balance. Ingram was named MVP of the prestigious Triad Fall League and he’s been absolutely rolling since.
Caden Davis, Jaben Mars, and Tobias Johnson, are also guys that turned in nice efforts on both ends. Davis finished with 18 pts last night he looks to be settling into basketball form after a grueling football season. Davis is a physical wing that won’t be denied at the point of finish, Davis found space to operate in the lane and made the most of his looks. Johnson is extremely physical and could prove to be the x-factor for RJR, he’s nasty on both ends and plays with real old school intensity. Johnson guards multiple spots on the perimeter and he’s mean enough to bang down low at 6’3. Offensively Johnson has improved each year, steadily adding more and more to his bag.
4. North Forsyth may have a three headed monster forming Cedrick and Dedrick Hickman plus Marquez Hurst
The Vikings found themselves locked in an OT thriller to kick things off in the AM, this team really had to earn their chops vs a hungry Glenn team, a Bobcats team that defeated North just days ago. In this rematch the Vikings dug deep and first year Head Coach Chris Caputi inspired a valiant comeback effort.
“We played Glenn five days ago and lost by seven at our place on our home floor and, we took two practices and talked about the ability to want it more than the other team, and they came out here today in the first four minutes and punched Glenn in the mouth. We got hit hard after that, but we like to talk to our guys about taking the game round by round like a boxing match.We won the first round and we won the last round and that’s all that matters.” Coach Caputi said.
The Vikings showed real heart down the stretch, Cedrick delivered on a huge and one that served as a momentum shift for this group, and it eventually helped aid a victory. Cedrick is efficient in the pick N roll and he has the floater in his bag. Dedrick got hot from deep when this group fell behind, his shooting closed the initial gap on the Bobcats lead.
6’4 2020 Marquez Hurst is still raw but he’s a wing with upside on both ends, he hasn’t tapped into the full arsenal but natural instincts are there. Hurst’s efforts guided this group late in the fourth and in overtime, Hurst finished through contact and really imposed his will on the boards. Hurst left a few points at the line, but still turned in a productive day in the paint, Hurst is agile and covers a lot of space with his long stride. Hurst also flashed confidence from mid range off the dribble and proved capable of guarding multiple positions.
5.Atkins came to make a statement!
The Camels have felt overlooked and their play on the floor spoke volumes on how this group is coming. Atkins features a nice blend of youth and upperclassmen, majority of the core have been together for a couple years, and they have built valuable chemistry.
2020 Arrington Jones and 2021 Yusef Suggs lead the back court, these two really pushed the tempo and made life easier for the rest of these guys. Jones is more of a score first guard, he’s an efficient three level scorer, Jones is tough to stay in front of in space he’s got a quick crossover, and he’s a creative finisher in the lane. Jones has improved as a shooter each year and, he can make tough shots off the dribble, that seem contested, Jones doesn’t need much space.
Suggs is more of the floor general distributing the rock, he’s the main playmaker for the Camels. Suggs is smart with the rock and when you watch him, Suggs sees the entire floor. Suggs was effective and poised with the basketball, he took what the defense gave and got guys into their spots. Suggs can also get his own shot when needed, he shot the three confidently when the defense slacked off, and Suggs got to the cup and finished with either hand.
6’4 2020 Avante Matthews continues to improve down low, he’s more aggressive than ever on the boards, Mathews ran the floor well, and he showed a new feel passing out of the post. Mathews showed great vision and accuracy finding shooters, when the defense attempted to close down.
Travis Edwards, Charlie Walker, and Jarod Johnson, all offer more depth and versatility around the perimeter. Atkins features a lot of athletes who like to press and run guys out of the gym,Coach Marlon Brim has a deep team this year. Multiple guys contribute and Coach Brim isn’t afraid to unleash his bench. This team is playing with a point to prove, they’re on a mission to wake up Winston!
6. South Stokes has a legit point guard
As a whole it was an extremely rough outing for South Stokes, they got absolutely blasted in their opening game vs Atkins, but 2019 Tyliq Hairston was a bright spot for the Sauras, the savvy floor general displayed excellent court vision and unselfishness distributing the rock. South Stokes failed to convert a number of looks but the offense did get good shots off, Hairston worked hard to get guys around him involved, while remaining aggressive and looking for his own offense.
Hairston was one of the fastest players with the basketball on display, he took a lot of ankles. Hairston could flourish in a system as the main playmaker with scorers around him at the next level.