The fourth game for day four of Phenom’s Holiday Classic took place between two quality programs in Charlotte Christian and High Point Christian Academy. Although they entered this contest as one of the better private school programs in Charlotte, the Knights showed definite signs of vulnerability. Their struggles were thanks, in large part, to how well HPCA came out of the gate and established the tone on both ends of the floor. After some back-and-forth play and strong contributions from Ethan Smith, HPCA entered halftime with an 18-23 lead. Following the break, KJ Garrett completely took over and subsequently put HPCA in firm control of this contest going into the final quarter. However, Charlotte Christian continued to battle and tightened things up in crunch time, erasing the double-digit deficit and tying things up with less than a minute left in regulation. TJ Hardy, David Lash, and Cade Nicholson carried the load for Charlotte Christian, but Bryce Cash was the difference-maker after getting out of foul trouble by leading down the stretch and hitting the game winner with only seconds remaining, leading to a 58-56 victory for the Knights.
6’7 ’22 Ethan Smith
After continually building a reputation throughout the early season, it’s easy to see why folks are talking about Smith and his value to this High Point Christian squad. At 6-foot-7 with excellent perimeter shooting, Smith is a reliable floor-spacer from the forward position. He typically operates off the catch, but can also create his own shot or find scoring opportunities from inside the paint. Smith plays hard, communicates effectively, and shows a willingness to do the dirty work.
6’1 ’21 KJ Garrett
In terms of leadership, Garrett has been an obvious standout for High Point Christian over the recent years and this showing was no different. He set the tone on both ends of the floor, defending with IQ and toughness while asserting himself as an unselfish playmaker and downhill penetrator. Garrett rebounds well for his position, looks to set up others whenever possible, and simply knows how to properly run a team. After the break, he was basically unstoppable and absolutely dominated for multiple stretches—especially as an offensive catalyst. Garrett should have a variety of next-level opportunities.
6’1 ’23 TJ Hardy
With their primary leader struggling in foul trouble, Hardy was the main guy to step up and produce for Charlotte Christian. He set up the offense, picked his spots within the flow of the action, and rebounded extremely well for his size/position. Hardy offers a nice blend of IQ, toughness, and two-way energy for this group. He also made numerous plays in the clutch.
6’4 ’23 Bryce Cash
After fighting through foul trouble, Cash emerged at the perfect timing to make a lasting mark on this game. He’s so smart and strong defensively with exceptional downhill instincts as a penetrator and finisher through contact. Cash is unselfish and makes plays for others at a strong rate, but also scores the ball at a consistent clip. He possesses terrific size for his position, manages a team well on both ends of the floor, and leads by example at all times. College coaches should be laying groundwork over the foreseeable future.