The seventh game for day two of Phenom’s Holiday Classic took place between two teams who have trended upward over the last few years in Gaston Christian and Combine Regional. After somewhat of a sluggish start, neither team was able to gain a ton separation leading to a 9-11 lead for Gaston Christian. Following the first quarter, things began to pick up, both in terms of pace and offensive consistency, for both squads. With quality play from guys like Joel Baucom and Payton Lewis, Combine Regional established a 29-28 advantage going into halftime. That being said, Gaston Christian continued to fight behind guys like Will Kelly and Christian Petty. However, it wasn’t enough to take over, which led to a 61-53 victory for Combine Regional.
6’3 ’22 Will Kelly
While there were many notable contributors for Gaston Christian, Kelly was arguably the most vital to their overall success. Like normal, he found ways to make his presence felt within the flow of the action on both ends of the floor. Kelly hit shots, made the extra pass, defended his position, and battled for rebounds. He makes smart decisions with the ball and doesn’t require a ton of touches to make an impact.
5’11 ’25 Christian Petty
Despite being the youngest player on either team, Petty did a variety of different things throughout this showing. He proved to be an excellent spot-up threat and knocked down multiple shots within the flow of the offense. Petty highlighted quality feel on both ends, never forcing the action on offense and offering a pretty reliable presence defensively. He willingly makes the hustle plays and showcased a strong motor from start to finish. Petty will be one to watch grow at Gaston Christian.
6’3 ’22 Joel Baucom
After transferring and reclassifying earlier this summer, Baucom has been on an absolute tear. He’s always been a knockdown shooter, which was certainly on display, but his overall development as a player is definitely worth noting. Baucom has gotten bigger, stronger, and more well-rounded as an offensive threat. He can run an offense, create for others, and attack the basket fairly well. Baucom displays toughness defensively and understands how to position himself for success.
6’5 ’21 Arki Thornton
Regardless of context or setting, Thornton knows how to assert himself as a physical presence on both ends of the floor. Between his motor and interior toughness, he’s able to defend multiple positions while being an effective two-way rebounder. Thornton is a great athlete with the ability to make plays in transition, consistently looking to attack the basket and finish above or through contact.