Hickory Ridge is for real
Hickory Ridge 63 Myers Park 56
Phenom Hoop Report travelled to Harrisburg, North Carolina to cover the marque NCHSAA Southwestern 4A matchup between Myers Park and Hickory Ridge. Myers Park entered the contest with a 15-5record (8-2 conference) while Hickory Ridge sported a 16-4 record (8-2 conference). Coming into the contest, traditional power Independence, Myers Park and Hickory Ridge all were tied for first place in conference play. Tonight’s winner would continue to share first place with Independence, who also won over Butler.
Myers Park raced out to an impressive start and led 17-10 at the end of the first quarter. Hickory Ridge battled back and pulled within two points going into the half trailing 25-23. Hickory Ridge had a big third quarter and outscored Myers Park 16-9 and took a 39-35 lead going into the final quarter. With 4:10 remaining in the game, Hickory Ridge was in command with a 48-41 lead. However, 5’10 sophomore Jordan Marsh left the game with an injury. With Marsh out for the remaining minutes of the game, there was some anxiety where Hickory Ridge could maintain the lead and capture the win. Myers Park pulled within four (50-46), but a three pointer by 6’3 senior Kobe Clifton at the 2:10 mark put some breathing room into the final two minutes of the game and pulled out the impressive 63-56 home win over a very talented Myers Park team. Now, let’s take a closer look at the standout players of the game.
Game MVP: 6’4 Frosh Caleb Foster (Hickory Ridge)
An argument could be made in favor of 5’10 junior Jordan Marsh, however it was the steady and reliable point guard play that earned Caleb Foster game MVP honors. Foster only scored 11 points for the game, but went a perfect 9-9 from the free throw line, including 5-5 in the final minutes of the game. Foster is right-handed, but favors using his off or left hand with the dribble. He’s crafty, has a high basketball IQ, and just does an absolute terrific job of controlling tempo. In a nearly flawless floor game, Foster demonstrated tremendous poise and maturity beyond his years.
5’10 2022 Jordan Marsh (Hickory Ridge)
The sub 6’0 scoring guard is simply electric on both ends of the court. Marsh has the ability to hit the occasional 3-pointer, knock down the midrange and is superb at attacking the rim utilizing his athleticism and leaping ability. Marsh has tremendous “hang time” and body control where he finished repeatedly in the lane. In addition, Marsh has unbelievable leaping ability and made a spectacular transition block that led to a huge momentum swing allowed Hickory Ridge to get back into the game. Marsh finished with a team high 17 points, countless rebounds and made one hustle play after another.
6’0 2021 Xavier McKelvy (Myers Park)
We have seen McKelvy several times and each time, we come away more and more impressed. McKelvy finished with a game high 29 points including four 3-pointers. He single handedly kept Myers Park in the game and kept the game within striking distant in the final minutes. McKelvy can score from all three levels and has really improved his midrange game which is now an important offensive weapon.
6’5 2021 Drake Maye (Myers Park)
Maye finished with 20 points and was consistent throughout the game, but at times, it seemed like there was a lid on the basket at times. That being said, Maye is a big-time competitor and quit is not in his vocabulary. He will battle, compete, and give maximum effort on both ends of the court. Maye is such a cerebral, fundamentally sound and high IQ player.
6’7 2022 Shane Fernald (Hickory Ridge)
Fernald finished with 12 points and brought that blue-collar work ethic throughout the court of the game. Fernald battles and makes the most of physical abilities. He’s going to work, give effort and do whatever he can to make winning plays.
6’5 2021 Tucker Johnson (Hickory Ridge)
Johnson only finished with six points, but they all came in the crucial fourth quarter. That being said, Johnson collected countless rebounds and had a handful of blocks. He protected the paint and his defensive presence prevented numerous scoring opportunities by Myers Park.
6’3 2020 Kobe Clifton (Hickory Ridge)
Clifton finished with seven points, all coming in the fourth quarter. That being said, the biggest shot he may have taken the entire season came at the 2:10 mark in the game. With the score 50-46, Clifton hit a huge 3-pointer that expanded the Hickory Ridge lead to 53-46 which helped secure the win.