Phenom Hoops hit the road once again, this time coming to the Charlotte area for a highly-anticipated matchup between Ardrey Kell, who looks to loaded this season and is hoping to have a big season, and South Meck, a rising program under new head coach Gary Hall.

It was a back-and-forth type feel for the first half of the game, as South Meck was led by Joseph Ferrante, who was aggressive and active at the rim and continued to show his production level, as he scored 16 points in the first half to lead the way.  Bishop Boswell had seven points in the first half but injured his wrist and had to be sidelined in the second quarter for South Meck.  Ardrey Kell struggled at times to knock down shots but 2023 Brandon Nelson stepped up huge for his team in the first half with 13 points.

There wasn’t much offense in the third quarter, as South Meck outscored Ardrey Kell 8-2 and the Sabres were able to create a double-digit lead.  But Ardrey Kell wouldn’t be denied and they had their best offensive quarter in the fourth, slowly chipping away at South Meck’s lead.  Eventually, Ardrey Kell took the lead late but South Meck responded, tying the game up at 49.  Elijah Gray came up big in the final 20 seconds with a tough shot to give his team the lead. South Meck had a chance to tie or win it but the ball just didn’t’ bounce their way and Ardrey Kell secured the come-from-behind win, 51-49.

Stats:
Ardrey Kell:
Brandon Nelson: 19 points
Evan Smith: 10 points
Peyton Gerald 8 points

South Meck:
Joseph Ferrante 28 points
Bishop Boswell: 7 points

Standouts:

2021 Joseph Ferrante (South Meck): Ferrante was simply off the charts in this game, as the senior showed why many would peg him a scholarship-worthy forward.  He was aggressive and finished at the rim on multiple occasions, battled through contact also.  But he also showed patience, touch, and ability to step out with a smooth release from outside.  Ferrante proved a lot to start the season and should have more attention from college coaches.

2023 Brandon Nelson (Ardrey Kell): We would have to say that Nelson saved the day for Ardrey Kell, as the sophomore carried his team in the first half when they struggled to find offense.  The confidence that Nelson showed with his shot was impressive. He went 4-for-5 from three and displayed his pull-up jumper off the dribble and screens. He stepped up when called upon and made a ton of plays in big moments.

2022 Evan Smith (Ardrey Kell): Smith really had a good overall game on the floor, really making an impact in several ways. He gave us a glimpse of his scoring impact, creating for himself and using his speed/handles to get shots up but also did a tremendous job on the boards (9 rebounds) and dished out seven assists to others.  Not to mention, he got it done defensive with three steals.