Combine vs. Virginia Episcopal
In the fifth game of the day, North Carolina’s top ranked Combine Academy took on Virginia Episcopal (VES) in their opening round matchup of the TJ Warren Bracket. VES jumped out to a 10-0 lead to start the game, but Coach Jeff McInnis brought in his second unit and turned up the pressure. Antonio Hamlin got things going offensively for Combine as they were even things up at 11-11 to end the first quarter. Combine was able to extend the lead to 32-23 at halftime.
In the second half, the lead constantly fluctuated around 10 points. VES would make a run, and Combine would answer. Combine finished with a 69-57 win.
Combine was led by 7’0 Virginia Tech commit, Patrick Wessler, who finished with points, 9 rebounds and 1 assist. He controlled the interior. He commands so much attention on the offensive end that opponents have to key in on him, opening up things for his teammates. Illinois commit, Jayden Epps, also added 14 points, 4 rebounds and 1 assist for Combine, showcasing his ability to knock down shots.
VES was led by 2022 Walker Andrews who finished with a game-high 23 points. He showcased his ability to knock down shots from the perimeter going 4-10 from behind the arc. He kept VES in the game and made tough shots all game long. Augie Brody also added 14 points for VES, going 4-7 from three-point range.
Winston-Salem Christian vs. Southern California Academy
In a highly anticipated matchup with multiple high major players on each roster, Southern California Academy took on Winston-Salem Christian. Southern California featuring Oregon commit Dior Johnson and Michigan State commit Jaxon Kohler. Winston-Salem Christian has a pair of Providence commits in Quante Berry and Christ Essandoko. The first half had five lead changes as both teams traded baskets. The game was tied up at 27-27 at the half.
Southern California was able to create some separation behind the play of Dior Johnson, Jaxon Kohler, and Amaree Abram, eventually extending the lead in the fourth quarter for a 70-56 win.
It’s easy to see why Dior Johnson is one of the top rated point guards nationally in the 2022 class. He plays with excellent pace and is able to get to any spot on the court, where he can knock down shots or make a play for his teammates. Johnson finished with a game-high 21 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal.
Jaxon Kohler (Michigan State) is a super skilled, fundamentally sound post player. He has excellent touch, footwork, and moves around the basket. In addition he has the ability to stretch the court behind the arc. Kohler finished with a double-double of 19 points, 12 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 blocks.
Amaree Abram has opened up his recruitment after decommitting from Texas A&M. The lefty is super athletic and excels getting downhill to the basket where he has the ability to finish through contact. Abram finished with 13 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 steal.
Winston-Salem Christian was led by Providence commit Quante Berry who finished with 18 points, 4 rebounds and 1 assist. Berry shot the ball well from the perimeter going 3-6 from behind the arc.
Moravian Prep vs. Christopher Columbus
In arguably the most anticipated matchup of the day featuring a pair of underclassmen brothers, the Ellis Brothers and Moravian Prep took on the Boozer Twins and Christopher Columbus. Columbus jumped out to a 14-8 first quarter lead. In the second quarter, Moravian got hot from the perimeter, scoring 28 second quarter points, including seven three-pointers to head into half with a 36-21 lead.
In the second half, Moravian was able to extend and maintain their lead, finishing with a 62-43 victory. Moravian was led by sharpshooting Jackson Holt who is arguably the best shooter in the state of North Carolina. Holt finished with a game-high 15 points, shooting 5-6 from behind the arc. Hamilton Campbell also added 10 points and 5 assists, showcasing his vision and passing abilities. Justin Banks had a productive game from the interior finishing with 12 points and 7 rebounds.
The Boozer twins, Cayden and Cameron, led the way for Columbus. 6’4 point guard Cayden Boozer finished with 12 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists. Cayden excels getting downhill and making plays in the paint for himself and others. 6’8 Cameron Boozer showcased his versatility and skillset, finishing with 11 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists. At that size, Cameron is extremely skilled. He is able to operate on multiple spots on the court, create off the bounce, and can make high level passes, especially from the high post.
Word of God vs. Brewster
In the final game of the day, we had the opportunity to watch a showcase game between Brewster and Word of God. It was a back and forth battle with each team answering the other’s runs with runs of their own. Brewster led 35-33 at the half.
The second half was much of the same. We saw seven lead changes and four times tied. Word of God was able to go on a late fourth quarter run to pull out a 71-63 win, behind the efforts of Freddie Dilione and PoBoigh King.
Word of God was once again led by Freddie Dilione who is making his case as the number one player in the state of North Carolina’s 2023 class. Dilione finished with a game-high 23 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 4 steals. Dilione scored 17 of his 23 points in the second half and was key in their push to extend the lead late in the game. He got to the basket, knocked down shots from the midrange and perimeter, and went 6-6 from the foul line. PoBoigh King was also key in the Holy Rams’ win. King finished with 16 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist and 3 steals. He has the ability to create and knock down tough shots.
Brewster was led by sharpshooter Reid Ducharme who finished with 17 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. Ducharme can shoot the ball at a very high level. He doesn’t need much space and can get his shot off quickly. He went 4-8 from behind the arc.