Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Players, games to watch, ticket info for today's Hardwood Classic

The first Hardwood Classic tips off today at Bojangles' Coliseum. The tournament, which runs through Thursday, was formerly called the Bojangles' Shootout.

A quick fact guide:


Tickets $12 for adults, $6 for students 18 and under (children 3 and under get in free)

Today's Can't-Miss Games

Queens Grant vs. Kennedy Charter, 10:40 a.m.: Unbeaten Kennedy Charter won the SouthLake Christmas Tournament last week, but the upstart power plays its first true big games this week. The team averages 99 points per game and has at least seven players who could play Division I ball.

No. 2 Northside vs. Forestview, 1:50 p.m.:
Forestview has won three games in a row to improve to 7-2 and will try to figure out unbeaten Northside's defense, which gives up fewer than 50 points per game. Northside is No. 2 in the Observer's Sweet 16 poll

No. 6 Mooresville vs. Ardrey Kell, 6:50 p.m.: Mooresville features national top-150 recruit Shawn Lester, who has signed with Charlotte, and is fresh off an upset against No. 3 West Charlotte, the reigning N.C. 4A champion.

Players To Watch Dionte Adams, Northside Christian: 6-foot-7 senior post averages 10.2 points and 11 rebounds. He ranks No. 3 in the Observer's coverage area in rebounding. Signed by Hampton.
Bre Armstrong, Forestview girls: 5-8 junior wing averages 10.7 points, 9.2 rebounds, 4.4 steals and 3.3 assists - all team highs - for the unbeaten Jaguars (9-0).
Essence Baucom, Berry girls: Alabama-Birmingham recruit and 5-6 point guard leads her team in scoring (13.2 points). Berry (8-1) has won eight games in a row.
Donte Clark, Kennedy Charter: 6-4 junior point guard has offers from East Carolina, Central Florida, Nebraska, Georgia and Jacksonville among others, plus heavy interest from Virginia Tech. Averages 15.8 points and 3.2 rebounds.
L.C. Cooks, Northside Christian: 6-1 senior guard signed by Hampton leads unbeaten Knights in scoring (16 per game). Cooks is second on the team in assists (7.3) - just behind Justin Ashford (7.4), who leads the Observer's coverage area.
Rashun Davis, Davidson Day: 5-11 senior guard signed with Radford. Teammates Richard Brown (Army) and Dorian Albritton (Virginia Military) also signed with Division I teams. Davis excels in the open floor and on defense.
B.J. Gladden, Kennedy Charter: 6-5 sophomore guard/forward has 11 Division I offers, including Xavier, Wake Forest, Charlotte and Virginia Commonwealth.
Shawn Lester, Mooresville: 6-3 senior guard leads the team in scoring at 14.4 points per game. Rivals.com ranks him the No. 130 senior in America.
Christelle Shembo, Ardrey Kell girls: Wake Forest signee leads her team at 15.0 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. Teammate Oceania Anderson is the second player in school history to score 1,000 points.
Andrew Wheet, First Assembly: Concord area sophomore shooter averages 24.2 points and scored 19 in a row against Victory Christian this month.

Today's Schedule
Queens Grant girls vs. Hickory Ridge, 9 a.m.
Queens Grant vs. Kennedy Charter, 10:40 a.m.
Anson Senior girls vs. Berry, 12:10 p.m.
Northside Christian vs. Forestview, 1:50 p.m.
Forestview girls vs. Hough, 3:30 p.m.
Covenant Day girls vs. Ardrey Kell, 5:10 p.m.
Mooresville vs. Ardrey Kell, 6:50 p.m.
First Assembly vs. Davidson Day, 8:30 p.m.


For several weeks, Byron Dinkins, the boys basketball coach at Northside Christian, said he’s heard a lot about a potential Hardwood Classic semifinal game with Kennedy Charter.

Both teams are new to being local powerhouses, but both teams are unbeaten and could lay legitimate claims to being the best boys basketball team in Mecklenburg County.

Before getting to a possible Northside-Kennedy Charter semifinal Wednesday night, Dinkins warns his team must win what he feels is the toughest first-round game at today’s Hardwood Classic at Bojangles’ Coliseum.

Northside (9-0), No. 2 in the Observer’s Sweet 16 poll, will face Gaston County power Forestview (7-2) today at 1:50 p.m. Forestview, which reached the 2009 N.C. 3A championship final, has won its last three games.

“We have one of the toughest first-round matchups (today) if not the toughest,” said Dinkins, a former Charlotte 49ers and East Meck star. “That’s all we can worry about. In order to get to the game everybody wants to see, we have to see if we can get past Forestview.”

Northside-Forestview is one of the more intriguing first-round games at the retooled holiday event that used to be known as the Bojangles’ Shootout. Organizers have strengthened the field, presenting the best one since 2009, and Dinkins’ team is back to defend the championship it won last year.

Northside went on from winning the 2010 Bojangles’ title to qualifying for the N.C. 2A Independent Schools state championship game.

This year, despite working in five new players and two new starters – shooting guard L.C. Cooks (who transferred from Central Cabarrus) and power forward Justin Gordon (from Mallard Creek) – Dinkins said people are looking at his team differently from a year ago.

“We’ve gone from hunter to hunted,” he said. “That could make a difference this year if (we) don’t come with the same work ethic that we had last year. But so far, we’ve maintained that work ethic.”

Northside is winning by about 35 points per game and has beaten High Point Wesleyan – a private-school state-championship favorite that’s been ranked in some national polls this season – along with S.C. powers Richland Northeast and Columbia.

No team has scored more than 59 points against the Knights, and seven opponents were kept in the 40s.

“The schedule was a little tough early … but that was on purpose, to test us,” Dinkins said. “The Hardwood Classic will be tough, too, but for us it begins with defense. If we can maintain our defensive intensity and pressure, then I like our chances.”


Chipnotes said...

I cant wait to officiate my scheduled games Thursday. Doesn't get any better than this!

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say kudos to Charlotte Sports Commission for putting together a really good field. For two years since they took over the tournament wasn't that good. This feels like old times. Going to take my two kids out and enjoy. One question, why can't the event go back to Latin. Bojangle's Arena is too big.

Anonymous said...

Langston, you've been begging for Kennedy Charter vs. Northside. Looks like you gonna get your wish! Guess I will have to come out. Should be some game.

Anonymous said...

Go Coach Dink! Go Shawn Lester! GO NINERS!!