Best of Carolina Holiday Classic Game Previews: Part 2
Another high octane matchup at 3:00 p.m Saturday pits Greeneville , South Carolinas Legacy Early College against Carolina Prep. Legacy standout Anyah Rice can do damage in a number of ways. A classic slasher with a decent perimeter stroke, Rice can also ratchet things up defensively when need be. Rice is long, agile and quick and is the straw that stirs the drink with Legacy, however she is not a solo act. 6-1 senior forward Azriela Folkes is an inside-outside threat. Senior Madison Tyler impacts the game on both ends. 5-10 combo guard Randria Anderson plays the game with flair and has a knack for creating in traffic.
Legacy loves to press and get out on the break so on paper the matchup with Carolina Prep should be to their liking. Carolina Prep stalwarts Darnisha Farris ( 6-1 F 2021), Madison Mims (5-0 CG 2023) and Olivia Himes are eager to get their team on track after starting the season with four consecutive losses so look for them to come out firing on all cylinders in this one.
Hammond School (Columbia, S.C) and Charlotte’s South Mecklenburg Sabres are a pair of teams who field lineups which are polar opposites. Coach Roshan Myers’ Skyhawks suit up 1 junior, 3 freshmen and half a dozen eighth graders. Weep not for Hammond- Junior Lauren Scott averages over 20 points a game and tacks on 5 rebounds, 4.5 steals and 4.5 assists to spark her squad to a 2-2 start to open the 2018-19 campaign. A pair of freshmen have also played crucial roles to the teams success- Tyra Myers ( 14.0 ppg., 11 rpg., 3 apg) and Eme McQueen ( 8 ppg., 8 rpg.) have to be accounted for when game planning against Hammond.
South Mecklenburg counters with a veteran lineup. 3 seniors and 6 juniors adorn varsity uniforms for Coach Cristie Mitchells’s squad. Senior guard/forward Shariah Gaddy (16.6 ppg., 6.6 rpg., 2.6 bpg.) is the most dangerous Sabre but she has lots of help. Gaddy can score, handle the rock and rebound with the best of them and this squad tends to go as she goes. Senior Aniyah Blair-Young is a big-time rebounder and 6-3 junior Jaclyn Feit is a solid presence on the interior. Sophomore Mya Olmeda is the primary ball handler with Jadin Alexander using her versatility inside and out. Freshman guards Senali Moss (11.6 ppg., 5.6 rpg.) and Katie Houpt have made value contributions to South Mecklenburg’s 4-2 start.
The Davidson Day Patriots have been challenged once in the teams 8-1 start, a 2-point loss to a highly touted Vance (Charlotte, N.C) team. Coach Jeff Lafave’s squad will get a genuine litmus test when they encounter Hamilton Heights (Chattanooga, TN),the nations #4 ranked girls basketball team. Davidson Day is led by sharpsooter Malorie Haines (17ppg., 8 rpg.)- a Davidson College commit. Haines tossed in 51 points in one contest last season so the Patriots may be able to keep things competitive if she heats up. Jael Hall (10 ppg. In 2017-18) and Wake Forest commit Nevaeh Brown (14.6 ppg., 7.7 rpg., 3.8 apg. 3.1 spg. In 2017-18) are the other big guns for Davidson Day.
Hamilton Heights is loaded and their Top 5 National ranking is well deserved but don’t expect the girls from Davidson to let the visitors from the Volunteer state to waltz through this one unchallenged.
The age old paradox- what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? May very well apply to the Saturday night tilt featuring Ardrey Kell ( Charlotte, N.C) versus Jordan High (Durham, N.C). Ardrey Kell has averaged 25 wins a year for three consecutive seasons and the Knights are off to a 5-0 start in 2018-19. They are long athletic and extremely competitive veteran team. 5-11 junior guard Evan Miller and 6-0 sophomore wing Michelle Ojo are the ring-leaders of a veteran group under Coach Jeff Buseick. On any given night Ardrey Kell can expect one of those two to lead the team however it could be Kennedy Cash (5-8 G), Meghan Rogers (5-5 G), Nia Griffin (5-10 F) or Riley Littlejohn who seizes the reigns. The Knights do a masterful job of dictating tempo and can win games playing up-tempo or by dissecting defenses in a halfcourt matchup.
Jordan High is a mirror image of Ardrey Kell in many ways so something has to give. Coach Ty Cox has a deep, veteran squad which has been battle tested.
Jordan logged four straight wins to open the season and they have eight core players who all make key contributions to the teams success. Senior Imani Howard (7.3 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 4.3 apg, 3.7 spg) and Ashley Roberts (7.3 ppg, 6.0 rpg) lead the Falcons. Senior guard Kalaya Hall ,(12 ppg, 5 rpg, 4.0 apg), has been giving the opposition fits averaging over 5 steals an outing and shooting over 44% from behind the 3-point arc. Junior Jori Wilks (9 ppg., 6 rpg) and classmates Mariah Davenport ( 40% on 3ptrs.) and Ashaunti Parker ( 7.7 ppg, 3.7 spg) add to the teams depth.
In the final game of The LBI Best of The Carolinas Holiday Classic host Butler High (Matthews, N.C) takes on perennial North Carolina private school power Providence Day at 9 p.m. The Bulldogs have size and a commanding presence on the boards with 6-1 junior Michaela Lane and 5-11 senior Michaela Dixon down on the blocks. Both are tenacious rebounders who finish well in traffic. Michala Funderburk is a lethal streak shooter on the perimeter. Junior Ashlyn Dotson and Payton Sutton handle most of the backcourt chores. 5-11 senior wing Hailey Nance and Renee Kennedy add depth and versatility for Head Coach Mark Sanders and the Bulldogs.
Providence Day has started the year 3-5 , very uncharacteristic for a program which has grown accustomed to hanging state championship banners at the end of each season. Coach Josh Springers Chargers have been competitive in early season matchups against some of the regions marquee programs and one can fully expect them to give Butler all they can handle in this one. Providence Day is led by a quartet of juniors who are well aware of the teams championship pedigree. 5-10 junior center Morgan Kelson enters the Best of The Carolinas Holiday Classic averaging 11.3 points and 4.9 boards a game. Andi Levitz (8.6 ppg), 5-7 guard Kailey Smith (6.8 ppg) and lead guard MiLeia Owens ( 5 ppg, 4 rpg, 3 apg) are the other key contributors for the Chargers.