Thursday, December 29, 2011

The (old) Bojangles' Shootout is back (or the Hardwood Classic just got good)

Wednesday night, during the boys semifinals in the first Hardwood Classic, the magic came back to Bojangles' Coliseum.

After two down years, when the event was still called the Bojangles' Shootout, the popular Christmas tournament, once called the best post-Christmas tournament in the nation by a major national news publication, started looking like its old self.

The crowd was large. The place was loud. The games, between Northside Christian and Kennedy Charter then Mooresville and Davidson Day, were high-level, nail-biting affairs that came down to the final possessions. I couldn't hear myself talk to my neighbor or hear my iPhone ring.

As we head to tonight's championship finals, there are three really good games to look forward to on the final night: the Davidson Day-Kennedy Charter third place boys game at 5:10 p.m. will be as good as most any championship game you'll find in any holiday tournament in the Carolinas.

Kennedy Charter has at least six future Division I players, including the best player at the event, 6-5 junior guard Donte' Clark. Davidson Day has about five, including the quickest player at the tournament, 5-11 senior guard Rashun Davis.

The Kennedy-Davidson game will be fast paced and fun.

The girls championship game at 6:50 will match defending tournament champion Berry and Ardrey Kell, and both teams could reach regional or state championship games -- Berry in 3A and Ardrey Kell in 4A.

Then the 8:30 boys championship between Northside Christian and Mooresville will match a great team (reigning champion Northside) against a solid Mooresville team led by one of the best players at the event: senior guard Shawn Lester. Northside is No. 2 in the Observer's Sweet 16 poll. Mooresville is No. 6.

Lester, a 6-3 guard signed to Charlotte, has put on two amazing performances at this event and 49ers fans probably should come check him out Thursday. I'm guessing they'll like what they see.

Lester had 26 points in the semifinals and blocked a point blank layup by a center with 25 seconds left to prevent Davidson Day from tying the game. Then with 13 seconds left, he sealed the game with a pair of free throws to  give his team a four-point lead.

It was nice to see the tournament get its teeth back Wednesday night. Let's hope it continues on the most important night Thursday: title night.


Anonymous said...

Northhside Christian got a huge boost from Sophomore guard Davon Bell and Senior forward Dionte Adams' rebounding on the offensive glass.