"Four teams, all ranked in the top 10, in the same building.. we're in for an epic night." - Webb Wellman
Phenom Hoops is back in Rock Hill once again. Tonight, we have two high-level matchups in a double-header that will be live streamed via The Hoop State Network.
In the first matchup, we have Carmel Christian taking on Victory Christian at 7:00 p.m. These are two of the best teams in the state. Carmel Christian has held our #1 NCISAA ranking all season with an 18-1 record. Victory Christian comes in at 16-5 and is loaded with Division-1 talent.
In the second matchup of the night tipping off at 8:30 p.m., we have the Phenom Hoops Sweet Sixteen #1 ranked Liberty Heights taking on our NCISAA #2 ranked The Burlington School. This will be a rematch of an earlier December matchup in which Liberty Heights came out victorious. Liberty Heights (15-1) features the #1 ranked prospect in the North Carolina Class of 2021 and Marquette signee, Jonas Aidoo.
Let’s take a closer look at the key players and matchups:
➡️ Cade Tyson 🆚 Lewis Duarte
Carmel’s Cade Tyson and Victory’s Lewis Duarte are two of the top prospects in the North Carolina’s 2022 class. Both of their recruitment and stock has been on the rise this season. Tyson is a 6’7 guard who is extremely skilled. He can shoot it at a high level from the perimeter. He is an exceptionally gifted passer. In addition, he has continued to add strength which has helped him finish through contact and attack the offensive glass.
In his first season in the Hoop State, Duarte has quickly made his presence felt. At 6’5, he has elite athleticism. He makes some of the most impressive chase down blocks and finishes well above the rim when attacking the basket. But what is also impressive about Duarte is his skill set and ability to score. He has the ability to create off the bounce and score from all three levels.
➡️ Ben Burnham 🆚 Randi Ovalle and Deiman Reyes
Winthrop signee, Ben Burnham (Carmel Christian) has been playing at a ridiculous level all season. In my opinion, he should be in consideration for the Gatorade Player of the Year. His motor is unmatched. Victory Christian has two Division-1 forwards in Randi Ovalle and Deiman Reyes. Ovalle has the ability to stretch the floor and score from multiple spots on the court. Reyes is a physically imposing center who uses his size and strength to carve out space in the paint.
➡️ Justin Taylor 🆚 The Simpkins Twins
Discussing this game wouldn’t be complete without diving into another 2022 matchup: Carmel’s Justin Taylor and Victory’s Simpkins twins, Tajuan and Takai. These guards will undoubtedly be deciding factors in tonight’s game. Justin Taylor is a high IQ point guard who does a great job facilitating and creating opportunities for his teammates. He also excels in the open court where he can utilize his speed and attack the basket. Tajuan and Takai Simpkins are extremely athletic guards who cause so many problems for opponents on the defensive end. They read passing lanes. They get out in transition and put pressure on opponents. They play well off of one another. Whoever wins this matchup will be key in helping their team come out with a win.
➡️Jamarii Thomas 🆚 Elijah Jamison
The Burlington School is led by point guard and UNCW signee, Jamarii Thomas. Thomas has continued his stellar play from this summer and is another one who should be in contention for the Gatorade Player of the Year. Liberty Heights features one of the top players in the North Carolina 2022 class in Elijah Jamison. Both are tough as nails! They make a living getting into the paint. They are fierce competitors who compete on both ends of the floor, and will do whatever it takes to help their team win.
➡️ Jonas Aidoo 🆚 Kuluel Mading
Liberty Heights’ Jonas Aidoo is the #1 ranked player in the Hoop State. Kuluel Mading (The Burlington School) is one of the top unsigned seniors nationally. Both are extremely skilled and versatile. It’ll be interesting to see how these two go at one another after teaming up together this summer with Team Curry. Mading has been playing at a very high level all season. This will be a great opportunity for him to prove himself once again to college coaches, being matched up opposite of one of the top-rated players in the nation. Mading’s play tonight could really help boost his stock.
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