WWC Classic: Monday Live Thread

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Wild Wings Cafe Classic wraps up today, with some compelling duels upcoming. The event began on Friday with games on Saturday as well, before taking Sunday off to perform charity work on behalf of the Hoodies' House Foundation.

1:10: Tonight's finale with feature Montverde (Fla.) Academy versus Charlotte (N.C.) Northside Christian. To get to the final, Northside defeated Isaiah Whitehead and Brooklyn (N.Y.) Abraham Lincoln.

At this moment a girls game is taking place, with another to follow this afternoon, so updates won't be as frequent as they were on live threads the past two weeks. That said, Jacksonville (Fla.) ACD will tip off in about 30 minutes. Lincoln and Hagerstown (Md.) St. James also will be in action.

Be sure to stop by this afternoon and through the evening for all the latest.

2:30: An entertaining first half just transpired between ACD and St. James. I've watched ACD at two different events in the past two weeks, and Brandone Francis has yet to really get going. That said, late in the first half he knocked in a three, made an impressive dish off a drive, and drove for another free throw shooting opportunity.

For St. James, junior point guard Justin Robinson appears to be a nice prospect in a class that's very weak at that position. He isn't the most athletic player around but commands the show and generally makes good decisions.

3:42: ACD came back from an early deficit, riding the talents of Francis in the process. As mentioned in the prior update, he had struggled in some recent showings. Not today, however, as he scored 20 points on 6-14 shooting and 4-7 on threes. I'll have more on him later.

Meanwhile, Minnesota-bound point guard Nate Mason notched eight points, eight rebounds and five assists. He isn't a great athlete but buries pull-up jump shots and plays with confidence. The other major signee on the team, Oklahoma-bound forward Dante Buford, was quiet with six points and five boards.

Buford shot more effecitvely during the summer and is caught in a transtiion stage between wing forward and power forward. He may need a year or two of skill work before he's ready to step in and play big minutes for the Sooners.

In the Class of 2016, combo guard Lamonte Turner is one to monitor. The 6-1 prospect shot 2-3 on threes and made one very tough drive off the glass.

St. James certainly has its share of talent. Justin Robinson had nine points and seven assists with only two turnovers. He maintains offers from St. Peter's and Old Dominion and said that he likely will play for Boo Williams Summer League again next spring and summer. He didn't turn 16-years-old until this past October, making him very young for a junior.

Temple signee Obi Enechionyia led the way for the Saints with 12 points and eight rebounds on 4-11 shooting. Enechionyia is an interesting case; he's very well-coordinated, has a solid frame and reasonable athleticism, yet his production hasn't yet matched his potential.

To acheive his potential, he'll need to develop a better power game to utilize his 6-9 frame and skill, then work from the outside rather than committing from the outset to a finesse style. He's certainly a talent, however.

Slender 6-6 wing forward Therence Mayimba signed with George Mason in November and should be a very solid performer at the next level. He actually shot poorly versus ACD (3-9, eight total points) but has a quick first step and isn't shy about challenging big guys at the rim. He's a one-footed leaper whose three-point stroke doesn't look bad, though he does need to improve his ballhandling.

4:35: The girls game is set to enter the fourth quarter, and the next boys game — featuring Isaiah Whitehead and Lincoln — will tip off at 5:15.

5:58: Lincoln is down eight at the half to South Atlanta (Ga.), which lacks a major Division I prospect but is athletic and playing hard.

Whitehead is a great talent and impressing with how easily he can get his shot, but he's missing the mark. Apart from one bottoms up three, he has been errant from short- and long-range.

7:44: It wasn't Whitehead's night, as he limped to a 7-24 shooting performance, but he did hit some clutch shots from deep late and finished with 25 points and 11 rebounds. Lincoln still came up short, however, as South Atlanta's composure held up despite a feverish comeback and they held on 68-65.

South Atlanta isn't loaded with major talent, but 6-7 freshman center Tyler Thornton warrants a mention. He needs to keep growing, but he's fairly mobile and definitely unafraid. He shot a perfect 5-5 from the field and 6-6 from the line en route to 16 points and six rebounds.

There's one more local game and then the final — Montverde vs. Northside Christian — tips at 9:00.

8:55: Charlotte Olympic outslugged host Ardrey Kell 41-40 in a spirited contest, and now it's on to the championship.

For perspective, this is not your average generic crowed for a tournament final. Northside Christian has become a very popular team in Charlotte, and while Montverde should be considered the favorite they'll face a hostile crowd and well-coached team lined up across from them.

For Montverde, Ohio State signee D'Angelo Russell has been hobbled by injury but will fight through the pain, and of course I'm eager to see how elite junior Ben Simmons responds to this challenge. More at halftime.

9:52 Northside is battling and the crowd is trying to will them into the lead, but they can't quite catch up and are down 40-30 at halftime. Elite junior forward Ben Simmons looks like the potential No. 1 player in the Class of 2015. The LSU pledge will play in front of Scout.com colleagues in the next couple weeks, and some office banter certainly will transpire thereafter.

Simmons has as smooth a game as you'll see for 6-8. He's solid in all facets and has great -- huge -- hands that he uses to whip passes with intense velocity and to control rebounds around the rim. He racked up eight points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals in the first half.

Montverde's attack has been balanced, but Virginia Tech signee Justin Bibbs continues to impress. He was second on the team with seven points that half, and his game has impressed me since the Nike Team Florida workout this past fall.

Keyshawn Woods was the star for Northside. Headed to Charlotte as one member of a very underrated class, Woods is an athletic scorer who tallied 12 points on 3-5 shooting, including 2-3 on threes. He's going to be a major weapon for the 49ers.

11:05: It's a wrap in Charlotte. Montverde pulled away in the second half and continued to ride Simmons and others to the win, as they responded to a fierce challenge and answered the bell with determination. I'll have more later on some additional players who competed at the event, but for now that's it!

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