Road Report: Curry, Grace Lead Teams

GREENSBORO, N.C.– Two senior point guards stepped up and helped lift their teams to the finals of the 4-A western region in North Carolina.

The script played out exactly as drawn up. Most felt Hopewell and Mount Tabor were the two best teams on the western side of the 4A regional bracket. On Saturday, we'll get to find out which team survives to face either Terry Sanford or Jack Britt for the state championship.

In the first semifinal, Hopewell outscored Ardrey Kell 37-21 in the second half to overcome a halftime deficit. In the nightcap, the three-headed guard monster that is Mount Tabor wore down Myers Park 72-50.

Brandyn Curry, PG, Hopewell: Being a senior in the state tournament is a good thing. Poised and laced with intangibles, Curry patiently surveyed the landscape for a half and came out of the locker room determined to get into the floor. His defense (steals and deflections) fueled his team's offense as he slowly exerted himself in this one. He made all the free throws down the stretch and had 17 points, six rebounds and four steals. If he can tighten up his jumper and finish stronger you're talking about a potential player of the year in the Ivy in time.

Mike Grace, PG, Mount Tabor: Just when Tabor's zone offense was in a rut, Grace injected his jump shot into the mix. The Yale-bound senior, who was nursing a cold, stroked a pair of 3s and a mid-range jumper. The shots fueled Tabor's decisive spurt and the rest was history. Grace didn't scratch in the first half and finished with 16 points, including eight in a row.

Odell Turner, PF, Myers Park: Would someone please give this kid a scholarship? He's a low Division I prospect because of his size. Regardless, he's got a big motor, very good bounce inside and he'd be a solid player in the MEAC or Big South. Like Grace, Turner was sick but he managed 15 points and 13 rebounds.

Justin Cheek, SG, Ardrey Kell: Our first look at him was a good one. The lefty owns a pretty stroke and his athleticism will sneak up on you. Having Curry draped all over you is a lot to deal with but he was solid. Love the tip dunk attempt and athletic slip to the goal. He's a mid-level prospect who is good enough to be more aggressive on offense. Would also like to see him rebound stronger. Cheek netted 14 points on 6-for-13 from the floor.

Jordan Downing, SF/SG, Hopewell: Another Charlotte prospect with a bright mid-level future. Like all his Hopewell teammates, Downing isn't afraid to defend. However, what is most admirable about his game is his ability to make shots from different spots on the floor. He's fearless with his jump shot.

The Hopewell/AK game featured contrasting styles inside. Hopewell's Demon Brooks gave up two inches to Cameron McQueen (6-8). Brooks has fast twitch muscles and finished with 8 and 10. McQueen, a former baseball prospect, had 13 and 9. … C.J. Harris had the ball in his hands a lot in the first half and showed the ability to be an effective passer. … Impressed with the unselfishness of the four teams in the region. Hopewell and Tabor - each featuring a headlining star - are extremely unselfish and share the basketball. ...

Wake Forest, Charlotte and Winthrop were spotted watching games. …


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