We walked into the gym at Panther Creek for a scrimmage pitting Raleigh’s Broughton and Morrisville’s Panther Creek, and it appeared that the fans were already in season. The Junior Varsity teams started the night and then stayed in the gym to watch the Varsity’s. There were cheers and chants, there was jawing back and forth between the fans, there was yelling at the refs and teams, it was a good environment.
Raleigh’s Broughton is coming into this year having made it to the state championship game last season. Off that team five of their top 6 players were seniors, so virtually they bring back 6’2 senior guard Cameron Gottfried and then have a lot of new faces. It just so happens two of those new faces are 6’4 junior guard Jerome Robinson and 6’7 junior forward Austin Burnette (Rutgers commit). Those three provide the defending Eastern North Carolina champions a good base.
Cameron Gottfried came out and left no doubt who the leader of this team is. He missed his first couple of shots so he started attacking the basket and built confidence. At the half Gottfried was 3 of 6 for 10 points. We think that Gottfried is primed for a break out senior season, he finished 3 quarters 7 for 15 for 18 points. Jerome Robinson is another name to put in your memory banks. They started him off the ball and he settled for a couple jump shots. As the game went on, Robinson moved onto the ball and looked a lot more comfortable. Robinson attacked the basket and got into the lane regularly, pulling up at the right time and finishing in traffic. Robinson had 7 points through 3 quarters but played with a great confidence and ability.
Panther Creek returns 6 seniors that saw playing time last season. They are led by former college assistant LJ Hepp and are chock full of guards. Last year 6’3 senior forward Nubian Spann finished last season as an all conference selection, and he took the summer to get better. He showed a solid handle attacking from the wing, and knocked down multiple jump shots from 18′ and out. That said, he absolutely controlled the paint, getting his hands on every ball and affecting every play. He finished 3 quarters with 7 points and 10 rebounds.
With Spann controlling the paint, Panther Creek will come and go as their guards are. Coach Hepp is in pretty good shape in this area. He returns 5’9 senior point guard Jaquez Hudson, 5’11 senior guard Malachi Paige, and 5’11 sophomore point guard Juan Munoz. This game, Munoz had an off night, picking up a couple fouls early and never really getting into a rhythm shooting the ball. Munoz added explosion to his game, easily dunking with two hands consistently and almost getting one down in traffic. He is as tough as they come and possess a natural flash and creates a confidence for this team mates. Hudson showed a very attack minded game on defense. He defended the ball very well, causing multiple turnovers and causing Broughton to start their sets further out than they would have liked. Hudson made shots today going 4 for 6 from the field, and 2 for 4 from 3. Hudson showed good decision making on the ball. In Panther Creek’s three pronged point guard attack Paige played on the wing in this game. He did a great job attacking the basket, getting to the rim pretty easily. His next step will be finishing in the lane, but he did a pretty good job of that in this game.
We were only able to stay for 3 periods, but from what we saw both of these teams will do some very good things this season.