Yesterday evening, I spent time down in Richmond, VA checking out two varsity games at different locations: Amelia Academy at Steward School, followed by Midlothian High School at Clover Hill High School. Scouting two games in one night doesn’t come quite often so I knew it was a must to seize the opportunity when it presented itself. The first contest at Steward School gave me the chance to see the two opposing teams again after not having seen them since the preseason. For most programs, a lot typically changes in that period of time; it’s been about four months as we’re now in January. Both the programs looked pretty sharp in their play but Steward ultimately ended up taking home an easy win and improving their record to 12-1.
Steward – 93
Amelia Academy – 70
Some Game Notes
- Honestly, heading into this contest, I already had a feeling that Steward’s primary big man, Seven-footer Efton Reid ’21, would give Amelia Academy a handful with his imposing size in the paint. The Patriots didn’t have a guy over 6’2” in their lineup. Steward’s size advantage proved significant, as they scored off of many paint points and rarely gave AA any second-chances from offensive rebounds.
- A team mainly full of guards, Amelia Academy has several guys on the roster who can create for their own shot and score off of the bounce. The only problem that comes with this involves a lack of playing team ball in stretches. I saw a good amount of 1v1 play that had a tendency to result in forced shots. It’s always helpful to have players who can go and get a bucket on their own at times, but I feel the Patriots will make the game easier for themselves if they move the ball around to get open looks.
- Steward defended well in the half-court but should work on picking up opposing guards quicker in transition. Obviously, not every team will have the speed of Amelia Academy but Steward undoubtedly struggled at times in stopping the pace of AA’s guards when they decided to just get all the way to the rim. The Spartans didn’t have to worry too much, as their size advantage helped in protecting the rim, but they don’t want that to become a bad habit. That same habit could emerge again in the future at the wrong time.
- After observing the game, I left Steward’s gymnasium most impressed by the talent of the Spartans’ 2021 class. Three sophomores started and play big minutes for the team: Efton Reid ’21, Isaiah Simmons ’21, and Zach Rosenthal ’21. It’s just pretty bizarre to think how good of players these guys can develop into as they advance into their high school years. This really is only the beginning of what Spartan fans are seeing.
Thursday Night Standouts
Efton Reid ’21 – Steward: Folks quickly got a sense that the big fella had plans of taking over from the jump after he scored Steward’s first twelve points. This being my second time watching Reid on the floor, I definitely feel he’s hands-down one of the best true post players in the 804. He recognized how Amelia Academy had no true answer in guarding him down low, even when they double-teamed, so I loved how he posted hard to make himself available in every trip on offense. Reid finished and rebounded EVERYTHING, ending with a monster double-double of 32 points, 21 rebounds, and four blocks. Oh, and he shot 79% from the field. We may be seeing a future professional developing in the 7-foot sophomore.
Greg Harris, Jr. ’21 – AA: The title of ‘best shot-maker of the night’ clearly goes to the Patriots’ young scoring guard. Harris, Jr. looked the most supreme in putting the ball in the basket. Even with Steward’s solid defense, nothing could stop him throughout Thursday evening. He played the biggest role in keeping Amelia Academy within close digits of the first half, nearly helping the Patriots take the lead at one point. While the game went into Steward’s favor more in the second half, Harris, Jr. never slowed down. He continued to make tough basket after tough basket and shot the ball better than any other player on the night. Standing at 5’10,” he doesn’t have a lot of size on him or anything… but man, can he score. Harris, Jr. led the Patriots with a team-high 27 points on 50% shooting, along with three rebounds, two assists, and two steals.
Alex Fabiato ’19 – Steward: I liked Fabiato’s confidence and leadership for Steward; he came onto the floor ready to play and provided most of their perimeter shooting in the first half. The strong senior established his two-way presence early and turned many defensive plays into offense for the Spartans. His best moments of the game came during the third quarter, when he and Zach Rosenthal ’21 went completely off on an offensive burst to give Steward an 11-0 run; the game then started to become out of Amelia Academy’s reach. The talented Fabiato does several things well and clearly contains the role of a senior presence that every successful team needs. He had 17 points (78% shooting), three boards, and five dimes.
William Steger ’19 – AA: Aside from Harris, Jr., Steger filled up the scoring column better than any other player on the Patriots’ squad. He’s a very shifty/quick guard who can use his handle to make his way to various spots on the floor and create his own offense when desired. The notion I made earlier about how Amelia Academy gave Steward some trouble when they pushed the ball in transition involved me silently referring to Steger mainly. His style of play gets defenders on their heels and he showed a capability of going off on his own personal runs. With all of that being said about his own offense, he’ll need to increase his scoring efficiency. Steger has the ball in his hands a lot, so his decision-making will be key. He put up a stat line of 17 points, three rebounds, five assists, and three steals.
Zach Rosenthal ’21 – Steward: After not having to do much in the first half, the lefty sophomore exploded in the third quarter to assist in putting Steward up by as much as 19 points at one point. Rosenthal had his complete offensive game on display in knocking down jumpers and taking it to the rim for a few crafty finishes. Of course, he’s still fine tuning some certain things in his arsenal but how he maturely approaches the game and produces on the court plays a big reason for why Steward has been highly successful so far this winter. Rosenthal knows how to make winning plays and I always enjoy watching him when he really starts to find a flow. He becomes more and more difficult to contain by the possession. Rosenthal chipped in 12 points and five assists.
Be sure to check out my recap of Midlothian High School vs. Clover Hill High School, which took place on this same evening (1/3/19)!