On Wednesday, Phenom Hoops traveled out to Bishop McGuinness High School, as the Villains prepared to conclude their regular season against Mt. Airy in a rivalry matchup. Given the Covid situation, spectators have been limited all season. However, all the spectating parents who were guaranteed tickets actually gave up their seats in favor of a student section for the first time this year. The atmosphere of rowdy fans on senior night combined with the overall talent and distain for the opponent certainly made this a contest to remember.

Things kicked off with the Granite Bears firing on all cylinders and capturing an early lead out of the gate. The Villains quickly mounted a run of their own to regain control at 14-11 going into the second quarter. The action only continued to heat up, as various lead changes occurred, the intensity increased drastically, and officiating was very aggressive on both ends of the floor. That being said, Mt. Airy found great offensive success and turned it into a 28-25 advantage entering halftime. Following the break, it was more of the same, as Bishop McGuiness refused to quit while Mt. Airy tried to do whatever possible to maintain their slight lead. The Villains actually scored the final bucket of the quarter, allowing them to hold a 45-44 lead entering the last eight minutes of regulation. The last period was an absolute battle. Things remained extremely close until 52-53, when the Villains rattled off a massive run to take complete control of this contest. They maintained a multiple-possession lead throughout the closing minutes, securing a 71-61 victory over Mt. Airy.

Bishop McGuinness:

5’11 ’21 Nate Fuller

Although he’s usually seen as the defensive, high-motor utility player, Fuller was actually the Villains’ best performer in this showing. He does a great job of operating within the flow of the action and only seizing opportunities whenever available. However, his toughness, defensive prowess, and shot-making was arguably the difference-maker in allowing Bishop to come out victorious. Fuller still prioritized doing the dirty work and making hustle plays, but also made great decisions with the ball in his hands and stood out as one of the top defenders on either team. Final stats: 20 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, and 6 steals.

6’4 ’22 Dawson McAlhany

After struggling with foul trouble in the first half, McAlhany truly came alive after the break. He appeared somewhat limited due to injury but still made a ton of contributions throughout this contest. Once he found his stride, he hit shots and helped change the momentum of this game in favor of the Villains. McAlhany pursued rebounds, made quality passes, and displayed the ability to make plays defensively. Final stats: 14 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals.

6’6 ’21 Noah Allred

Though it’s become somewhat of a common occurrence, Allred continues to make a massive difference for this team. Not only does he typically stand out as their most active and productive two-way rebounder, but his inside-out presence simply gives this team a dynamic that most opponents can’t handle. Allred is big, strong, and capable of finishing inside or hitting perimeter jumpers off the catch. He also blocked multiple shots and offered an active defensive presence within the paint. Final stats: 12 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 1 steal.

Other noteworthy contributors:

6’0 ’21 Jeremiah Manley- 12 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 steals.

6’7 ’21 Thomas Markun- 4 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 blocks.

6’7 ’23 Rio O’Hale- 2 points and 8 rebounds.

Mt. Airy:

6’1 ’22 Caden Fitzgibbons

It’s easy to see why Fitzgibbons is the clear leader of this squad, given his ability and willingness to set up the action while making the right play. He’s usually more of a scorer with this group, but was primarily tasked with handling the ball and operating as a main decision-maker. Fitzgibbons is long with broad shoulders, solid athleticism, and a nice motor on both ends of the floor. He possesses a great nose for the ball, especially for a guard, and is simply able to position himself for success and reliably locate extra possessions on a regular basis. Fitzgibbons is a useful cutter and penetrator in transition. He will be one to monitor over the next calendar year. Final stats: 8 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal.

5’10 ’22 Brooks Sizemore

Although Fitzgibbons might be their primary leader, Sizemore was undeniably the Granite Bears’ top performer in this contest. He’s slightly undersized but knows his identity extremely well as a change-of-pace guard with vision and excellent three-point shooting. Not only was he hitting shots, but his ability to create and convert given the degree of difficulty was truly insane. Sizemore completely disregarded defensive pressure and only required a glimmer of space to stand out as their most effective scorer. He also set up others, attacked the basket, pursued rebounds, and battled defensively. Final stats: 20 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists, and 1 steal.

Other noteworthy contributors:

6’0 ’21 Holden Poindexter- 14 points, 9 rebounds, and 1 block.

6’4 ’21 Grant Routh- 11 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 assists.