On Thursday, Phenom Hoops traveled out to High Point Christian Academy, as the Cougars prepared to host the Eagles of Concord Academy. Despite both squads being riddled with key injuries (Noah van Bibber for CA; Taft Johnson for HPCA), there was still more than enough talent to get excited about with these notable programs. The Cougars entered this contest with a 13-3 record, following eight consecutive wins during the last month. On the other side, the Eagles have played as tough of a schedule as any program in the state. There have been some struggles, but Concord Academy always finds a way to compete. Let’s see how things ironed out…
The opening quarter would provide us with a pretty accurate preview of the whole game. Concord Academy quickly established an early lead, which was quickly erased by the Cougars. Through the first eight minutes, the Eagles held a 16-11 advantage. The second quarter was much of the same, as these two evenly matched squads continued to trade the lead and gain no real separation—as Concord led 29-23 going into halftime. Following the break, Concord held onto their lead through the third quarter (39-34) and, despite a neck-and-neck battle to the finish, held strong through the final buzzer to secure a 49-44 victory over High Point Christian.
6’0 ’22 DJ Cuttino
Given the balanced structure and approach by the Eagles, Cuttino was as valuable as anyone on the roster. He consistently operated as the primary initiator and creator, looking to set up the offense, attack the paint when possible, and make smart, unselfish decisions with the ball in his hands. Cuttino is a capable shooting threat, but doesn’t force the action or look to do too much. He’s a scrappy defender, steady offensive presence, and definite x-factor for the overall success of this team. College coaches should be involved. Final stats: 9 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, and 1 steal.
6’5 ’22 Tucker Johnson
It didn’t take long for Johnson to stand out as one of (if not the) most physically imposing players on either team. He’s a strong, athletic, high-motor post prospect with a clear understanding of how to outwork opponents for extra opportunities on both ends of the floor. Johnson is a quality finisher, both above the rim or through contact, and often finds offensive chances through sheer effort and positioning. He rebounds, alters shots, and runs the floor hard in transition. Like his teammate above, college coaches should be laying groundwork. Final stats: 11 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 blocks.
Other Noteworthy Contributors:
6’3 ’22 Jayden Munson- 9 points, 3 steals
6’7 ’23 Sergej Cvetkovic- 10 points, 1 block
High Point Christian:
6’7 ’22 Ethan Smith
Though his scoring totals might not reflect it, Smith was arguably the main leader for this Cougar squad. He showcased a pretty complete game, especially when his jumpers weren’t falling at their normal clip. Smith looked to set up others and make the unselfish reads whenever available, but also found ways to apply scoring pressure. He utilizes his size well around the basket to finish and make an impact as a rebounder. College coaches will only continue to pursue the skilled forward. Final stats: 7 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1 block.
6’5 ’22 Thomas McIntosh
After somewhat of a quiet first half, McIntosh did whatever possible to make his presence felt following the break. He’s a scrappy, fairly skilled forward/post prospect with the ability to score in various different ways or alter his approach based on matchup. McIntosh can finish, knock down shots, or attack through traffic at an effective rate. He’s also an active rebounder and capable interior defender. Final stats: 17 points and 7 rebounds
Other Noteworthy Contributors:
6’2 ’23 Darius Kane- 6 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks, 1 steal
6’0 ’23 Isaiah Sanders- 6 points, 2 assists, 1 steal