Thursday night, two of the top teams in the NCISAA faced off as 4A Greensboro Day (25-2) hosted 2A Trinity Academy (17-3). This was a can’t miss matchup with six seniors signed to play at the Division I level next year. In addition, both teams are extremely well coached. They take their time and deliberately execute on both ends of the floor.
Speaking of executing in the half court, Trinity scored their first two baskets of the game on cuts to the rim. Greensboro Day responded by taking advantage of their size mismatch and finding Jackson Noble in the post early. Trinity held onto a 12-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Greensboro Day started the second quarter on a 6-0 run. However, Trinity’s Noah Ross responded with a jab-step three pointer to regain the lead. Trinity would once again hold onto a 20-16 lead at the half.
Once again in the third quarter, Greensboro Day would tie the game up at 23-23 as Princeton commit CJ Collins knocked down the hook shot and then 2023 Graham Worland converted on the midrange pull-up jumper. But Trinity would not panic. Noah Ross found Kevon Vanderhorst for a transition layup. Then Zach Sloan found Sam Perez on the drive and kick three. Trinity led 31-28 heading into the fourth quarter.
It was crunch time and Greensboro Day had to answer. CJ Collins handed the ball off to Charlotte commit Nik Graves who buried his first field goal of the game at 2:55 and Greensboro Day had cut the deficit to 37-36. Nik Graves scored all nine of his points in the final three minutes of the game.
Trinity calls a timeout. Out of the timeout, they isolate Noah Ross at the elbow and he finishes a strong take to the rim. Then on the next play, Ross buries a three-pointer. Trinity now led 42-36 with 1:56 remaining.
With 1:43 remaining, Nik Graves had a tremendous sequence to get Greensboro Day back in the game. Graves converts on two free throws and then chased Trinity down after beating the press to force a turnover. Then back on the offensive end, he created and finished at the rim. The score was now 42-40 in favor of Trinity.
With 0:50 remaining, Nik Graves once again answered for Greensboro Day. He drove it left to the middle of the paint from the right wing, Trinity cut him off, but he spun back to his right and connected on the floater to tie the game up at 42-42.
Trinity would try to hold for the last shot. As time was winding down, Trinity finds Sam Perez on a drive and kick three. He misses. But Kevon Vanderhorst comes rushing in for the put-back to take the lead at 44-42 with 0:04 remaining. Trinity executed on the defensive end to hold on for the win.
Greensboro Day 42
Michael Zanoni – 10 points, 6 rebounds
Nik Graves – 9 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists
CJ Collins – 9 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 blocks, 2 steals
Graham Worland – 7 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assits
Jackson Noble – 7 points, 5 rebounds
Trinity Academy 44
Noah Ross – 13 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists
Trevor Barrett – 12 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals
Kevon Vanderhorst – 8 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists
Sam Perez – 5 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist
Zach Sloan – 3 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists
Trey Barker – 3 points
6’7 2022 Noah Ross (Trinity Academy) (UNCW)
Noah Ross continues to make his case as one of the top seniors in the state of NC. He has the athleticism and a college ready frame to go along with his skillset that will help him make an immediate impact at the next level. He led all players with 13 points, but what always sticks out is Noah’s toughness. He attacks the basket fearlessly. And he uses his strength to crash the glass on both ends of the floor. Even more importantly, given his ability to really score the basketball, Ross routinely makes the right play and looks for the open man.
6’1 2023 Trevor Barrett (Trinity Academy)
Trevor Barrett was the difference maker in the game. He came up with big plays time and time again throughout the course of the game on both ends of the floor. In the first half, he drilled two catch and shoot three-pointers. Every time that Greensboro Day would make a run, Barrett would answer. In the third quarter, he drew two critical charges on the defensive end. Then he converted with a layup on the following play. Late in the fourth quarter when Trinity needed a basket, he got downhill and finished over a bigger defender. Barrett is a player who continues to gain confidence and improve every time we see him play. Barrett finished with 12 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 steals.
6’1 2023 Kevon Vanderhorst (Trinity Academy)
Vanderhorst is another player that continues to improve after each viewing. One thing that really stuck out this game was how much stronger he has gotten over the past few months. Vanderhorst has always been able to knock down perimeter shots and utilize his quickness to make plays off the bounce. But now he is playing with more physicality and finishing stronger at the end of drives. He had a beautiful right to left cross to get downhill to the left where he glided back to the right in the air for a tough finish against contact. He has a nose for the ball which is evident as he had the game-winning put-back. Vanderhorst finished with 8 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists.
6’4 2022 Nik Graves (Greensboro Day) (Charlotte)
Throughout the game, the Charlotte commit was making plays for others. He routinely got into the paint and found shooters in drive and kick situations. He had a beautiful baseline drift pass to Mercer commit, Michael Zanoni, for the corner three to start the third quarter. From a scoring perspective, Graves came alive in the final 3:00 of the game. He knocked down the catch and shoot three. He created off the bounce and either finished at the rim or drew fouls. He will go on to have a successful collegiate career. He is poised, under control and knows how to run a team. He picks his opportunities really well when it comes to facilitating, finding others, or making plays for himself. Graves finished with 9 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists.
6’10 2022 CJ Collins (Greensboro Day) (Princeton)
There might not be a player in the state who has improved over the past year as much as CJ Collins. He is moving really well on the defensive end, especially in ball screen coverage. He utilizes his length both on the perimeter and in the interior to block and altar shots. He has really good touch with his back to the basket, especially over his left shoulder. He connected on multiple right hooks. In addition, he crashes the glass hard and when he does get offensive rebounds, he keeps the ball high and goes back up strong. Collins finished with 9 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 blocks and 2 steals.