Greensboro Day School vs. Piedmont Classical
The stage was set on Tuesday for a face-off between nationally-regarded powerhouse Greensboro Day School and lesser-known Piedmont Classical from just minutes down the road. This matchup projected as a nice early test for both programs, but ended up going down to the wire with everyone on the edge of their seats. Most people thought this contest would feature a pair of teams with contrasting stylistic approaches, but the opposite actually occurred, as both squads operated primarily in the half-court and maintained incredible patience from start to finish. We’ve watched the excitement and anticipation gradually set in over the last month or so, but there still wasn’t a clear-cut favorite beyond reputation. As stated on our podcast earlier this week, Piedmont Classical entered this game with a lot of momentum, given their combination of depth, explosion, and focal points hitting on all cylinders. On the other side, Greensboro Day is simply overflowing with talent and stands as one of the only local teams that can match the aforementioned depth of Piedmont Classical. All the previews, predictions, and roundtable discussions mean nothing until the game is played. We traveled to Greensboro Day School’s Dillard Gymnasium to see the Bengals (3-0) battle the Bobcats of Piedmont Classical (2-0), which was well worth the wait.
The gym was packed, nearly sold-out by the opening tip, and featured a relatively neutral crowd despite being on the Bengals home turf. The first-quarter opened in a sluggish fashion for both squads, as there was a clear nervousness in the air. They traded buckets throughout the first period, but Piedmont Classical surprised many folks as they walked into the second stretch up 9-7. At this point, both teams began to amp up their offensive approach and push the pace slightly more often in transition, resulting in the highest scoring quarter for either squad. Piedmont Classical enters the half ahead 29-25 over GDS, leaving most of the building in utter disbelief. The Bengals open the third-quarter with a clean-slate mentality and fought back, eventually taking their first lead of the game 39-38 with just a single quarter left to play. The final period was full of more lead changes and seat-gripping excitement. Neither team could gain a comfortable cushion, which placed an even bigger emphasis on securing loose balls and 50-50 possessions. There was zero predictability going into crunch time, but free-throws and attention to detail ultimately allowed the Bobcats to prevail by a score of 55-52 over GDS.
6’3 ’21 Carson McCorkle
The Virginia commit was the most reliable offensive option for the Bengals; he was so effective throughout the first half that the opposition was forced to give him extra defensive attention after the break. He’s simply a smart two-way player that led efficiently all scorers in this showing. Final stats: 18 points and 3 rebounds.
6’3 ’21 Cam Hayes
There’s a lot to like with Hayes, but it took him some time to get comfortable during this contest. He’s a clear high-level talent with an abundance of programs in pursuit and he’ll be a prospect that should start dominating as the season carries onward. Final stats: 10 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal.
6’8 ’21 Josh Taylor
This GDS team has a lot of size and quality options in the frontcourt, but Taylor was arguably the most consistent player within their big man rotation. He’s still adding strength, but was able to showcase a strong amount of skill and polish throughout this contest. Taylor operated well from the low block and midrange area, which allows him to vary his approach from one possession to the next. He’s a prospect that’ll certainly continue trending upward over the coming years. Final stats: 10 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks.
6’8 ’19 Nick Evtimov
The power forward has been unbelievable over the last few months, so he was expected to dominate in this contest. Evtimov was really solid at establishing position in the post and clearing out space for rebounds, but struggled to get going on offense. Final stats: 7 points, and 10 rebounds.
6’4 ’20 Trent McIntyre
The glue-guy was arguably the most impactful all-around player in this contest, able to do a little bit of everything while making his presence consistently felt on both ends of the floor. As a wing, McIntyre did an incredible job of outrebounding bigger opponents, especially on the offensive glass, and made multiple plays that ultimately factored into the outcome. He’s a really strong competitor that fits seamlessly with this group of teammates. Final stats: 12 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 steals.
6’0 ’20 Shakeel Moore
The opposition was focused on Moore from the opening tip and made it clear that they refused to be beaten by one of his scoring outbursts. He showed numerous flashes of his explosiveness and high-level athleticism, but scored most of his points in transition on free-throws and midrange pull-ups. Moore is among the most exciting players in the region and continued to prove that he is the real deal. Final stats: 11 points and 1 steal.
6’8 ’20 Elijah Joyner
Long, wiry, and extremely unique, Joyner was easily the most intriguing player on either team. He is a fluid ball-handler and perimeter threat, but has the ability to operate and succeed from anywhere on the floor. Joyner utilizes his length exceptionally well on finishes and when rebounding the ball, often outworking opponents that double him in physical strength. Final stats: 11 points and 10 rebounds.
6’4 ’20 Jalen Joiner
An important thing to note about this roster is that they have two separate glue-guys, the previously mentioned McIntyre and Joiner. He didn’t score a ton in this contest, as his jumper wasn’t necessary falling, but was able to do anything else and disrupt his assignment. Joiner showed the ability to defend multiple positions, including centers, and contains his matchup quite well. Final stats: 4 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, and 1 steal.
6’1 ’19 Qualeem Piondexter
The biggest surprise on either team was Poindexter, who stepped in and hit numerous important shots when the lights were at their brightest. He stretched the defense nicely and had the green-light to fire away from beyond the arc and utilized it quite well. Final stats: 11 points.