Final Thoughts and Takeaways
Phenom Hoops travelled to Huntersville, North Carolina to cover the key NCHSAA 4A matchup between two of the storied programs in the state. North Mecklenburg game into the contest with the general consensus at being one of the premier teams in the state this season at the public-school level. They are loaded with talent and feature 6’3 shooting guard Tristan Maxwell (Georgia Tech). Both teams are very well coached and will be in the conversation to make a deep playoff run come tournament time.
North Mecklenburg started strong and never looked back in securing an impressive 79-55 win over Independence. For North Mecklenburg, it was a very well-balanced scoring attack. 6’3 Georgia Tech signee Tristan Maxwell finished with 21 points, 6’0 Robert Morris signee Trayden Williams chipped in 20 points, while 6’1 Shamann Artis and 6’5 Chris Ford tallied 11 and 10 points respectively. For Independence, they were led by 6’5 Nygell Verdier with 17 points while 6’5 Dee Givens and 6’0 Anthony Allen scored 15 and 12 points respectively.
North Mecklenburg can be an impressive defensive team
Like most opening season openers, both teams encountered their fair share of turnovers. That being said, North Mecklenburg has a trio of guards that can defend and apply intense defensive pressure, not to mention they have active hands which allowed them to get deflections and steals. In addition, North Mecklenburg guards also do an extremely good job of crashing the defensive boards. While North Mecklenburg is blessed with offensive minded guards, it will be their defense that carries them this season.
North Mecklenburg’s 1-2 backcourt punch
North Mecklenburg has plenty of depth at the guard position, but the duo of Trayden Williams and Tristan Maxwell is as good as it gets. Both are big time scorers, but have their own unique skill set. Williams is super quick and has one of the best midrange games in the state regardless of class. He’s an exceptional scorer off the dribble/bounce while Maxwell is superb at coming off the “catch,” In addition, Maxwell has the perfected the jab and shoot jumper and has the ability to post up smaller guards and hit the turnaround jumper.
Nygell Verdier is developing as Independence’s point guard
In the game on opening night, Verdier was clearly the best player for Independence as he tallied 19 points and did his best to initiate the offense. He has excellent size and can create a mismatch with his size, strength, and athleticism. Independence will have better perimeter shooting days in the future and that too allow more driving lanes for Verdier to utilize in the future.
Independence will bounce back
While Independence was beat rather handedly in the tough season opener for Coach Preston Davis, look for Independence to bounce back. Coach Davis lost four starters from last season who have gone on to play at the collegiate level. He has a new group and has a nice blend of super quick and athletic players at every position. 6’7 junior Omarion Bodrick was unable to get untracked on the offensive end of the court. As we have stated on numerous occasions, Bodrick can influence the game without scoring a single point. He did have over a handful of impressive blocks, but Independence will have to work on getting Bodrick more scoring opportunities, which they usually do with their transition game.
North Mecklenburg can really score it
Tristan Maxwell may just be one of the top scorers in the state. While he can be somewhat “streaky” at times, but once he gets on a roll, he can score a boatload of points in a hurry. North Meck will let it fly from the perimeter and have numerous players that can score from various spots on the court. It will be difficult for an opposing team to get into a running game with North Meck as Coach Duane Lewis just as a talented slew of players that can flat get buckets.