On Tuesday, Phenom Hoops traveled to Browns Summit, North Carolina for a high-level showdown between two of the top independent schools in the state in Liberty Heights and Piedmont Classical. Liberty Heights entered this game with two wins over Piedmont Classical and sought out a third. Even though these squads possess equal talent and coaching, Liberty Heights has found a way to be slightly better. Piedmont Classical had clear visions of redemption during warm-ups and looked prepared for an all-out battle. Fortunately for spectators, that’s exactly what we ended up getting.
Piedmont Classical came out of the gate strong, establishing a nice early lead and firing on all cylinders on both ends of the floor. Their cohesion and offensive balance allowed for a 20-10 lead after the first quarter. Liberty Heights began to respond in the second period, starting to control the glass and knock down perimeter shots. They gained momentum until the buzzer but still entered halftime trailing 33-29 to Piedmont Classical. Liberty Heights got a lot of favorable shots in the first half but were simply unable to convert, which led to a ton of transition buckets from Piedmont Classical. Things got particularly interesting after the break, as Liberty Heights comes out of the half with an immediate 15-2 run behind five consecutive three-pointers from Kamryn Edwards and Kahari Rogers—en route to a 49-42 lead after the third quarter. Those two continued to heat up but Piedmont Classical’s sheer resiliency kept them in fighting distance and allowed them to actually mount a late-game comeback. Trent McIntyre was tough all game but especially impressive down the stretch. Ultimately, it came down to the wire but Liberty Heights held on to a 68-65 victory over Piedmont Classical.
6’6 ’20 Kahari Rogers
There were no MVP awards for this game but if there were, it would have to be shared between Rogers and Edwards. That being said, Rogers arguably had a more productive showing across the board. His five three-pointers were an obvious bright spot, but his rebounding, defensive intensity, and decision-making in transition simply put him over the top. When Rogers is knocking down jumpers, especially with this consistency, it’s difficult to understand his lack of recruitment. With multiple Division I coaches sitting courtside, Rogers should pick up more offers within the coming months. Final stats: 21 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, and 1 steal.
6’5 ’20 Kamryn Edwards
Arguably the most consistently productive force on this team, Edwards had another meaningful outing when it seemed to matter most. He still found a way to place his imprints on various facets of the game but it was his shooting prowess that really made the difference. Edwards truly scored the ball from all three levels, doing so with poise, efficiency, and unselfishness. He moved extremely well without the ball to find open spaces and make the most of his offensive opportunities. With Charleston Southern being the first Division I program to get involved, one would expect multiple others to throw their hat in the ring. Final stats: 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists.
6’8 ’20 Dominique Davidson
Although high scoring totals are impressive and can certainly win basketball games, guys like Davidson are as valuable as any on-paper proponent. He’s in a league of his own when it comes to motor, blue-collar approach, and sheer will to win. There aren’t five players in the state, regardless of class, that work harder on the court than Davidson. He’s big, strong, and naturally finds a way to overwhelm the opposition. Davidson is an incredible rebounder with great activity and overall determination around the basket. He’s excellent at scoring off offensive rebounds and securing second-chance opportunities. Davidson will be an absolute gem for whatever program gets him at the next level. Final stats: 7 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 block.
6’0 ’20 Antonee Abraham
Like Davidson, it can be somewhat difficult for folks to appreciate Abraham’s smart, steady game without paying close attention. He knows how to run a team as well as any floor general in North Carolina, displaying poise, confidence, and never allowing the opposition to dictate his pace. Abraham knows how to penetrate, knife through the paint, and frequently set up his teammates for easy buckets. He’s a capable scorer but doesn’t force the action and shows a clear willingness to find the best available shot with unwavering consistency. Final stats: 7 points, 3 rebounds, 8 assists, and 1 steal.
Other Noteworthy Contributors:
6’5 ’20 Devin Gordon- 4 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals
6’9 ’20 Jemal Davis- 2 points, 5 rebounds
6’5 ’20 Trevaughn Booker- 2 points, 2 reboudnds, 1 assist
6’2 ’23 London Johnson- 5 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 steal
6’4 ’20 Trent McIntyre
It feels like a broken record at this point, but McIntyre continues to be the real deal and deserves more attention within his recruitment. Division I and II schools can absolutely utilize a player that simply knows how to do everything well on a nightly. He’s a big, strong, intelligent guard that operates as a primary ball-handler, creates for himself and others, scores as needed at a consistent rate, and controls the game defensively. McIntyre was certainly one of the best two or three players on the floor last night, as his leadership, intensity, and two-way production shined through. College coaches need to be more involved with McIntyre. Final stats: 22 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 steal.
6’0 ’21 Jamarii Thomas
Although he’s typically expected to have big scoring outbursts, Thomas took a step back and really ran the team with effectiveness on both ends of the floor. He didn’t necessarily look to score but rather tried to set up others at every possible opportunity. Thomas seems to always lead with his defense, and this contest was no different, as he created havoc that led to turnovers and transition play. He was great in the open floor, made quality decisions with the ball in his hands, and was still quite impressive despite not filling up the stat sheet. Like most guys on this Piedmont Classical team, Thomas deserves an uptick in his recruitment. Final stats: 5 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1 steal.
Other Noteworthy Contributors:
6’4 ’20 Jalen Joiner- 11 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 steal (including a massive putback slam in crunch-time for his 1000thpoint)
6’5 ’22 Amare Miller- 10 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, and 1 steal.
6’8 ’20 Evan Joyner- 8 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, and 2 steals.
5’11 ’20 Qualeem Poindexter- 5 points