Phenom Hoops traveled down south in the state of North Carolina on Wednesday night, to check in on the action between Richmond and Pinecrest, two teams having a successful season but at times, don’t get the recognition they deserve.  Early on, it looked like Richmond wanted to come out and make a statement, clinging to an early 10-0 lead behind a few early three-pointers but Pinecrest responded well to get right back into it mid-way through.  Richmond held the slight 18-11 lead after one and continued to hold that throughout the second quarter, as the outside ball was a strong point early on, as well as their ability to get on the boards.  Bradlee Haskell led the charge in the first half for Pinecrest, as Richmond held the 29-22 halftime lead.

Second half got underway, as Richmond continued to maintain their lead throughout.  However, the offense didn’t quite come as it did earlier in the game, as the game seemed to slow down, play in the half-court, and shots didn’t quite fall. However, Richmond led 42-35 after three.  Pinecrest never gave in, as they picked their spots to attack offensively, and let their seniors step up, as they chipped away at the lead.  Getting it down to a single possession late and not being able to secure their first lead late, the door was still open with Richmond holding on a 48-46 lead.  Pinecrest though had the ball late and it was the play of Haskell finding another senior in Ian Blue, who stepped up big in the fourth from deep and hit the late and game-winning three with seven seconds left.  Richmond had a chance at the end but Stroman came up short from deep and Pinecrest came away with the gritty 49-48 win on the road.

Bradlee Haskell 20 points
Ian Blue 14 points
JJ Goins 10 points

Paul McNeil 13 points
Nygie Stroman 11 points
Dylan Lewis 9 points


2021 Bradlee Haskell (Pinecrest): Haskell is one that doesn’t always get the recognition but from what we saw with his game, this is a young man that you want to have on your team.  It is his body language, his confidence that you just see on the court, and his physicality as a point guard.  He embraces and attacks defenders, knows how to finish strong, but also makes really smart decisions and doesn’t force much on the court.  You can also see his leadership with his team and does a great job in creating for others.  Simply, you want the ball in his hands.

2021 Nygie Stroman (Richmond): Stroman played well. He plays hard and with a tremendous motor, as this is a young man that simply has an understanding of how to operate and be effective in multiple areas on the court.  He can step outside and face up, as the wing prospect can rise up with his jumper or create for himself and attack the paint.  But he also has a good feel inside as well, how to battle on the boards, and showcase his athleticism to finish well.

2024 Paul McNeil Jr (Richmond): This was my first time getting a chance to see McNeil this season with Richmond and even in warm-ups, this young man catches your eye.  Such a long prospect already, standing around 6’4 at a young age, he wasn’t afraid to show his range quickly in this game, knocking down a few three’s from deep but also using that length to battle on the boards and score with nice touch.  McNeil is certainly an interesting prospect being a freshman, as he is extremely comfortable along the perimeter, giving his team another ball-handler when needed, but using his size to score inside the arc as well.

2021 Ian Blue (Pinecrest): Blue stepped up big when it counted, especially late in the game, hitting some big three’s including the eventual game-winner from the corner.  Blue though brought a tremendous attitude and work ethic, giving extra effort on both ends and finding his spots for his jumper.