On Thursday, Phenom Hoops traveled out to Greensboro Day School in the heart of Greensboro, North Carolina, as the Bengals prepared to host the Bobcats of Piedmont Classical. This is Johnny Richardson’s first year as head coach for Piedmont Classical and, despite complete roster turnover, he’s found great success thus far. Prior to taking the position, Richardson was an assistant for Greensboro Day—only increasing the excitement surrounding this contest. On the other side, the Bengals consistently piece together a high-level roster and arguably have the best coaching staff in the Carolinas. The stage was set for an absolute battle, and that’s just what we received.
It’s unclear if anyone in the building could’ve expected the Bobcats to come out of the gates seamlessly clicking on all cylinders. Piedmont Classical quickly established the lead and ultimately ended the first quarter with an 18-10 advantage. They even scored a few unanswered buckets to start the next period, but things changed in an instant. As quickly as they mounted the lead, it vanished behind a 17-0 run from the Bengals, making the score 27-24. After securing the lead going into halftime, it felt like Greensboro Day had completely overturned any momentum from the Bobcats’ early success. Following the break, Piedmont Classical and Greensboro Day were actually able to trade the lead for a few minutes. About halfway through the third quarter, the Bengals took firm control of the lead and looked likely to close things out heading into the final period with a 45-37 advantage. They drastically slowed the tempo and looked to hold the ball as long as possible without scoring, which actually led to miscues and opportunities for Piedmont Classical to turn the tide. However, the Bobcats failed to convert on three different chances, ultimately leading to a 54-48 victory for Greensboro Day.
6’4 ’22 Michael Zanoni
While it took at least two and a half quarters for someone on either team to establish themselves as the best performer on the floor, Zanoni certainly made his case after burying a trio of three-pointers in near-succession. By now, everyone should know about his spot-up presence and ability to provide elite pressure from beyond the arc. However, Zanoni also showed his quality midrange pull-up and found ways to make plays in transition or as a cutter. He possesses excellent shooting mechanics and looks to make the extra pass or smartest possible decision whenever possible. Final stats: 18 points and 5 rebounds.
6’4 ’23 Jaydon Young
It’s easy to see the appeal with Young, given the extended flashes of high-level ability he showcases as a centerpiece for this group. He runs the offense, setting up others at a solid rate and scoring the ball at an efficient rate from all three levels. Young possesses a strong frame and quick first step, which he utilizes to touch the paint at a high frequency and absorb contact as a finisher around the basket. He displays useful defensive instincts, forces turnovers at a steady rate, and makes a consistent impact in transition. Final stats: 12 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block, and 1 steal.
6’5 ’21 Tyler Lundblade
With CJ Collins sidelined, someone like Lundblade needed to step up and establish a strong rebounding presence. While he’s normally known for his scoring ability, Lundblade has no issue asserting himself and utilizing his 6-foot-5 frame to outwork others on the glass. He found scoring opportunities within the flow of the offense and did a great job of filling in the gaps on both ends of the floor. Lundblade didn’t force the action and took advantage of easy opportunities whenever possible. His offer sheet should continue to grow. Final stats: 11 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 block.
6’1 ’21 Dreshaun Brown
The overall balance of Piedmont Classical can make it difficult for individuals to stand out, but Brown always seems to find a way to put his imprint on the game. He’s a strong, athletic, rugged guard prospect with great length, toughness, and a quality motor on both ends of the floor. Brown can set up the offense, attack his assignment off the dribble, and finish inside or highlight his reliable midrange pull-up. He consistently competes for rebounds and fights to force turnovers as a defender at the point of attack. Final stats: 4 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists.
6’4 ’22 Adam Vincent
Although his final stats might not pop off the page, Vincent was as vital as anyone to the Bobcats’ overall success in this contest. He’s long, wiry, and physically underdeveloped but possesses phenomenal shooting ability. Many folks have forgotten that Vincent averaged 24.5 PPG as a freshman. However, the production is naturally starting to follow his newfound confidence and ability to compete on a bigger stage. Final stats: 13 points and 1 steal.