On Thursday, Phenom Hoops traveled to High Point, North Carolina for a second-round NCISAA 4A playoff matchup between the hosting Wesleyan Christian Trojans and the Ravens of Ravenscroft. There was an appropriate amount of buzz in the air and random factors like Josh Hall being sidelined, Isaiah Ray playing with the flu, and Myles Evans playing with an injured hand only made it a more intriguing contest for both teams.'
The game opened up in favor of Wesleyan behind the phenomenal play of Aisaiah Phillips and Josh Wiggins. However, Ravenscroft continued to battle and remained within fighting distance throughout the half. Neither team was really able to piece together a consistent offensive stretch, but Wesleyan was certainly more reliable with their opportunities in transition. This was absolutely a winnable game for Ravenscroft, even with the aforementioned injuries, but Kaleb Brooks and Isaiah Ray put it out of reach with their late-game scoring. Wesleyan led most of this contest and ultimately secured a 64-49 victory over Ravenscroft. They advance to play Cannon on Saturday.
6'1 '21 Aisaiah Phillips
There were numerous standout performers but Phillips was arguably the most impressive given his all-around production. He's smart, crafty, and knows how to touch the paint with regularity, where he's able to make plays for himself and others at a nonstop rate. Phillips is already a capable perimeter shooter but truly found his comfort zone last night, knocking down shots off the catch and not allowing defenders to go under screens anymore without being punished. He displayed vision and unselfishness in transition and made the best available play with unwavering consistency. Final stats: 17 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists, and 2 steals.
6'5 '21 Isaiah Ray
Since transferring in earlier this season, Ray has emerged as a leader and does a phenomenal job of affecting all facets of the game on a nightly basis. This contest was somewhat different, given his case of the flu, and it took him a little while to find his footing. He was quiet during the first half, not necessarily looking to score, and made plays as needed. It wasn't until crunch time that Ray decided to amp things up and put things out of contention, getting downhill and scoring or drawing fouls whenever he wanted. Final stats: 16 points, 3 rebounds, 1 block, and 1 steal.
6'7 '20 Kaleb Brooks
It was somewhat a tale of two halves for Brooks, as he piled on majority of his non-scoring stats in the first half and then began applying scoring pressure throughout the second half. Like Phillips, Brooks is extremely tough to contain when knocking down three-pointers'as it opens up his entire offensive arsenal. He took guys off the dribble, owned the glass, scored inside and out, and displayed quality playmaking instincts. Although already talented, Brooks is the type of player that will only continue to get better going forward. Final stats: 15 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals.
6'5 '20 Josh Wiggins
If there were a 'heart and soul' title for someone on Wesleyan, it would absolutely be Wiggins. Not only has he been there as long as anyone, Wiggins ridiculously high motor and team-first mentality are a massive part of what separates him from other prospects. He doesn't need to have a flashy handle or launch thirty-footers to make his presence felt. Wiggins is a great two-way rebounder that naturally finds his way around the ball and simply knows how to make plays. He's the type of guy that college coaches want to enter battle alongside. Final stats: 16 points and 5 rebounds.
6'2 '23 McCallum Wright
Though it was a somewhat underwhelming contest for Ravenscroft, Wright still found a way to shine from start to finish. He's undeniably poised, heady, and well-rounded, especially for his age and size. Wright loves to get downhill and attack the basket, displaying vision, toughness, and surprising athleticism. He's also a reliable perimeter shooter with great defensive instincts. It's still quite early, but Wright could be the future of this program and will certainly be one to watch closely over the next few years. Final stats: 17 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 4 steals.
Other Noteworthy Contributors:
5'11 '20 Steven Riley- 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals
6'9 '20 Myles Evans- 10 points, 5 rebounds
6'6 '20 Brady O'Connell- 8 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists
6'4 '21 Thomas Brown- 8 points, 3 assists, 1 block, 2 steals