On Friday night, Vance travelled across I-77 to take on Hopewell. Vance was able to improve their record on the year to 2-0 with the 81-58 win. The game was much closer for much of the game than the score indicates.

Both teams came out aggressive in the first quarter. But it was Vance who was able take control of the game early. 2022 Daniel Sanford made his presence felt with 10 points, 3 rebounds and 1 assist in the first quarter. At the end of the first, Vance was up 24-14.

The second quarter, Hopewell began to make their run. Their pressure in their zone defense began to force turnovers. Those turnovers led to easy transition baskets. 2021 Jordan McPhatter controlled the tempo. He is so crafty with the ball in his hands. As he goes, so do the Titans. McPhatter had a beautiful ball screen split, got into the paint, and made the drop off pass to a teammate for the layup. Later, he split the double team near half and again found the open man for the drop off finish. 2022 Jordan Perkins rung off 5 straight points with a nifty finish at the basket and a catch and shoot three-pointer to cut the deficit to 3 points at 34-31. Vance ended up going into halftime with the 38-31 lead, but the second quarter belonged to Hopewell.

The third quarter is where Vance won the ball game. Vance went on a 17-0 run to start the third quarter. Their defensive intensity forced difficult shots and turnovers by Hopewell. The catalysts during this run were 2022 guards Corey Gaines and Kendall Smith. Both Gaines and Smith are tremendous on the defensive end. They set the tone as they pressure opposing ball handlers beyond half court. They create steals. They push the ball in transition. And most of all, they are extremely unselfish when it comes to passing the ball ahead or driving and kicking to the open man. Hopewell was able to respond and finished with their own 15-5 run to end the third quarter. Vance led 60-46 going into the fourth quarter.

In the fourth quarter, Vance was able to pull away. This time, Hopewell was unable to respond to the run. Vance ended up winning 81-58.

Stat Leaders for Vance
Daniel Sanford – 22 points, 4 rebounds, 1 block, 1 steal, 1 assist
Corey Gaines – 12 points, 4 assists, 3 steals, 2 rebounds
James Pearce – 12 points, 2 rebounds, 2 blocks
Maurio Hanson – 8 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists
Kendall Smith – 8 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists

Stat Leaders for Hopewell
Jordan McPhatter – 10 points, 6 assists, 3 rebounds
Antonio Perkins – 10 points, 2 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 assist
Travis Horne – 8 points
Thomas Jackson – 7 points, 2 steals
Jayden Smith – 6 points
Tyjae Haynes – 5 points, 6 rebounds

Daniel Sanford 6’7 2022 (Player of the Game)

While Daniel Sanford is one of the best players in the state, he is without question one of the most improved players as well. He has expanded his game and range, and has become an effective and versatile scoring threat from all levels. He is knocking down the three-point shot with consistency. He is able to get to the midrange. And yes, he still is an absolute grown man when it comes to attacking the basket. He is a physical driver. He attacks the offensive glass and creates second chance opportunities. Defensively, he is extremely versatile. He is athletic and mobile enough to guard anyone on the court. At the same time, he has a 7’2 wingspan and is strong enough to easily guard whomever in the post. Daniel Sanford’s stock is on the rise and don’t be surprised if more high major schools start knocking at his door.

Vance’s Balanced Backcourt

The backcourt play between 2022 Corey Gaines and 2022 Kendall Smith will play a vital role in Vance’s hopes at an I-Meck Conference Championship and ultimately their goal of winning the NCHSAA 4-A State Championship. These two guards are a pest on the defensive end. The lefty Gaines has the ability to knock down the perimeter shot, which opens up his ability to really create off of the bounce. He is ultra quick and can get into the paint. He gets into the paint and delivers beautiful drop off passes to his post players. Gaines does a great job of pushing the pace in transition. He really puts the pressure on opponents to get back, and if not, then it’s an easy basket for Vance.

Kendall Smith is another versatile guard for this Vance team. For a guard, he rebounds the ball well. And when he does, he pushes it. He is a tough cover in the open court. In the third quarter, he had a defensive rebound, took the ball coast to coast, then connected on a hanging finish to take the lead 55-31. He is able to create off of the bounce and either get all the way to the rim or stop and knock down the midrange pull-up with consistency as he drilled two pull-up jumpers last night.

Vance’s Promising Freshman

Write the name down. Maurio Hanson. Hanson is one of the promising young freshmen in the state. He is a 6’6 forward with incredible touch around the basket. He can go over either shoulder in the post. He is also capable of stepping out and knocking down the perimeter jumper forcing opponents to stretch their defense, opening up driving lanes for his teammates. He has really good instincts when it comes to rebounding the basketball. Expect him to have a promising career.

Hopewell’s Backcourt

The backcourt play between 2021 Jordan McPhatter and 2022 Antonio Perkins will carry much of the load this season for Hopewell. The 5’10 McPhatter is ultra quick with the ball in his hands. He does an incredible job of getting his teammates involved. He breaks defenders down, gets into the paint and can either finish with touch on floaters or drop off to post players or kick out to shooters. He plays well out of ball screens. He also is a threat from beyond the arc. Antonio Perkins adds scoring, size and versatility to this Hopewell team. He is a threat from beyond the arc and can get hot at any moment. He also has the strength to finish at the basket. But most importantly, he has a high IQ and will always make the team-first play.