On Tuesday, Phenom Hoops traveled to Burlington, North Carolina for another evening of action-packed high school basketball between Walter Williams and Southern Guilford. This was a highly-anticipated matchup, as Williams just narrowly defeated Southern in their first meeting earlier this season. There are numerous similarities between these two teams, including their overall patience on offense and ability to push in transition. The Storm of Southern Guilford has mainly played through Julius Burch and Tyler Dearman this season, which has brought great success. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs of Williams hang their hat on the backcourt duo of Nasir Johnson and Kennedy Miles, who have been the clear leaders of this squad.
This contest opened up with Williams quickly establishing a lead and forcing Southern to scratch and claw their way back. Every time the Bulldogs appeared to be mounting a worthy lead, the Storm would hit multiple big shots and almost completely erase the deficit. Williams controlled the first half and entered the break with a 37-23 lead. However, after Southern utilized every second of halftime and seemed much more intense/competitive throughout the next two quarters, actually outscoring Williams (22-29) in the second half. The Storm nearly came back in crunch time, but the Bulldogs ultimately held them off by a score of 59-52.
6’3 ’19 Tyler Dearman
Typically known for his scoring, we saw Dearman take an impressive leadership role on both sides of the ball. He’s playing through a shoulder injury that requires surgery because of his clear desire to compete with his cohorts and accumulate offers for the next level. In this contest, Dearman displayed the ability to affect all facets of the game and was among Southern’s best all-around defenders. His rebounding was quite excellent, considering he’s not necessarily physically imposing. Guilford College watched courtside and they had to be pleased with the results. Final stats: 10 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal.
6’3 ’19 Julius Burch
The most versatile player on either team was Burch, causing headaches for opponents on defense and showcasing his ability to be a focal point on offense. He scored the ball fairly well, but his playmaking skills were simply on another level, as he led both teams in assists with relative ease. On the other side, Burch was (without question) the most well-rounded defensive player for either team and actively switched across four positions throughout this game. Roanoke and Guilford College were both in attendance for Burch, and he followed through, filling the stat sheet while playing the right way. Final stats: 9 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals.
6’1 ’19 Jimmy Cooper
The off-guard prospect played a massive part in Southern’s comeback attempt in the second half, canning a trio of three-pointers and forcing the opposition to account for him at all times. He scored the ball well throughout and was among the more consistent role players for the Storm. Final stats: 15 points and 1 steal.
6’2 ’19 Nasir Johnson
The long, wiry point guard simply understands the game and it was extremely evident throughout this showing. He scored as needed during the first half, but never forced the offensive action. Johnson provides his team with an incredibly calming presence, rarely having a miscue or lapse in judgment, and did a phenomenal job of managing this game. He has the ability to score on all three levels while being a lead playmaker, but is truly willing to do whatever is necessary to provide his team with an edge. College coaches should be looking into Johnson as we enter the final stages of the high school season. Final stats: 10 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1 steal.
6’0 ’20 Kennedy Miles
The junior point guard is certainly among the top prospects on this Williams squad, and that was fairly clear during this showing. He didn’t shoot the ball particularly well in the first half, however, Miles was able to effortlessly get by his assignment and utilizes his quickness/shiftiness quite well. That being said, he was very efficient in the second half and showed the ability to score from all over the floor. Miles also defends and rebounds at a strong level for his position. Final stats: 13 points, 5 rebounds, and 1 steal.
5’10 ’19 Rashaud Alston
As one of the shortest listed players on either team, it was simply unbelievable to watch Alston work the glass on both ends of the floor. He’s undersized, but so extremely strong and nimble for his size. Alston possesses great timing and instincts within the paint, as a rebounder, scorer, and passer. Final stats: 13 points, 14 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal.