In a Saturday afternoon matchup, Phenom Hoops traveled to Raleigh to see Trinity Academy (11-1) host Wayne Country Day (22-2) for the NCISAA 2A State Quarterfinals. The winner would advance to the state semifinals. We were in for a treat.
Both teams came into the matchup averaging 79 points per game, so it was expected to be a high scoring back and forth game. For the first quarter and a half, it was back and forth with multiple lead changes.
Senior Tyler Gill and junior Sam Perez led the way early for Trinity Academy. Gill was pushing the pace, attacking the basket, and knocking down the midrange pull-up jumper. Perez was rebounding the ball, creating for teammates with his passing ability, and scoring from all areas of the court.
Wayne Country Day went on a tear late in the second quarter behind Jordan Cooper’s hot shooting and Jaden Cooper’s playmaking abilities on both sides of the basketball. Wayne Country Day took control fo the game and led 46-36 going into halftime.
In the second half, Trinity’s Noah Ross came out more aggressive, creating off the bounce, attacking the basket, and crashing the offensive glass. He scored 12 of his 18 points in the second half.
However, every time that Trinity tried to make a run, Wayne Country Day would answer. Wayne Country Day’s balanced attack was key in this game. Their four guards of Jaden Cooper, Mike Best, Jordan Cooper, and Carlos Raven all scored in double digits.
Another key factor in the game was the hot free throw shooting from Wayne Country Day, going 23-27 as a team. Late in the fourth quarter when Trinity had to foul to extend the game, Wayne Country Day made sure to knock down their free throws, preventing Trinity from making a late fourth quarter comeback.
Wayne Country Day – 84
Trinity Academy – 75
Player of the Game: 2023 Jordan Cooper
Sophomore Jordan Cooper stole the show. Early in his high school career, he may have been referred to as Jaden’s little brother. But one thing is for certain, Jordan is making a name for himself! Jordan finished the game with 24 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, and 2 steals. He is fearless. For an underclassman, the stage isn’t too big for Jordan. He impacted the game on both sides of the basketball. Defensively, he checked into the game and immediately pressured the opposing team’s ball handlers, forcing turnovers and making things difficult on them. That set the tone. That energy carried over to the offensive side of the ball. He simply lit it up with his shooting ability, knocking down six three-pointers in the game. He was a big part of the second quarter run for Wayne Country Day. He was making deep three-pointers off the catch. Once he got going, he wasn’t afraid to pull-up off the bounce, burying a deep one in transition late in the second quarter. In addition to his shooting ability, he attacked the basket strong and created fouls. This young man has a bright future ahead of him. Write his name down. He is one to keep an eye out for in the loaded 2023 class.
Final Stats: Wayne Country Day
Jordan Cooper – 24 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals
Mike Best – 15 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block
Jaden Cooper – 13 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 blocks
Carlos Raven – 11 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists
Dre Ervin – 9 points, 6 rebounds
Vante Hutcherson – 6 points, 3 rebounds, 1 block
Final Stats: Trinity Academy
Noah Ross – 18 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal
Sam Perez – 18 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists
Tyler Gill – 13 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists
Zach Sloan – 9 points
Jakwon Moore – 8 points, 4 rebounds, 2 blocks
Kevon Vanderhorst – 7 points
Timothy Robinson – 4 points, 2 rebounds