It was a packed house filled with two extremely passionate fan bases, both programs looking to keep playing into the spring.

Winston Salem, North Carolina– For the fourth time this season, WS Prep (19-8, 9-1) and East Surry (18-7, 6-4), squared off on the hardwood. Ws Prep had won two previous meetings, but East Surry claimed the most recent contest in the conference tourney.

Stephen Minor controlled the pace

5’11 2020 guard (unsigned senior), Stephen Minor absolutely set the tone. Minor controlled the tempo, the game was sloppy on both ends in the first quarter, Minor’s leadership and pace settled the offense down. Minor showed per usual he’s capable of running a team, he’s smart with the basketball, and Minor can get his own shot.

Minor along with the other pieces of the Phoenix backcourt pressured the Cardinals ball handlers into submission, at times East Surry struggled to get the ball past half court.

   Prep got a team effort

Offensively these guys moved the ball constantly, they played selfless, and made shots. 6’2 2021 TJ Mills led the group with 23 points. Mills was in attack mode from the tip, he came out on a mission. The Cardinals didn’t have anyone to stay in front of Mills, he got to the cup at will, and also stretched the defense behind the three-point line. Mills really got into a rhythm, 6’2 2022 Tim Davis and De6’3 2020 (unsigned senior), Angelo Lavalais gave this rotation productive minutes. Davis made one play that really stood out, he dropped a dime off for 6’7 2021 Zaire Patterson, who proceeded to flush it with two hands. Davis did a little bit of everything for the Phoenix, he scored some, tossed out a few helpers, and had active hands-on defense. Lavalais looked confident from three, he’s got nice length on the wing and a smooth shooting stroke.

Jefferson Boaz is also a division one level basketball prospect.

Boaz is a grown man in the paint, at 6’8 and a build like a tight end. Boaz understands how to use his body to control the block. Boaz has a soft touch around the rim, he can score with either hand, and he’s a tenacious rebounder. Boaz fought off double teams all night, he was a bit limited but Boaz showed ball skills, the offense can be run through him in the paint. Boaz has vision, he’s a gifted passer and he puts some zip on the ball.

Prep won the battle down low

6’7 2021 Zaire Patterson and 6’1 2022 Tyler Ledwell put in work last night, when I mentioned Boaz was limited, it was due to these two guys. Patterson and Ledwell suffocated Boaz every time he touched the ball, they made close looks at the basket tough without fouling. Patterson also had some momentum-changing plays, including a big, and one that ignited this team and brought some needed life in the gym. This duo was a key reason Prep won the battle in the paint and on the glass.

 Prep hot at the right time

Coach Gould and his staff have this Phoenix group firing on all cylinders, they are playing their best basketball at a perfect time. They’re extremely tough to beat at home, there is a lot of versatility in Prep’s lineup. It feels like this group has really bought in as a unit, and if the defensive intensity remains, the sky’s the limit for this group.