Burlington Christian vs. Northside Christian
There was a lot of buzz in Burlington on Monday evening for the showdown between the hometown Royals and the Knights of Northside Christian Academy. NCA has been battletested multiple times throughout their early-season schedule, already matching up against high-level opponents on a frequent basis and working out the kinks while still maintaining a positive record (3-2 entering tonight). On the other side, BCA has generated more excitement surrounding their program than anyone could’ve predicted prior to this season, and for good reason, as they have a talented roster that maximizes their ability to gameplan (2-0 entering tonight).
NCA has a very intriguing roster that is simply overflowing with talent. They are headlined by a duo high-major prospects in Jalen Hood-Schifino and Jaden Seymour, but also have an additional handful of college-level guys throughout this roster. UNC-Pembroke commit Cortez Marion Holmes puts his imprint on nearly every possession, Glenn Bynum Jr. is the main floor-spacer, and Glenn Hubbard III is the glue that holds it all together. Those are the key cogs, but rest assured that this team can seamlessly vary their approach based on matchup—given their quality depth.
Meanwhile, BCA looks to harness and take advantage of their superior guard-play against most opponents, playing through scoring-machine Brock Williams and newly-integrated Jackeem Herbin, but also utilize wing Ryan Roberts and big man Collin Wilson on a very frequent basis. The rest of their bench fills out with guys that willingly embrace their role, providing great energy while being conservative and never forcing the action.
This game was very exciting from start to finish, BCA opened the game with intensity and were able to maintain an even score throughout the opening five to six minutes—which was a feat that few would’ve expected. There was plenty of sloppy play to open the game, resulting in numerous fouls and turnovers from both squads. NCA closed the quarter, leading 15-12. The second quarter began and erratic play continued, but the scoring battle between Brock Williams and Cortez Marion-Holmes ensued to finish the half, 38-31 advantage NCA. At this point, most of both teams points had come from transition play and free throws. Everyone seemed to come alive in the second half, allowing for the emergence of Jackeem Herbin and Ryan Roberts for BCA and the trio of Jalen Hood-Schifino, Jaden Seymour, and Glenn Bynum for NCA. It was a one to two possession game throughout the third quarter, but Collin Wilson entering foul trouble allowed Hood-Schifino and Seymour to work inside and attack the basket with less resistance, resulting in a 63-52 lead for NCA at the end of the third quarter. The following four minutes were exciting to watch, especially given the atmosphere, as these two squads absolutely battled. Ultimately, a few missed opportunities and late miscues led to the Royals downfall, as they were within one possession until the closing few minutes. NCA was simply too much to handle and pulled away during crunch time, winning 97-74 over BCA.
6’1 ’21 Brock Williams
It’s a common adage that the great scorers know how to get it done at the free-throw line, which was a big part of Williams approach tonight. He took a few risky shots in the midrange area, but has improved his overall efficiency as a shooter and highlighted that nicely tonight. Williams balanced his decision-making and shot-selection at a much more positive rate while applying constant scoring pressure and keeping turnovers down. He was very impressive on both sides of the ball tonight and set the tone with his defensive presence. Williams is a true competitor with heady instincts for locating the ball and forcing turnovers. Final stats: 35 points (12-14 FT), 3 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 steals.
6’2 ’20 Jackeem Herbin
Alongside Williams in the backcourt is Herbin, who is still somewhat of an under-the-radar prospect to most folks, but continues to solidify his status as a Division I prospect. He is already such an integral piece to this team and was able to produce extremely well throughout this contest. Herbin didn’t apply much pressure as a three-point shooter, but did just about everything else to make his presence felt on both ends of the floor. He led the team in rebounds from the guard position and continued to showcase that his most unique attributes are his vision and ability to finish with either hand around the basket. Final stats: 17 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals, and 1 block.
6’3 ’21 Ryan Roberts
The young guard is already contributing at a quality rate on both sides of the ball and appears to embrace competing at a high level against worthy opponents. He doesn’t force too much action, which allows him to maximize his role at all times. Roberts’ main role is as a spot-up threat, but he’s also capable of scoring around the basket and making plays for others on penetration attempts. His role is quite large, but he’ll be even more valuable as the season carries on. Final stats: 11 points, 3 assists, and 1 block.
6’6 ’20 Collin Wilson
Their lone big man made a noticeable impact throughout the first half, applying scoring pressure from the interior, banging for every possible rebound, and protecting the rim fairly well. Wilson closed-out nicely and was able to wall-up for most opposing drive attempts, but still found himself with five fouls early into the fourth quarter. Final stats: 8 points, 4 rebounds, and 1 block.
6’6 ’19 Cortez Marion-Holmes (UNC-Pembroke commit)
With so many young prospects on this roster, Marion-Holmes is often found to be the main leadership presence on the court. He’s a true dog that is ready to battle on every possession. Marion-Holmes is simply relentless for opponents to handle, as his breakneck motor tends to wear on all matchups after a few fights for rebounds. He was the most consistent performer on either team, with nearly identical numbers and the same approach from one half to the other. Pembroke got a steal with Marion-Holmes, especially given his defensive versatility and ability to impact the game alongside any group of teammates. Final stats: 23 points, 8 rebounds, and 1 steal.
6’4 ’22 Jalen Hood-Schifino
The freshman guard has taken on multiple challenges thus far and embraced them each with impressive poise for a player of his age. That being said, it was somewhat surprising to see him struggle in the first half, but credit must be given to his assignment (Williams) as an on-ball defender. Regardless, Hood-Schifino is a special talent and was certainly not going to be held down for long. He worked to be more assertive with the ball in his hands, both in transition and when attacking in the half-court, and it paid off, resulting in an abundance of free-throws. Hood-Schifino still maintained his unselfish approach and steady assist totals while cutting back on turnovers throughout the half. Every offer he holds is justified and it’ll be exciting to see just how dominant he can become. Final stats: 25 points (13-14 FT), 3 rebounds, and 6 assists.
6’7 ’20 Jaden Seymour
The big-time wing/forward prospect has gained an impressive amount of traction over the last year or so, and rightfully so, as he’s an extremely impactful player that is overflowing with long-term upside. Seymour was the best athlete in the gym tonight and it was clear, as he imposed his will countless times when attacking the basket and finishing above the rim. His combination of length, ball-skills, and athleticism makes him a very difficult assignment for most opponents. Seymour rebounded the ball very well and accumulated a ton of deflections from start to finish. His recruitment is the early stages of exploding, so it’ll be interesting to see how things unfold going forward. Final stats: 21 points, 8 rebounds, and 1 steal.
6’2 ’21 Glenn Hubbard III
Though most people didn’t realize, Hubbard quietly enjoyed a productive two-way showing—without having to step outside of his role or comfort zone. He’s a glue-guy that can do a little bit of everything and makes efficient use of his touches on offense. Hubbard made great decisions with the ball in his hands and provides this team with a steady presence on both ends of the floor. Final stats: 13 points (6-6 FT), 4 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1 steal.
6’2 ’21 Glenn Bynum Jr.
As previously mentioned, Bynum has a vital role as the only true floor-spacer or spot-up threat for this team. He was somewhat unheard of throughout the first half, but was able to make quite an impression on the final result. Bynum was able to score all of his points and grab most of his rebounds after the break. Final stats: 11 points and 4 rebounds.