This Saturday, Phenom Hoops is slated to travel to Carmel Christian in Charlotte, North Carolina for another terrific day of high school basketball. There are so many exciting stories and subplots throughout this upcoming event, but few that are more intriguing than the first evening matchup between Moravian Prep and Concord First Assembly. There’s no debating that these two teams are in the upper echelon of North Carolina basketball, especially given the talent within their respective rosters.
Moravian Prep has an abundance of talent on their team, but they don’t possess a remarkable amount of depth, like Concord First Assembly does. The guard matchups will be a huge indicator of how this contest will unfold. Kamari Scott has been quite successful and able to contribute on a regular basis, but Caleb Burgess will be the most proven and rugged guard on either team, so it’ll be interesting to see who CFA matches him against between Trae Beham, Isaac Boothe, and Eli Cupples, as they each offer something completely different. Boothe is the smallest of the group and typically initiates the offense, given his ability to offer a strong mix between scoring and playmaking. Benham is probably their most equipped player to contain Burgess, as he consistently plays with intensity and a chip on his shoulder. Meanwhile, Cupples is the glue-guy of this team that simply puts his head down and goes to work, showing a clear willingness to do anything to put his team in a winning position.
As much size and strength as Moravian has between Javarzia Belton and Omarion Jay, Concord First Assembly is one of the few teams that can matchup with their frontcourt through Peter Olatunji and Cheick Traore. It’s becoming increasingly clear that Belton is in the process of becoming a high-major player, if he hasn’t already done so, and should be a problem with his college-ready frame. On the other hand, Jay is a strong-bodied big man with surprising bounce and the ability to cause matchup problems on both ends of the floor. Additionally, they have Daniel Lobach, a scholarship-worthy forward that supplies shooting and toughness in abundance. Traore is the best option CFA will have for Belton, given his sheer size, and Olatunji moves well enough laterally to defend Jay. The interior battle could be more exciting than any other matchup, especially if this turns into a dunkfest.
However, it should be somewhat obvious that the most appealing matchup will be Josh Hall against Garrett Hien. By now, folks have a decent grasp of how dominant Hall is becoming, especially on offense, where he’s seemingly unstoppable. Few players are able to generate and consistently score like Hall, given his athleticism, reliable midrange pull-up, knockdown status from beyond the arc. After reclassifying, he’s quickly emerged as one of the hottest commodities in the region. That being said, Hien is arguably the most unique player in North Carolina, given his two-way versatility and ability to cause matchup problems for opponents. He’s incredibly underrated as a defender and possesses excellent footwork, but can also handle the ball and create offense from anywhere on the floor. It’s unlikely that he’ll be able to shut down Hall, since no one really has, but Hien will cause issues of his own—so it’ll make for an extremely fun matchup.