On Tuesday, Phenom Hoops traveled to Northwest Guilford to see the Vikings host the Grimsley Whirlies for a first-round playoff matchup. The previous two meetings between these teams went down to the closing minutes and were ultimately decided by a total of nine points. Grimsley entered this contest just under .500 on the season, but have a unique roster composition and are capable of competing with almost anyone. Meanwhile, Northwest is considered among the stronger teams in the triad and they possess two of the most dynamic prospects in the state. Both of these teams have enjoyed quality success this season, but one could argue that both squads will be even better next year–when their top players become seniors.
This contest opened up somewhat slow, but Northwest quickly established an early lead by working the ball inside and playing through Dean Reiber whenever possible. The Vikings had a clear size advantage and sought out to exploit it from the very beginning. On the other side, Grimsley showed quality patience and shared the ball willingly, but they were unable to really space the floor or create for themselves. The Whirlies had their most success in transition and when playing through two-way wing Ahmil Flowers. The Vikings secured the initial lead and never turned back, controlling this contest from start to finish and claiming a 61-41 victory over Grimsley.
6’1 ’20 Christian Hampton
The guard continues to solidify himself as one of the most well-rounded backcourt prospects in North Carolina. He has an incredibly hard-nosed (yet intelligent) approach to both sides of the ball. Hampton has been shooting the ball with unbelievably consistency from midrange and beyond the arc all season long, but had some minor shooting struggles in this contest. That being said, Hampton still scored at an efficient clip and was simply uncontainable when looking to attack the basket. His combination of motor, intensity, and athleticism is extremely overwhelming for most opponents. Hampton also has a legitimate argument as the best rebounding guard in the state, regardless of class. UNCG and East Carolina were standing baseline for Hampton. Final stats: 16 points, 11 rebounds, and 3 steals.
6’9 ’20 Dean Reiber
We’ve had the privilege of seeing Reiber as much as anyone this season, yet last night’s performance was arguably his most dominant showing of the year. He’s truly unstoppable when he believes that no one can stop him, which is what we saw last night. Reiber relentlessly attacked the rim and showed no fear of any opponent in his path along the way. His blend of skill and athleticism remains very impressive, as it causes an abundance of matchup problems for the opposition. Reiber showed the ability to finish with either hand and rebounded the ball exceptionally well on both sides of the ball. He’s already an excellent prospect, but there’s reason to believe that he’ll continue to develop and unlock even more upside. UNCG, Wofford, and East Carolina were all in for the big man. Final stats: 20 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 blocks.
6’0 ’20 Robbie Boulton
The point guard prospect probably doesn’t receive enough credit for the boost he provides this team on both sides of the ball. Boulton is the calm presence that this squad requires, as he reliably manages the game and looks to make plays as needed. He does a nice job of not forcing the action and playing conservatively on offense. Boulton is capable of knocking down jumpers, but typically looks to penetrate or work the give-and-go for easy layups. He’s also a scrappier defender than opponents tend to think. Final stats: 8 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block.
6’4 ’20 Ahmil Flowers
There’s plenty to like about the two-way wing/forward prospect, as he’s able to affect various facets of the game on a frequent basis. Flowers possesses nice size and understands how to utilize his length/athleticism quite well around the basket. He can attack the basket, handle the ball, outrebound his assignment, and make plays on defense. Flowers played limited minutes in the second half, but certainly showcased his abilities as a college-level prospect. Final stats: 8 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 blocks.
6’3 ’21 Daniel Cooper
Aside from Flowers, Cooper was easily the most productive all-around player for the Whirlies. As a sophomore, he stood out with his motor and ability to cause havoc on both ends of the floor. Cooper secured rebounds against bigger/stronger opponents and fought extremely hard on every single possession. Final stats: 6 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 1 steal.