On Thursday, Phenom Hoops traveled to the edge of Browns Summit, North Carolina, where Piedmont Classical was set to kick off their season against the reigning 1A runner-up in Henderson Collegiate. It was a matchup made in heaven, since both teams truly embrace playing the best possible opponents and have the talent to compete with any program in the state. There’s no love lost between these two, which only furthered the intensity level. 

This contest tipped-off later than expected, but Piedmont Classical’s gym had already been filled to the brim for hours. As soon as the first possession took place, the officials made a clear point to control the pace of this game. However, the officiating was horrendous both ways, so no one actually benefitted. Piedmont Classical quickly established a double-digit lead and never looked back. It was a legitimate group effort, but Henderson Collegiate wasn’t about to roll over and just hand this game to Piedmont Classical. The Pride continually improved as the game carried on, but so did the Bobcats, leading to an 86-67 victory for Piedmont Classical. 

Piedmont Classical:

6’8 ’20 Evan Joyner

Anyone who attended this contest knows how valuable the NC A&T commit was, especially at the start. The opposition simply had no one that could matchup with his combination of size, skill, and athleticism, which allowed him to touch the paint and finish at the rim whenever he desired. Joyner handled the ball, made plays in transition, and was a defensive dynamo from start to finish. He was definitely the most versatile player on the floor and should continue to be an incredible piece at the next level. Final stats: 16 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 5 steals, and 2 blocks.

5’11 ’20 Qualeem Poindexter

Arguably the most consistent offensive force from start to finish, Poindexter had his fingerprints all over this contest. The lefty is a noted three-point shooter that can apply incredible pressure as a spot-up threat, but also showed his ability to attack the basket and convert opportunities at the free-throw line. Poindexter defended very well and jumped into the passing lanes with regularity on that end of the floor. He’s could be an asset for a program at the next level, especially with his shooting prowess. Final stats: 24 points (4 3PM) and 4 steals. 

6’4 ’20 Trent McIntyre

Regardless of context or setting, McIntyre simply knows how to do a strong amount of everything and this contest was no different. His ability to play with or without the ball is extremely vital, as it allows him to prioritize and place emphasis on various facets of the game while still setting the tone on both ends of the floor. McIntyre handles the ball, creates with ease, makes intelligent decisions, and really knows how to dig deep defensively. His IQ, grit, intensity, and all-around skillset will make him very coveted for a plethora of programs at the next level. Final stats: 10 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 steals. 

6’1 ’21 Jamarii Thomas

There was a ton of anticipation surrounding Thomas’ first real game with this new-look Piedmont Classical squad. Unfortunately, he was the main victim of the lackluster officiating and forced to spend most of his time on the bench. That being said, his approach never wavered. Thomas’ toughness, aggressiveness, and two-way leadership still bled through, even if it didn’t necessarily show up in the stat sheet. He touches the paint at will, displaying vision, strength, and above-the-rim finishing ability at an impressive rate. Final stats: 10 points and 2 steals. 

6’5 ’22 Amare Miller

Despite being the youngest player on this roster, Miller played a vital role for Piedmont Classical on both sides of the ball. He’s big, strong, and knows how to maximize his presence without requiring offensive touches. Miller utilizes his body extremely well around the paint to clear out space and simply outwork opponents for extra possessions. He directly converted every single offensive rebound into second-chance points but was another guy that had some foul trouble. Final stats: 12 points and 6 rebounds. 

6’4 ’20 Jalen Joiner

There has been some roster overhaul with this group over the last few seasons, but Joiner has felt like the main constant in the equation. He’s maintained much of his foundation as a player, but has continued to look even more comfortable within his role. Joiner is long, athletic, and plays with a terrific motor on both ends of the floor. He’s a clear asset on defense and in transition, where he’s able to secure rebounds/force turnovers and immediately push the break. Final stats: 12 points. 

Henderson Collegiate

6’4 ’20 Kalib Matthews

There were a ton of standout performers, but none quite to the Matthew’s level of dominance. He was the most consistent offensive force for either team, piling on points from all three levels and doing legitimately everything possible to keep his team in the game. With Queens in attendance, they had to be pleased with his resilience and ability to rise up when things began to look grim. Matthews scored in a variety of ways, but also displayed terrific defensive and rebounding prowess from start to finish. Final stats: 29 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, and 1 block. 

6’3 ’21 Javonte Waverly 

The Thomas/Waverly matchup didn’t get a lot of time to really take place, but Waverly still had plenty of positive moments throughout this contest. He wasn’t able to do his typical masterful artistry as a playmaker, but that was largely due to the incredibly slow pace and how Piedmont Classical chose to set up defensively. That being said, Waverly scored the ball at a pretty reliable rate and was still able to touch the paint at a nonstop rate. He’s going to be excellent as the season continues. Final stats: 15 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block, and 1 steal.

6’3 ’21 Nick Green

While a lot of the Henderson Collegiate focus gets placed on the Matthews/Waverly combo, Green is another piece that can really cause damage as a shot-maker. He’s an excellent three-point shooter but didn’t find his footing until the second half of this contest. Green will become more important as the season carries along. Final stats: 13 points (4 3PM) and 5 rebounds.