Garrett Miley (@GWMiley)
In the opening round to determine who the best graduating class of players in the city are, the 2016’s took on the 2018’s before this year’s class, the 2015’s, took on the 2017’s at Imhotep Charter.
With the 2015 and 2016 classes moving on to the finals, they'll play on Wednesday night in the finals at Imhotep Charter following the 2017 vs. 2018 game.
Here’s a quick look at each game, and then some more info on the action:
2016s vs. 2018s
In the opening game of the semifinals, the 2016’s held off a late second half rally by the young 2018’s and came out with a 93-81 victory. Led by Justin Anderson from Springside Chestnut Hill (nine points) and guard Tyree Pickron from Archbishop Wood (16 points), the 2018’s were able to get within four of the 2016’s with under five minutes remaining. But, it wasn’t enough to keep the talented group of 2016’s from reaching the final. The rising seniors were paced by future Roman Catholic teammates Lamar Stevens and Nazeer Bostick, who finished with 21 points and 19 points, respectively.
Archbishop Carroll’s Josh Sharkey had nine first half points and was the 2016’s primary offensive playmaker, finding his teammates cutting through the lane for easy baskets. Neumann-Goretti’s Zane Martin had an explosive first half for his team, scoring 13 points before the intermission and then handing the keys over to Stevens and Bostick in the second half of play.
2015s vs. 2017s
The second game of the night was dominated inside by the graduates. Penn State bound Mike Watkins (Phelps School) and future UNLV Rebel Derrick Jones (Archbishop Carroll) threw down thunderous dunk after thunderous dunk, exposing the lack of size on the 2017 team roster. The trio of Watkins, Jones, and Samir Doughty (Math, Civics & Sciences) scored 21 points apiece, while Shawn Witherspoon (La Salle HS) and Sean Lloyd (Mt. Zion Prep) each contributed 11 points in team 2015’s 94-85 win over the 2017’s.
Playing on his home court, Daron Russell led team 2017 with 21 points, 14 of which came in the second half of play. His teammate next season at Imhotep, Koby Thomas, scored 10 first-half points and finished with 14 in the loss.
Justin Anderson looking forward to his sophomore season
After finishing a very impressive freshman year at Springside-Chestnut Hill Academy, Justin Anderson (pictured above, at last weekend's Mid-Atlantic regionals) is now running with Team Final for the summer AAU circuit. And while tonight’s rosters were packed with talented players from the city, Anderson felt right at home on the court with his classmates.
“I’ve played with most of them,” Anderson said. “I mean Marcus [Little] and Cameron [Reddish], we play on an AAU team and other players I’ve played with in recreation leagues and stuff.”
The 6-foot-2 guard/forward got to play big varsity minutes as a freshman, something Anderson had a lot of fun with, Anderson quickly became his team’s go-to option offensively. He led Springside Chestnut Hill in scoring with 12.2 points per game in league play, good for seventh in the Inter-Ac.
After finishing 7-20 overall in 2014-15 and mustering just one Inter-Ac victory, Anderson and his teammates are hoping for a big season in the Inter-Ac this winter. Former league MVP Tim Guers and Colgate-bound Sam Lindgren are gone from Germantown Academy, and Haverford School has lost its best four players (including a trio of high-major Division I recruits), so the league is certainly going to have a different look in 2015-16.
“I feel like we can be one of the top teams in the Inter-Ac,” Anderson said. “We’ve got a good core group of guys and I feel like we could do something with that.”
His teammate and fellow freshman Sean Simon is another big piece of Springside Chestnut Hill’s puzzle. Simon averaged 8.2 ppg in his freshman campaign alongside Anderson.
Anderson, as a part of that core, is working on taking his game to the next level for his sophomore season.
“I like to play the wing spot so I can get my shots up and then maybe dunk on some people,” he said. “I’m working on my pull-up game right now. Little 15-footers and stuff like that.”
Nick Alikakos healthy and drawing interest
After suffering for much of the spring with mono that kept him on the sideline, Episcopal forward Nick Alikakos is finally nearing 100 percent again after being cleared to play in early April.
“I’m probably like 90 percent right now,” Alikakos said. “We are going to Houston this weekend so I’m hoping to be 100 percent by then. I’m just doing a lot of conditioning work and trying to get my strength and athleticism back.”
Though he has not been able to play much in the spring, Alikakos looked far from rusty in the Clash of the Classes. He scored eight points on four easy baskets, and was faced with the tall task of checking 2015 forward and Penn State bound Mike Watkins.
Playing on Team Final, Alikakos has gotten some great experience even in his limited exposure in the EYBL this spring.
“In the EYBL you obviously play against the best competition, and I feel like I’m playing well against them and still doing my thing,” he said. “Especially because when I played three weeks ago I was probably like 75 percent. But the competition is really good.”
Coming off of an impressive Inter-Ac season where he scored 19.0 points per game, second to just Haverford’s Lamar Stevens, and led Episcopal to an 8-2 record in the league Alikakos is priming himself for perhaps the most important year of his high school career. In preparation for next season at Episcopal, Alikakos said he is working on his athleticism, defense, and “just polishing my game overall.”
Episcopal should once again be a team atop the Inter-Ac standings next season as they return their top two scorers from last season in Alikakos and rising senior Matt Woods, who averaged 10.8 ppg in league play last season.
The 2017 forward also said that he has drawn interest from Iowa, Temple, Princeton, Penn, Penn State, Stanford, and Virginia Tech.
--Per usual, Derrick Jones was a human highlight reel scoring 21 points all inside the paint. In the first half, he threw down a thunderous between-the-legs dunk on a fastbreak that sent the crowd in an uproar. And then finally, while it didn’t count, with time running out in the second half of play, Jones threw the ball off of the wall behind the hoop at Imhotep and caught it with one hand and slammed it as time expired.
--A young big man that is turning many heads after his freshman season is Academy New Church’s Marcus Littles. "Littles” is anything but that. He stands at 6-foot-8 and 240 pounds as just a rising sophomore and is a presence in the paint. He stands his ground on defense, something Josh Sharkey and the rest of the 2016’s got to witness first hand as he blocked and altered shots at the rim.
--Former Mastery Charter North wing Koby Thomas was one of the most impressive players in the first half of the 2015-2017 game. He scored 10 points to lead the 2017 team and finished with 14 in the game, making some of the most impressive plays of the night. Thomas, who will play for Imhotep next season, was on the receiving end of a three-quarters court alley-oop and finished a few other times through traffic at the rim.
Tag(s): Home High School Recruiting Catholic League Public League South Jersey Recruiting HQ 2016 Profiles 2017 Profiles 2018 Profiles Nazeer Bostick Garrett Miley Josh Sharkey Nick Alikakos Daron Russell District 1 Inter-Ac Zane Martin D'Andre Vilmar Tyree Pickron Koby Thomas Justin Anderson