La Salle HS senior Shane Holland (above) was one of several standouts at Monday's Pete & Jameer Nelson Classic. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)
The 2019 edition of the Pete & Jameer Nelson Play-By-Play Classic wrapped up on Monday, Dec. 30 with a sextuplet of games at Widener University’s Schwartz Athletic Center. There were Catholic League programs, some of the top District 1 squads, and a few private schools in action in the last of three days of games; click here for standouts from Day 1.
Here are several standouts from the final five of six games that day (sorry, St. Joe’s Prep & Penncrest fans, I wasn’t able to make that one):
Penncrest 49, St. Joe’s Prep 44
La Salle 38, Abington 35
Malvern Prep 62, Norristown 44
Bishop McDevitt 45, Germantown Academy 42
Cheltenham 63, Coatesville 56
Chester 58, Haverford School 55
Jhamir ‘Jig’ Brickus (2020/Coatesville)
Coatesville’s high-scoring senior guard surpassed the 2,000-point mark in a win on Saturday and kept it rolling on Monday, with 25 points in a losing effort. Brickus was an efficient 11-of-17 from the floor, missing his three 3-point attempts, and going 3-of-5 from the line. Brickus is an expert isolation driver and also benefited from the strong defensive presence of classmate DaPree Bryant (9 points/3 steals/3 assists), though he also got a few buckets off offensive rebounds, something he does pretty well for a 5-11 guard.
Spencer Cochran (2020/Malvern Prep)
With Bucknell commit Deuce Turner sidelined with a minor shoulder injury, someone had to step up in the scoring column, and his classmate Cochran answered the bell. Cochran got things going on the defensive end, with three steals in the first few minutes of the big win over Norristown, then found his shot in the second quarter, connecting for three 3-pointers to help him to 21 points. He finished with nine steals, constantly putting pressure on a Norristown backcourt that couldn’t handle the Prep’s press, and also chipped in five assists and three rebounds. Cochran said he’s been hearing from high-academic D-IIIs, naming Haverford College and Franklin & Marshall as two that were in contact.
Sean Emfinger (2020/Cheltenham)
Cheltenham, playing without star senior guard Zahree Harrison, has nonetheless been one of the top teams in District 1 6A thanks to performances like the one they got from Emlinger in the win over Coatesville. A 6-5, 175-pound senior wing forward, Emlinger was all over the court for the Panthers, finishing with 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting, including his only 3-point attempt, with eight rebounds and eight steals, plus two blocks, in perhaps the most complete performance of any player on the day (at least, that I saw). Emfinger is a skilled ‘4’ man who doesn’t try to do too much, but he’s a good rim-plunger who loves to get after it on the defensive end. A prep year is a possibility.
Shane Holland (2020/La Salle College HS)
In a low-scoring Explorers’ win, there might not have been any writeups had it not been for Holland’s game-ending heroics. First, the 5-11 senior guard was part of a four-teammate effort to force a crucial turnover with 70 seconds left, helping the Explorers cut a seven-point deficit to five. He had the assist on sophomore Nix Varano’s game-tying triple with 20 seconds left, and then came up with a steal in the final five seconds, picking an Abington player’s pocket, racing up the left sideline and pulling up from the wing for a buzzer-beating triple to give La Salle the three-point win. Holland finished with 13 points, three assists, two rebounds and two steals, shooting 5-of-9 from the floor, hitting all three of his 3-point attempts.
Jordan Longino (2021/Germantown Academy)
There was a reason that assistants from Maryland, Penn State and Saint Joseph’s showed up at Widener to watch the Patriots’ game, and it’s all because of their star junior wing. Longino wasn’t even at his most impressive on Monday, but he was far from bad, scoring 21 points on 7-of-18 shooting, including 3-of-10 from 3-point range. But even though McDevitt was throwing everything it had at GA defensively, Longino was still able to produce, even though he was forced to hit tough jumpers off the bounce; he also finished with five rebounds and two assists.
Akeem Taylor (2020/Chester)
A hard-nosed, 6-4 wing forward, Taylor was a problem for the Haverford School from 15 feet and in, where he bulldozed his way to 17 points, plus five rebounds, including four on the offensive end. Though he tied with teammate Karell Watkins for the team high, I opted on giving Taylor the writeup over his almost-equally-deserving teammate as Watkins benefitted from several Fareed Burton Jr. assists for easy layups, and some right-place, right-time foul shooting situations late, while Taylor seemed to get his own production by working his way to the hoop or on put-back attempts. If he’d made his foul shots (3-of-6) he’d have gotten himself to 20.
Honorable Mention: MJ Atkins (2020/Haverford School), DaPree Bryant (2020/Coatesville), Oreck Frazier (2021/Abington), Zach Genther (2021/Haverford School), Rahdir Hicks (2021/Malvern Prep), Jamil Manigo (2020/Bishop McDevitt), Matt McKenna (2020/Haverford School), Jaelen McGlone (2020/Cheltenham), Justin Moore (2022/Cheltenham), Fran Oschell (2021/Malvern Prep), John Proctor (2020/Coatesville), Robert Smith (2020/Bishop McDevitt), Tyler Seward (2021/Haverford School), Lacey Snowden (2021/Germantown Academy), Karell Watkins (2021/Chester)
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