By Zak Wolf (@ZakWolf22)
WEST CHESTER — Cam Wallace likes to focus on the fundamentals of scoring. Scoring has become second nature to him because of doing things like “The Mikan Drill” every other day for the past eight years. Despite it being a simple drill, Wallace has utilized it to allow him to become a better finisher at the rim.
The fundamentals are the foundation for Wallace, who’s scoring ability continues to blossom with every game.
Wallace’s offensive arsenal was on full display in Westtown’s 71-59 win over Abington Friends in their Friends Schools League opener. The junior went scoreless in the first quarter, but finished with 28 points on 11-for-14 shooting while showing his versatile offensive game. Wallace made shots from all over the floor, knocking down two 3-pointers, but also doing plenty of damage in the paint as a driver.
Westtown junior Cameron Wallace scored 28 points in Wednesday's win over AFS. (Photo: Zak Wolf/CoBL)
After shining as a freshman with Great Valley, to step up his game Wallace transferred to Westtown last year as a sophomore. Wallace came off the bench at times last season, but after a year with the program, he’s Westtown’s go-to scorer. In year two with the Moose, Wallace has become more comfortable in everything he does, especially on the offensive end.
“I don't overthink it and I have the confidence to be myself on the court,” Wallace said. “I do what comes to my mind first and that’s always the best choice for me.”
Wallace had a strong summer playing on the Under Armour Association circuit with Philly Pride. Wallace picked up offers from local schools like Temple, Drexel, and St. Joes along with others like Saint Louis, Towson, Cincinnati and most recently Texas A&M.
Wallace showed on Wednesday why he’s garnering attention from those schools. Whenever Westtown needed a bucket they went to him. Multiple times he caught Abington Friends sleeping by attacking quickly down the floor after a made basket. Wallace made scoring look easy and was efficient in his work, missing just three shots. He had a stretch with eight made shots in a row.
With Abington Friends staying in a zone throughout the game, instead of placing Wallace around the perimeter, he was positioned in the middle. Wallace made smart decisions, scoring the ball from the high post and even at the dunker spot down low. Westtown head coach Seth Berger went as far as saying his team wouldn’t have won without Wallace’s performance.
“He’s such an elite scorer, honestly,” Westtown head coach Seth Berger said. “Cam can be in any number of spots and score the ball efficiently and effectively. Obviously, having that luxury allows us to win games. He has worked really hard in the last couple of years to become a more skilled offensive player as a ball handler and a shooter and his angles and that kind of stuff. But he's a super talented kid.”
One of Westtown’s top scorers Jayden Forsythye went down with a knee injury against the Phelps School on Dec. 15. Berger emphasized that with Forsythe out, Wallace needed to step up.
Wallace didn’t come out aggressive Wednesday, not attempting a shot in the first quarter as things stood tied 12-12 after one. However, he found his scoring touch in the second quarter when he scored 11 of Westtown’s 16 points, capped off by a deep 3-pointer from the right wing as the Moose took a six point lead into halftime.
A couple buckets from Wallace put the Moose up 41-29 in the third quarter and it looked like Westtown was cruising, but Abington Friends came storming back. Similar to Wallace, Abington junior Zamir Parker-Barnes scored from all over the floor, scoring 11 of his 28 points in the third quarter.
Twelve straight from the Kangaroos had the game tied with less than two minutes remaining in the third. Kamani Healey drained one of his two 3-pointers, giving AFS a brief one-point lead in the final seconds, before free throws from Jahmare Memphis put Westtown up, 45-44.
Needing points, Westtown went back to Wallace who delivered on drives to the basket, including a big and-one to extend his team's lead to six halfway through the fourth. Outside of one possession, Westtown led for the entire fourth quarter. Abington Friends didn’t go away, getting scrapy buckets, but every time they got close, Westtown had an answer.
After AFS cut it to four with three minutes left, Memphis (12 points) hit a big triple which ultimately proved to be the dagger. Daveyon Lydner knocked down his free throws down the stretch, scoring all of his eight points in the fourth, while Malik Rasul finished with nine points and 14 rebounds as Westtown held on for a win.
Despite the win, Berger is still looking for some consistency within his team as Westtown looks to get back on top in the Friends League after failing to win it for the first time since 2013.
“I think every kid expects it when they come to Westtown,” Berger said. “It's part of the reason they come here. They want the pressure of being a team that teams try to beat at the same time. The friends league this year is really tough. So there are a number of teams that could win the league.”
To win the league, Westtown is going to need its best players to show up and Wallace did that on Wednesday.
“I think last year in this game Cam would have kind of let down a little bit,” Berger said. “And today, he picked up his effort, and if he doesn't if he doesn't play like that we don’t win that game.”