Piedmont boys off to surprising start

Panthers understand how to use their post players
Dec. 07, 2012 @ 06:12 PM

 

This is probably the best boys basketball team we’ve seen at Piedmont High in more than a decade.
The Panthers, who have averaged roughly six wins over the past six seasons, are off to a 5-0 start following Thursday’s 49-36 home win over Parkwood.
The Panthers’ early success stems from their willingness to run the offense through their post players. It’s refreshing to see a team pound it in the post rather than live-and-die on the 3-point line.
Piedmont won by 13 points without making a 3-point shot on Thursday.
The Panthers are hard to guard because all five guys can score.
Brady Meggs, a 6-5 forward, is one of the best low-post scorers in Union County. A fourth-year starter averaging 17.4 points and 6.8 rebounds, Meggs has a lot of moves and finishes with both hands around the basket.
The Panthers also throw it in to 6-6 sophomore center Cameron Tripp, who averages 12.2 points and 9.8 rebounds. Tripp can play with his back to the basket, but also has a smooth mid-range jumper.
The unsung hero in Piedmont’s starting lineup is 6-3 junior small forward Eli Hyatt.
Hyatt isn’t a prolific scorer (4.6 ppg), but he ranks second on the team in assists (13) and blocks (6). Hyatt is Piedmont’s most versatile defender. He has the length to play around the basket, the foot quickness to stay in front of most guards and enough endurance to chase perimeter players.
Hyatt could score more if needed, but he shares the starting lineup with four scorers and doesn’t mind deferring.
Piedmont has a pair of bookend combo guards in 5-11 seniors Qualen Blakeney and Jeremy Anthony — both can handle the ball and attack the rim aggressively.
Blakeney, the primary point guard, leads the team in assists (24) and steals (13) in addition to scoring 10.8 ppg. Anthony is also a double-digit scorer (12.8 ppg).
Blakeney and Anthony give the Panthers excellent quickness in the backcourt, and both players understand the concept of inside-out basketball.

Developing depth
Piedmont has an impressive starting lineup, but needs to develop some scoring punch off the bench.
Through five games, Piedmont’s bench has scored a total of 20 points (4.0 per game).
In last Wednesday’s 76-69 win over Marvin Ridge, the Panthers nearly ran out of gas after building an 18-point lead.
Junior guard Austin Harding is the sixth man, and capable of scoring the ball.
Even after Harding finds his rhythm on the offensive end, Piedmont needs to bring along a couple more guys who can play with confidence off the bench.

Spartans will be ready
When Piedmont defeated Sun Valley (60-56) on Nov. 30, it sent shockwaves through Union County’s basketball community.
The Panthers have been down for many years, while Sun Valley is one of the county’s elite programs with a combined record of 85-39 since coach Keith Mason took over in 2007.
The Spartans started slow (0-2), but followed by winning three of four.
Sun Valley will be hungry for success on Tuesday, when the Panthers travel to Indian Trail for the rematch.

Odds and ends ...
... Piedmont’s boys need to show improvement at the foul line, and they did by making 7-of-10 attempts on Thursday. They entered the contest shooting just 53.1 percent from the line as a team (51-of-96).
... Weddington sophomore point guard Stephanie Watts has added Auburn to her list of scholarship offers, according to WHS coach Ryun Cook. Watts, who scored 50 in a game last week and followed it up witha quadruple double, also has offers from Virginia Tech, Virginia, Georgia Tech and Charlotte.
... Parkwood junior center Emry Tsitouris is averaging 21.8 points and 15 rebounds through the first four games of the season.


Thursday’s late box scores

Parkwood girls 61, Piedmont 53
Parkwood (4-0)
Maggie Smith 1 2-2 5, Kaci Coffey 2 6-6 10, Lillian Geehring 2 6-8 11, Lauren Brown 5 0-2 12, Emry Tsitouris 6 6-8 19, Katie Millican 1 0-0 2, Karly Millican 1 0-0 2. Totals 18 20-26 61.

Piedmont (1-4)
Caitlin Herlihy 2 0-0 5, Jessica Prince 3 0-0 9, Abbey Mills 2 2-4 7, Jackie Price 10 4-9 24, Sarah Wylie 0 1-2 1, Natalie Harris 1 0-0 2, Megan Widener 1 2-2 5, Maddie Morton 0 0-0 0, Brooke Kelly 0 0-0 0, Ashley Wilson 0 0-0 0, Megan Shew 0 0-0 0, Jessica Purser 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 9-17 53.

Parkwood^14^11^17^19 -  61
Piedmont^15^10^16^12 -  53

3-pointers: Parkwood 5 (Brown 2, Smith 1, Geehring 1, Tsitouris 1); Piedmont 6 (Prince 3, Mills 1, Herlihy 1, Widener 1). Rebounds: Parkwood 29 (Tsitouris 13, Geehring 6); Piedmont 42 (Price 15, Harris 9, Wylie 7). Assists: Parkwood 8 (Geehring 3); Piedmont 12 (Mills 6). Steals: Parkwood 11 (Geehring 5, Smith 3); Piedmont 6 (Prince 4). Blocks: Parkwood 1 (Brown 1); Piedmont 1 (Prince 1).

Piedmont boys 49, Parkwood 36
Parkwood (0-4)
Kenan Turpin 0 0-0 0, Sam Mobley 0 0-0 0, James Houston 1 0-3 2, Max Robinson 2 8-12 12, Grey Wyrick 3 0-2 9, Matt Williams 3 1-2 7, Jehon Black 2 2-2 6, Victor Thompson 0 0-0 0, Keelyn Lee 0 0-0 0. Totals 11 11-23 36.

Piedmont (5-0)
Qualen Blakeney 2 0-1 4, Jeremy Anthony 3 3-4 9, Cameron Tripp 4 2-2 10, Eli Hyatt 4 0-0 8, Brady Meggs 5 2-2 12, Andrew Wood 1 0-0 2, Austin Harding 1 0-1 2, Tyler Ivey 1 0-0 2, Tanner Stringer 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 7-10 49.

Parkwood^7^6^13^10  -  36
Piedmont^10^10^12^17  -  49

3-pointers: Parkwood 3 (Wyrick 3); Piedmont 0. Rebounds: Parkwood 30 (Houston 14, Williams 6); Piedmont 33 (Tripp 8, Hyatt 7, Meggs 7, Blakeney 5). Assists: Parkwood 6 (Houston 3); Piedmont 10 (Anthony 3, Hyatt 3). Steals: Parkwood 13 (Houston 3, Robinson 3); Piedmont 11 (Blakeney 3). Blocks: Parkwood 1 (Houston); Piedmont 1 (Meggs).