By Justin Byerly
The atmosphere for the much anticipated match-up between Harding HS (Charlotte) and Olympic HS (Charlotte) was like a prize fight.
Coaches from Villanova (Jay Wright), College of Charleston (Bobby Cremins), NC State (Gottfried), Virginia Tech, Liberty University, High Point University and Clemson (Brad Brownell) were in the gym while the girl’s game was still going on. The temperature at Harding’s gymnasium was close to ninety degrees inside and Harding jumped out to a quick 6-2 lead with just over five minutes to go in the first quarter. Jarvis Haywood (a 6’4″, 180lb guard) who recently de-committed from Winthrop University, missed his first four shots of the game, but found Jalien Byers (2013) open in the corner for a three-pointer to make it 9-2 Harding with 4:59 to go in the first quarter. Sean Anthony (17 points) of Olympic sets the pace of play for the Trojans, if he is running and creating the offense seems to operate a lot better. Emmanuel Patton scored 7 points for Harding during that span. Olympic responded with a basket by Clemson commit Josh Smith (2012 6’8″ center) and a three pointer by ESPN #9 2013 Allerik Freeman to make the score 14-14 after one quarter. John Brown (2012) of Olympic almost took the twenty plus year old rim down with an attempted dunk near the end of the first, that got the Olympic side of the gym rowdy.
The second quarter featured Emmanuel Patton (2013 Harding) throwing down a nice dunk on one of Olympics’ defenders, to make the score 20-18 Harding HS with 3:44 to go in the first half. Afar a few traded baskets, Josh Smith got fouled on a made lay-up and made the extra shot, to make the score 27-21 at halftime with Harding leading (outscoring Olympic 13-7 in the quarter). Olympics’ Freeman (5 points in first half).
Jarvis Haywood (being recruited by Virginia Tech, Jacksonville University, College of Charleston) came alive, getting to the basket with his nice crossover and change of direction almost at ease. Allerik Freeman, as he has done time and time again this year, also got hot in the third. After a John Brown dunk and Sean Anthony lay-up for Olympic to make it 31-27 Harding with lead, Allerik hit a half-runner from six feet off the glass to make it 31-29 with 4:38 to go in the third. Josh Smith tied it up for Olympic with a rebound and put-back, 31 all. Allerik would knock down another three to match his output in the first half. Olympic got a break on a blocking call on Harding’s Aaron Linton (2013) as John Brown was driving to the basket and the score 38-35 Harding with the lead. Freeman would use a stutter step-crossover-step back move to create separation and knock down another three to make it 38 all with just over forty seconds to go in third quarter.
Patton would get a break-away dunk mid-way through the fourth quarter to put Harding up 54-52, Josh Smith responded with a lay-up to tie it up at 54 with 3:33 remaining in fourth quarter. After a Harding turnover Sean Anthony of Olympic gets blocking call while going to the basket, goes to the line and misses first shot but makes second to make it 55-54 Olympic with 2:56 remaining. An Emanuel Patton runner in the lane makes the gets Harding within 2 at 58-56. Another costly turnover for Harding gives Anthony a lay-up to make it a four point game with just over two minutes to play. Jarvis Haywood gets to the basket again for a lay-up to make it 58-60 Olympic still leading. Olympic finds Freeman open for a jumper, he misses it on a nice look and Harding with the rebound. Haywood takes it in for a nice turn-around jumper to make it 6o all. On Olympics’ next trip down the floor, on a great entry pass to Josh Smith, he scores and gets fouled (making the free throw) to make it a 63-60 game with just under a minute left.
After a quick shot from Harding, Olympic gets the rebound and calls timeout with forty-two seconds remaining. Olympic tries to run the clock out but Sean Anthony is fouled (could have had around 24, if FT’s fell) who misses the front end of a 1& 1 allowing Harding to get the rebound with 29.4 seconds remaining in the game and call timeout. After the timeout, Jarvis Haywood takes the ball up and goes to the basket with a nice move and basket to make the score, 62-63 Olympic still leading. Harding fouls Olympics’ Brown who misses the 1&1 and 6.4 seconds remaining in the game. Harding calls timeout, inbounds the ball and is fouled with 2.3 seconds to go. Olympic had a foul to give and with 2.3 seconds to go inbound to Jarvis Haywood, who dribbled to baseline and just misses the game winner and Olympic gets out alive in MEGA 7 Conference play.
Sean Anthony 5’9″ PG Olympic HS- 17 points in win. Super quick guard, who has a great ability to finish in the lane and seems to make good decisions when under defensive pressure. Olympics’ meter stick for how they are playing, Anthony plays well, Olympic usually does.
Allerik Freeman 6’4 190 G Olympic HS- Scored 14 points, did not take many shots during the game in first half, but then in the second half showed why he is ranked so high by many publications, by knocking down the open shot and creating off the dribble with his size. By far the most muscular kid in the gym. Has a great cross-over, that will the defender and allow separation for him to get a clean shot off.
Josh Smith 6’8″ 260 C Olympic- Scored 12 points, all in the paint. Very good free throw shooter also. Made the big free throws when he was put on the line. He has a nice post game, with great up and under move that he has almost perfected. He is a solid rebounder also, as I had him with close to 8 rebounds.
Trey Mitchell 6’4″ 170 Olympic- Scored 6 points, but were the biggest shots of the game. Knocked down two three pointers when Olympic really needed them and when you thought Harding might be smelling the upset.
John Brown 6’4″ 175 Olympic- Scored 8 points, but by far the most athletic kid on the floor, can just flat-out jump out of the gym and does so effortlessly. Good defender who can alter shots with his leaping ability.
Jarvis Haywood 6’4″ 175 Harding- A solid all around work horse. I had him for 26 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists. This kid makes plays, he didn’t start out great, but he keep working and working and the game finally came to him. He can get to the basket with ease, even against a very strong defending team like Olympic. He is definitely a Davison One basketball player. Had a great look at the end for the win that would have had all 8 D1 coaches in the building offering him a ride.
Emmanuel Patton 6’7″ 185 Harding- If not just as athletic as Olympics’ Brown, he is right behind him. Patton can get to the rim with his leaping ability and is great from about 8-10 ft from the basket. Not a great shooter, but can rebound, run and score in the post with his athleticism with the best of them. Scored 19 points.
Steven Burrough- Scored 8 points in the game, but with his size, is a factor for most of the teams in the MEGA 7 conference. He gets to the basket, makes good defensive plays and should only get better over the next year and a half.
A few highlights: