By Justin Shockley

On Friday night in Lenoir, NC two greater Hickory area teams from the Northwestern 3A-4A Conference faced off in a low scoring affair that saw Hibriten edge out previously undefeated St. Stephens 53-47. The Hibriten Panthers were able to secure their first win of the season with a second half rally comprised of stout defense and outstanding ball control. St. Stephens seemed out of synch most the night and had trouble scoring the ball in the second half. The third quarter was especially dreadful for the Indians who only scored five points in eight minutes of play. Players from both teams showed some promise and their skills could translate to playing at the college level.

Player Notes & Scouting Reports

St. Stephens Indians

Harrison Bowne, SF-PF, 6’5” (Senior)

The left handed senior, who was returning to action after missing time with a mild concussion, seemed sluggish at times throughout the game especially in the second half. Bowne has a tendency to trail during fast break opportunities, and even brings the ball up at times. Bowne has good ball handling skills for his size as well as good perimeter footwork and a nice first step to beat slower post players to the basket. Bowne finished the game with only ten points but showed some good vision when passing despite several close range misses by his teammates.

Bowne is bulky and has a strong lower body but has a tendency to pull up for short jumpers rather than beat and bang down low. Bowne’s intensity on defense needs improvement as he often seems nonchalant. When playing zone defense his block outs were questionable at best and he too often relied simply on his size to get rebounds. At the college level his defensive fundamentals will need to be better because his size will be less significant.

Andrew Zachrich, PG, 6’0” (Senior)

The Indians’ point guard is deceptively quick with great vision in transition. His ball handling skills were showcased throughout the night as he often dribbled easily around multiple defenders. An unselfish point guard is harder to come by in today’s game than one might think but Zachrich is a generous passer and facilitator of the offense. Zachrich has solid on ball defense skills and quick hands, stealing the ball several times from his opponent. The thin point guard needs to bulk up to be successful at the college level as well as work on his long range shooting consistency. Zachrich did show great consistency from mid-range and finished with 13 points.

Aaron Grier, SG, 6’3’’ (Senior)

Athletic, long, and very defensively active describe this shooting guard. Showed great intensity on defense and was especially effective in full court press defense as well as the 1-3-1 zone. Grier has a soft shooting touch and enough range to hit the three and was able to finish with 10 points. A quick first step helped him beat his defender to the basket several times. Grier needs to work on his ball handling and passing to be successful collegiately.

Hibriten Panthers

Michael Burgess, PG, 6’1” (Junior)

A shoot first point guard, Burgess had a weak first half but came on strong in the second half to lead all scorers with 19 points. Burgess has a quick first step but had several close range misses and needs to work on finishing in traffic. Burgess missed several opportunities to pass to open teammates in favor of creating his own shot, something that won’t fly at the next level. Burgess has the ability to hit the three point shot but needs to work on his off the ball movement to get open as well as on his overall consistency. While Burgess showed some flashes of excellence on defense, he was lazy at other times on defense so his intensity must improve.