BOYS BASKETBALL RECAP: Phiri, Benzan and Spellman Lead Balanced Effort in Worcester Academy’s Win
by Christian Schmidt for Mass Prep Stars
Last Saturday's matchup proved to be one filled with talent as the Redwings of Rivers School (5-4) fell to the Hilltoppers of Worcester (6-1) Academy by a final score of 81-60.
Worcester took control of the game early on as their defensive pressure was the key to their early lead. The Hilltoppers would capitalize on their defensive pressure with great play in transition, while Rivers would continue to fight, as they were led early on by the aggressiveness of 6-foot-0 combo guard Azar Swain '17.
Worcester would hold on to the lead in the second half. Swain and nationally-ranked 6-foot-5 wing Jermaine Samuels '17 would continue to score and keep Rivers afloat, but the dynamic play of Worcester would be too much for the Redwings.
Saul Phiri '16 - 6-foot-3 - Guard - Worcester Academy - Phiri (pictured below) showed his ability to dominate the game in a variety of ways as he displayed ability to attack the rim and finish with contact, his ability to finish above the rim, and his ability to make plays on the defensive end. The 6-foot-3 Haverhill, Mass. junior showed his unselfishness making plays for his teammates. Phiri continues to get mid-level Division 1 interest and is certainly a dynamic, improving talent.
Ben Marello '15 PG - 6-foot- 7 - Forward - Worcester Academy - Marello would continue his solid play this season, as the 6-foot-7 post-grad showed his range as well as his ability to finish plays inside. Marello finished the game with 14 points, ten of which came in the first half, as he was second in scoring for Worcester Academy. Marello will continue to be a player to watch on the prep circuit this season.
Patrick Benzan '15 PG 5-foot-11 - Guard - Worcester Academy - The former Roxbury Latin star and Holy Cross commit showed his ability to defend at a high level as well as his ability to see the floor and knock down open shots. Benzan would finish the game with 13 points.
Jeff Spellman '15 PG - 6-foot-2 - Guard - Worcester Academy - Spellman did not disappoint in his outing for Worcester as he was able to knock down from outside and finish with finesse at the rim. The 6'2 combo guard would finish with 12, nine of which coming in the first half. Spellman will continue to be a star NEPSAC player.
Azar Swain '17 - 6-foot-0 - Guard - Rivers School - Swain continued to show his ability to navigate through Worcester's tight defense, and showed impressive range with his 3-point shooting. He scored a game high 20 points and is proving to be one of the lead guards in New England this season.
Jermaine Samuels '17 - 6-foot-5 - Guard - Rivers School - Samuels scored 17 in the ball game, as the sophomore star showed grit in a game against high-level prep school competition. Samuels had an nice overall game scoring the basketball, as he continued to show his athleticism and ability to different ways to put points on the board. Samuels will continue to be a must see player for New England hoops fans as he climbs the National ranking boards.
Also playing well in the game: Kevin Marfo '16 - Worcester Academy, James Wells '16 - Worcester Academy, Jamari Venter '17 - Rivers
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