Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)
If Sean Lloyd’s first game at The Haverford School was any indication, the Fords are going to be a very dangerous squad this season.
Lloyd, a sophomore guard who transferred from Franklin Learning Center this fall, had 18 points but was outscored by two of his teammates as Haverford rolled to a 72-41 win over visiting Shipley on Wednesday afternoon.
Levan “Shawn” Alston–another sophomore–scored 20 points for Haverford (1-0), as did junior wing Eric Anderson. The three scorers combined for seven 3-pointers, six of which came off assists in an impressive display of perimeter passing and unselfish play from a fairly young Fords squad.
“It’s the kinda kids they are,” Haverford coach Henry Fairfax told CoBL after the win. “They’re very unselfish kids, and it’s part of what it is that we’re interested in building as a staple-piece to this program. You gotta have the right kind of kids for your program and I think they all fit in well for what we’re doing.”
Fairfax certainly has three extremely talented scorers to work with, each of whom brings something different to the table. Lloyd, at 6-5, is a big-bodied scoring guard who can both shoot from distance and get into the lane and has already made quite an impression on his new coach.
“We haven’t seen the best of him,” Fairfax said after admitting he was “extremely pleased” with Lloyd’s play in his first game at the school. “I’ve been watching him in practice. he’s all over the place, he’s unselfish, he guards, he rebounds the ball, he’s a quick leaper, he’s intense, he’s a student of the game, he’s a great complement to us. He fits in really well, and as a sophomore he’s pretty scary.”
Another fairly scary sophomore is Alston, the son of Temple star Levan Alston. The younger Alston, who goes by Shawn, is making a transition to the point and looked the part on Wednesday night. He certainly got the biggest cheer of the night, on a steal and breakaway slam that electrified the 200-or-so Haverford students that made for a very nice home-court advantage.
“A 6-4 point guard looks good to me, especially one that’s gonna finish on a dunk, that’s fun,” Fairfax said. “We got three guys in the backcourt that can finish at the rim, so that’s pretty fun.”
Where Alston and Anderson, a sharpshooting 6-6 wing who’s learning how to play a little tougher and get into the lane a bit more, can really help Lloyd is by taking some of the pressure off him. Where he had the ball in his hands the majority of the time at FLC, now he’s just another option on a loaded Ford attack.
“Feeding me up on the perimeter, I can go to work more,” Lloyd said about how his teammates can help him out. “I don’t have to dribble the ball (or) have the ball in my hands the whole time.”
A 3-pointer by Shipley (0-3) junior wing Matt Rodden (team-high 14 points), off a nice look from Quamier Johnson (12 points) with under a second remaining on the clock, cut the Haverford lead to 27-23 at halftime after a back-and-forth first half that saw Haverford take lead by as many as eight but certainly didn’t hint at what was to occur over the final 16 minutes.
“We were talking about Floyd Mayweather and boxing and how the reason why he’s so effective is because he’s precise, he’s a defensive fighter,” Fairfax said about his halftime speech. “I thought we were swinging violently; I thought we were just taking really stupid shots and being over-aggressive defensively, we didn’t have to be.”
That boxing metaphor clearly got through.
Haverford outscored Shipley 21-5 in the third quarter, going on a key 13-0 run that spanned a good chunk of the quarter and turned a 35-26 advantage into a 48-26 rout. Alston, Lloyd and Anderson scored 42 consecutive points for Haverford between the second and fourth quarters.
“We talked a lot about the first three minutes of the third quarter, setting a tone,” Fairfax said. “As soon as they open themselves up for a blow, then we’re gonna give them a couple blows and we can knock them out, and next thing you know you’re up 30. That’s kinda how that goes.”
Rodden, a 6-6 junior wing, and the 6-3 sophomore Johnson were just about the only bright spots for Shipley. Johnson, who played his AAU ball this summer on a Team Philly team that featured Lloyd and Imhotep’s Basil Thompson, is a talented scorer who looks headed to at least the mid-major level in college.
“He’s one of the guys that I don’t have to tell before a game to play hard,” Shipley coach Phil D’Ambrosio said about Johnson. “He understands how this game works, you’re supposed to play it hard. He’s one of the guys I don’t have to send a message to, unfortunately other guys have still yet to get the message.”
The only D-I commit on the floor, Shipley’s Zac Tillman (Monmouth), had just four points and six rebounds as D’Ambrosio was often forced to play a smaller lineup to try and keep up with that talented Haverford backcourt.
What might be scariest of all for opponents is that, according to Fairfax, his players were telling him afterwards that the practices were tougher than the game.
“Our kids work really hard, they’re good kids, they listen,” he said. “So at the end of the day they end up putting a lot of pressure on us as coaches to teach them the right way, and I think if you have talented kids who are willing to learn, be students to the game–we talk about sponges and bricks all the time–then the end result is really a function of what it is that you do in terms of putting in the appropriate amount of preparation, and we work our tails off and I guess it showed up today.”
Haverford’s next game is Friday when they host Abington Friends; CoBL will see them on Sunday when they take on St. Benedict’s as part of the Kyle Lowry FamJuice Tip-Off Classic, at Philly U at 7:15. Shipley goes into action again on Friday when they host Strawberry Mansion as part of the Coaches vs. Cancer event.