Looking back at the Page Pirates win over Smith last night:Pirates’ coach Evan Fancourt says, “court was in session”

It had the atmosphere of a playoff game, with all of the energy that was buzzing around the Mac Morris Gym last night, on the Page High School campus…This was just the first game of the season, but it felt like court was in full session, and Page boys basketball coach Evan Fancourt, gave us his impressions today, about how last night’s session went, as his Pirates slipped past the Smith Golden Eagles, 58-56…..
(We asked Coach Fancourt if he had time to talk a bit today, and he said “yes, it is a Snow Day”.)

Coach Fancourt said today that he is excited and happy after last night’s win, and he feels like his team is really just starting to scratch the surface…He said he saw a lot of good things last night, and that his team responded to the challenge, and they were fortunate to be able to pull out the victory, against a very good Smith Golden Eagles team…
(He also said it was nice to be playing again.)

Coach told us Smith had a great game plan and that Coach Derrick Partee, assistant coach Clarence Waddell, and assistant Irv Turner, really had a solid group/talented group of Eagles out there on the court last night…They may seem to be unknown to many, but some of my kids(Page) know them, and Smith is going to give a lot teams problems this year, since Smith is playing like a team, and they all are doing a very good job of fulfilling their roles…Fancourt said Smith guarded up on defense, and that Coach Partee did a great job of changing his defenses for the different situations…Smith knew Jaden Ellis well, and they knew we like to run a lot of action around him…Smith will surprise some people with their all-around team concept of basketball…They also run a lot of effective down screen and use a lot of dribble hand-off basketball out front with their guard people….This Smith team is much younger than your usual Smith teams, and they are going to be good in the future….

From the Page team and what about Josh Scovens from last night vs. Smith???
He worked extremely hard in the off-season and he went from the last man on the bench to a starter last season, and then in the off-season, he never stopped working….He works with Shawn Robinson, from the Triad Basketball Academy in the off-season, and that workout program has done wonders for him…He has been working out against older players all along, and he has never run away from the challenge…He works so hard to get better, he could end up becoming one of the best players in the state, and he will be a steal for some college….Josh has worked hard on it, and he has become a complete basketball player….Inside/Outside, he can go all over the floor…

How about Jaden Ellis???
Ellis is an Elite player and the Smith game wasn’t his best game, but he still found ways to contribute to the team effort, and lest we forget, he drove down the left baseline, and hit the game-winning shot….He ended up only scoring 14 points, but he did other things to help the team, and he was still the team leader….His three-pointer wasn’t falling, but he learned not to lean on that shot so much, and looked for other openings…He was in the gym at 3:40pm yesterday afternoon before the game, so he is always working on his shot, and it will come…Jaden is showing a lot of growth in his game, and he continues to get more and more mature as a basketball player, and that allows him to be the team leader we need, on offense and on defense….

Talk about Zion Conner and his game last night….
Did not have his best night, but he led the team in steals and had a number of good assists….He made some very good passes that set up his teammates for good shots….He lends value to our team, but he might be feeling some pressure to be a senior leader, and with this being his last year, he might be pressing and pushing a bit too hard….May need to step back and take a deep breath, as a lot of our coaches are calling on their kids to do right now…

Give us your thoughts on Mike Maxwell and his game???
Mike is not scared of the big moment…He has been with the varsity team, since his sophomore year and he has learned to break down the pressure defenses and he wants to be there and take the Big Shot….He can also facilitate….He delivered the pass, for the game-winning shot, by Jaden Ellis….

Tell us about Tyler McIntyre???
I had an epiphany about him last year….Just knew he was going to do something big…He came on strong for us last year, then he got hurt, and then he also got sick after the HAECO Tournament and in the end, he ended up tearing his ACL…At one time, it looked like he wouldn’t make it back, but he battled…COVID came along and that hurt his chances for Summer workouts, and when we began our Skill Development workouts, that is when he finally was able to come back and start working out again….He has a huge motor and he is really just starting to get it all back now…He always plays hard and he is a force on both the offensive and defensive glass…We have some great rebounding competitions going on with Josh Scovens, and Tyler McIntyre…The comp has great and it has been fun….

What has Grady Sherrill been bringing to the table for you???
We need him, he is small, but he will be big for us…..He is a natural passer, and he has that great court vision…He does a super job of initiating the offense…He can be such a plus for this Page Pirates team…He reminds me of Donald Moore Jr., who was here many years ago…Not a big body, but a big presence…Hoping we can get Donald Moore Jr. to mentor Grady Sherrill…He does a super job of breaking the press, and he knows where to go with his passes…Must get more confidence in his shot, and be ready to take that shot…

Give us your impressions on Malik Maberson???
He is just a sophomore, but he is a “Pit Bull”….Never backs down from a challenge, he relishes/enjoys the challenges…He is a great on-ball defender and picks up his relentless defense 94 feet…He makes his teammates around him better…He helps make practices better, because he his constantly challenging Jaden Ellis, Zion Conner, Mike Maxwell, and others…Our practices are tougher and more game-like, with him out their pushing his teammates…We want to find that level, where our practices are tougher than our games…

What do you say about Darryl Phifer???
He is an energy guy….He is never afraid, and he never gets scared…He loves the moment, and the tougher the moment, the better…He helped on defense vs. Smith…He might be the closest thing we have to the “Energizer Bunny”, on this Page Pirates team…

Tell us about Blake McGowan???
He shoots the ball well, he passes the ball well, and he has good size…We look for him to give us some key minutes, coming in off of the bench, this season…

That is the word from the court, from Page coach Evan Fancourt…The word we got coming in, on the Page players that played in last night’s game vs. the Smith Golden Eagles…Coach Fancourt also told us you don’t have to see that many BIGS any more…You need kids that might be big, but they also have to be athletic….They don’t have to be huge….Our guys, Scovens and McIntyre, are the right size, and they are the perfect fit….Big enough, but still very athletic…..These days teams are playing more small ball…Our kids are very dynamic and they know which way we need to go…

Next Up:Page(1-0) at Dudley(0-0) on Monday night, at 7:30pm….

*****We thank Coach Evan Fancourt, for his time today.*****