Burlington Central's defense clamps down on Hampshire
If opposing teams haven't been already wary of him, Drew Scharnowski has effectively put them all on notice.
The 6-foot-7 Burlington Central senior forward and Belmont commit is apparently ready to be a matchup nightmare.
Scharnowski, who dropped 18 points and collected four rebounds in the Rockets' 46-30 victory over Hampshire on Wednesday, put on display a wide variety of what he can and will do moving forward.
From occasionally taking the ball as a point-forward, shooting 3s, dunking four steps off a deep inbound pass and exhibiting a towering defensive presence, Scharnowski's diversity in his game is ultimately Central's trump card against almost any given team.
"He's a unique player. If he continues to develop, Belmont won't be the last you see him play at," Central coach Brett Porto said. "He can do so many things at his size and athleticism, and we're still learning how to play with such a unique player, too. Your normal high school player isn't like that. Maybe at certain schools you could have more of those types of guys, but we're still learning how to throw the ball to certain spots.
"Normally, it might look like someone's not open, he actually is open. I think as the season goes we'll get better at that."
The Rockets (3-1, 1-0) graduated the core of its squad that reached a sectional final last season. Scharnowski, a three-year varsity player, may have deferred at points to Nick Carpenter, Zac Schmidt or Carson Seyller.
There's little debate this season, however, in knowing who will get the ball in a crunchtime moment or being the assertive force moving forward now.
"Either way, I just like to keep the same mindset of [being] the humble guy, put my head down and work," Scharnowski said. "If that's how I attack every game, you know there's going to be a good result."
Central senior guard Matthew Lemon saw Scharnowski's work all summer up close.
"Drew has put the most work in out of everyone I've ever seen," said Lemon, who had two points, four rebounds, two steals and drew a couple charges. "To see where he's put the work in going from freshman to sophomore [year], getting better sophomore to junior and now you can see him on the court. He's making highlight play after highlight play. It's really just amazing to play with him.
"I know, as the point guard of the team, as you can say, it's my job to get him to spots where he can [be effective]. Because it's hard for anyone when he's sitting at the top of the key and there's five guys staring at him. But, if you can find him on the reverse, looking to find him running the court -- because he runs the court faster than anyone else -- that really helps him [too]."
Beyond Scharnowski, though, the usual pressure defense by Central was on full display Wednesday. Hampshire (3-2, 0-1) was unable to generate much offense in the first half thanks to 14 first half turnovers.
The Rockets took a 21-9 lead at half and led 30-14 after three quarters. Rockets guard Nolan Milas had seven points, Nicholas Gouriotis had eight points and two rebounds and Jake Johnson had five points and three rebounds.
Hampshire was paced by Nick Louis' 11 points and four rebounds, Aman Adeshina had four points and five rebounds and Sam Ptak had three points and seven rebounds.
"[Our offensive struggles are] a credit to [Central]," Hampshire coach Mike Featherly said. "They came out and just pressured us. We just didn't handle it very well. Because we work on pressure in practice and I thought we were prepared but I'll take the blame. I guess we weren't. We just couldn't get anything going. Stuck in mud."