As a player, Jason Harmon got a glimpse of greatness when his Lexington High team faced Kobe Bryant in the 1995 Beach Ball Classic.
More than two decades later, the Northside Christian coach witnessed another highly-touted high school star when his Crusaders faced Spartanburg Day’s Zion Williamson on Saturday.
Williamson delivered another show-stopping performance with a double-double as the defending state champions defeated Northside 75-37 in the first round of the SCISA 2A playoffs at the Sumter Civic Center.
Spartanburg Day (26-6) advances to play Pee Dee Academy on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.
“When we played Kobe, he was the No. 1 player in the country. Kobe was a great shooter, especially,” said Harmon, whose Lexington team lost to Lower Merion 76-70, but went on to win the state title that year. “Zion is so physically dominant and can impose his will on people. And the power and velocity he plays with is something you aren’t used to seeing.
“We knew what to expect. We talked to a lot of people and saw the highlights. He is definitely something special, not just him, but other players on their team.”
Northside Christian, which had seven freshmen on the roster, finished the season with a 14-8 record. It’s the first time in the four-year history of the school the Crusaders made the postseason and something Harmon said the team can build on in the future. Playing against Williamson, one of the top prospects in the Class of 2018, is a memory the team will remember.
Trenton Jordan definitely had his memorable moment against Williamson at the beginning of the game. The 5-foot-7 freshman was assigned to jump in the opening tip-off against the 6-8 Williamson, who easily won the grab.
“I was standing there looking up at him, so it was pretty cool,” Jordan said.
Williamson was dominant, posting 38 points, 11 rebounds and four steals. The Griffins scored the first 15 points of the game.
Chandler Lindsey added 18 points and the Griffins had 21 steals in the game, which used a running clock in the fourth quarter.
Spartanburg Day (26-6) is in search of its second SCISA 2A title, but Williamson and the team’s popularity has swelled the past several months.
Fans hung on Williamson’s every move, with phones and cameras out to capture one of his 10 dunks during the game. The junior didn’t play the fourth quarter with the game out of reach.
After the game, Williamson spent more than 30 minutes signing autographs and taking pictures with fans and even got a prom proposal.
“We are the defending champs and everyone is looking to end our season so we had to go out there, play every game like it is the championship game and handle our business,” Williamson said.
NC: Jordan 2, Chiarel 7, Camp 6, Walker 6, Powell 1, Nathaniel Smith 13. SD: Zion Williamson 38, Chandler Lindsey 18, Tracy 8, Richardson 3, Lian 4, Henderson 2, Hannah 2.