George Sapp has scored wherever he has been given the opportunity to play basketball.
He was filling up the nets when he played at Paul VI High School as a freshman. Ditto for his sophomore year at St. Augustine Prep. Sapp continued his development into a prolific scorer while at Trenton Catholic during his junior year.
So when Sapp, who transferred to Timber Creek last April, laced up his shoes as a member of the Chargers, it came as a little surprise that he instantly became the team's leading scorer.
Sapp has lightning-fast feet, a wicked crossover and a step-back jumper that seems to have no end to its range. Yet all of those attributes don’t mean much to Sapp on nights like Thursday. The fact that he netted a game-high 25 points, including hitting his first four shots in the Chargers’ 63-50 Olympic Conference loss to Cherry Hill West, was meaningless to Sapp
“Right now none of that matters,” Sapp said. “So what if I came out hot? We still lost the game. All I think about is wins. We want to win games and we didn’t get that today, so points and shots don’t even matter.”
Timber Creek (5-4) looked like it was on its way to a victory when Sapp scored 10 points in the first quarter, helping the team open up a 21-16 lead. The advantage expanded to nine with 6:20 left in the third quarter before the Lions went on a 38-16 run the rest of the way.
Timber Creek head coach Rich Bolds said the team relied too much on jump shots and fell helpless when they stopped going in.
“At halftime I told them that they were getting too happy with the jump shots,” Bolds said. “I told them the jump shots would stop falling so they would have to go to something else. There was an instance in the third quarter where we shot an ill-advised three that missed and they came down and scored a basket. That’s where the game was lost. We had a six-point lead and we took a quick shot, and they scored a basket on the other end. That changed the whole momentum of the game.”
When the shots stopped falling, the Chargers’ defensive intensity seemed to drop as well.
“We came out strong and we came out playing D and in the second half we just stopped playing D,” Sapp said. “We have to be strong on D all four quarters because defense wins games.”
Despite the loss, Timber Creek still has plenty going for it. Sapp has taken to his fourth system in as many years and is happy to share the rock.
“It’s a good system,” Sapp said. “It’s open and everybody has the freedom to do what they need to do. Right now we still have to work on our defense and we have to get the ball down to our big men more too.”
Two of the big men Timber Creek hopes will carry them down the stretch have yet to play a game. Paul VI transfer Sameen Swint, who stands 6-foot-3, will be eligible to play next week, while senior forward Dominique Reid, who goes 6-foot-7 and averaged 20.1 points a game last season, will remain out with a knee injury for another month, Bolds said.
Bolds said his team needs to show a sense of urgency in the present and not rely on a strong finish when the seniors return. Sapp agreed, but is also looking forward to the day when the team has its full arsenal.
“When Sameen and Dom come back, I don’t think any team in South Jersey can stop us because it’s the full squad,” Sapp said. “I’m not saying we are not going to lose any games, but that makes us tough.”