Photos/Videos: Kathy Leister, Lennie Malmgren & Lou Rabito
By: Marc Narducci
FRIENDS LEAGUE – Westtown senior combo guard Quin Berger had one of his best games in last week’s 71-53 Friends League win over a talented Shipley team. That is saying a lot because Berger has enjoyed an outstanding career at Westtown, where his father Seth Berger is the head coach.
Westtown is among the top teams in the Delaware Valley and regarded nationally as one of the elite programs in the country over the last several years.
This is a program that had two recent NBA first round draft choices, Mo Bamba, now in his fourth season with the Orlando Magic and Cam Reddish, in his third year with the Atlanta Hawks. (Both players are enjoying their best NBA seasons this year).
This year’s team has two high profile Division I commits, Dereck Lively II, a 7-foot center who is headed to Duke and Jameel Brown a 6-5 wing who will attend Penn State.
There is plenty of other talent on this team, and Berger is the person who makes the offense click.
In that win over Shipley, the 6-foot-2 Berger had 25 points, five rebounds and four assists.
Berger said it was one of his best games.
“It is definitely the most points I have scored,” he said..
Yet as usual, this was a total team effort.
Lively had 10 points, 13 rebounds and four blocked shots. Matt Mayock, a 6-5 junior added 11 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Junior guard Seyphon Triplett added 12 points, four rebounds and four assists.
Brown was out with a non-COVID illness, but returned to practice on Monday.
With so many capable scorers, Berger doesn’t need to go for 25 every night, but as he showed against Shipley, he can score if needed.
In looking at the highlights of the game, one thing that is most impressive is how Berger can score off the dribble, something he said he has been working on diligently.
“My freshman year I was a spot-up shooter and same sophomore season,” he said. “Junior and senior year, I have the ball in my hands more and I have made it a point of emphasis to be able to create space off the bounce.”
Berger says that growing up following the Westtown program has been a major benefit.
“I remember in eighth grade, there was a certain stretch where we were short on bodies and that was the first time my dad let me practice with those guys,” he said.
Not only playing, but seeing how players like Reddish and Bamba carried themselves, how they dealt with all the attention, was a great experience.
“To see how well Mo and Cam interacted with teammates was great to witness,” he said.
Another player who has helped Berger in his career is his brother TJ Berger who is two years older. TJ Berger began his college career at Georgetown, but is now a sophomore guard at the University of San Diego, where he is averaging more than 17 minutes per game.
One can imagine the one-on-one games that Quin had with TJ over the years. They would also compete against each other in Westtown practices, with neither giving an inch.
“It was always competitive,” he said. “We were taught to read the same tea leaves.”
Westtown senior Quin Berger (#3) tallied 25 points, 5 rebounds & 4 assists in win vs. Shipley - PSD Photo by Lennie Malmgren
Quin Berger is looking to play at the next level, but no decision has been made yet. He is one of those players who has continued to help his stock with the beginning of a strong year.
A strong student, Berger is looking to major in business, with an eye to eventually getting into the real estate business.
For now, he is enjoying his senior year. He says playing for his father has been great, as has competing for a team that has so much talent..
Practices are intense and that carries over to the games, which has made Quin Berger and his teammates improve over their careers at Westtown.
Westtown lost a 59-54 decision on Sunday to Wilbraham and Monson Academy of Massachusetts in a game played in New York.
Lively had a big game with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Berger contributed 12.
Before facing Westtown, Shipley opened with a 71-62 win over Germantown Friends. Raijon Dispensa, a 6-7 junior, led Shipley with 24 points. Junior point guard Darrien Grady scored 21 and junior guard Imanuel Jackson added 17.
Junior Mushin Muhammad led Germantown Friends with 22 points while eighth grader Jordan Dill added 17 points.
Shipley is being guided by first-year coach Alvin Williams, a familiar name in this area, who starred at Germantown Academy and Villanova before embarking on a 10-year NBA career.
Mike Cook, a 2002 Friends Central graduate, is now the first-year head coach of the school. The team is 3-4 in non-league action.
This is a very young team, but one of the leaders is 6-5 senior Kahmai Clark.
“He has been our most consistent player,” Cook said.
Clark is receiving Division II and Division III interest, according to Cook.
“We’re hoping to build something here,” Cook said. “A lot of players are in their first year of varsity experience.”
It may take time, but Friends Central should be an improved team by this time next month.
The George School has been mentioned by many coaches as a Friends League contender. In its first Friends League game on Tuesday, George School defeated Friends Central, 77-58 to improve to 6-1. Among the impressive non-league wins was a 66-65 victory over Archbishop Wood.
Onyekachi Nzeh, a 6-9 junior with a 7-3 wingspan, has received 18 offers, with the most recent coming from Georgia Tech, according to a program spokesperson.
Nzeh had 28 points and 15 rebounds in the win over Friends Central.
Christian Bliss, a 6-4 sophomore, has also received Division I offers. Bliss added 19 in the Friends League opener
Gestin Liberis, a 6-10 senior, is big part of the frontcourt. Against Friends Central, he came off the bench to record a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds.