While Khai Champion respects all that Sam Sessoms did in his basketball career at Shipley, he is more than ready to help fill the void left by the prolific scorer’s departure to Binghamton.
“I feel like I can finally let loose, play my game, and show my talents,” the junior guard said. “I’m excited about what’s to come.”
Champion contributed 11 of his 17 points in the first half as the host Gators easily beat shorthanded Malvern Prep, 71-59, in Friday night’s nonleague contest in Bryn Mawr.
“He can really shoot the ball,” Shipley coach Phil D’Ambrosio said. “There was a stretch earlier this season where he was shooting better than 60 percent from the three-point line.”
Champion’s second three-pointer was part of a 13-0 run that gave Shipley a 34-22 advantage late in the second quarter.
The 6-foot, 155-pounder, who added two assists and two rebounds, has averaged 18 points a game in the squad’s 8-0 start.
“A big thing about this group is that we have a positive attitude, good chemistry, and we like being around each other,” Champion said.
Malvern (4-4) was missing four of its top six players due to injury or illness.
Forced to rely heavily on the one-two guard punch of Deuce Turner (31 points, 11 boards) and Rhadir Hicks (13 points), the Friars shot 24 for 68 from field. They converted only 4 of 28 attempts from beyond the arc.
Shipley forward Chaz Owens contributed 19 points and 10 boards. He is the son of Billy Owens, a former standout at Carlisle High and Syracuse who went on to play in the NBA.
Fellow senior Ray Somerville, a 6-10 center, produced 18 points, 18 boards, and four blocked shots. He shot 6 for 9 from the field, including three putbacks.
Somerville, who played AAU ball for Philly Pride and Team Final, is bound for Division I Cal State Bakersfield.
“Ray has been doing a phenomenal job on the defensive end,” D’Ambrosio said. “Offensively, we’re trying to pay more attention to getting the ball inside and playing through him.”
Champion, who played in the offseason for East Coast Power, opted to attend Shipley even though his older brother, Chuck, was a prominent player at nearby Friends’ Central.
Chuck Champion, a 6-3 junior guard for the Greyhounds, is averaging 13 points, 4.3 boards, and 2.1 assists through 11 games.
“The coaching staff played a big part in my decision to come to Shipley,” Khai Champion said. “Coach D’Ambrosio is close with all his players, really cares about them.”
Champion, who lives in Overbrook, has drawn recruiting interest from American, Colgate, Illinois State, Lafayette, Lehigh, and Loyola (Md.).
Malvern Prep 15 9 15 20 - 59
Shipley 15 19 19 18 - 71
MP: Rahdir Hicks 13, Deuce Turner 31, Fran Oschell 7, Cooper Frankenheim 3, Joe McElwee 5.
S: Eli Smith 2, Khai Champion 17, Ray Somerville 15, Chaz Owens 19, Khalil Farmer 6, Joey Gruzinski 10, Grant Jacoby 2.