Duck Tales
Basketball 2014-15

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  Jon "Duck" Gray is one of our most ardent website supporters. His main sport is basketball, but he has become a legend on the football trail, too. How cool is it that his nickname is a good fit with Tom "Puck" McKenna and Ed "Huck" Palmer?   You may contact Duck at

February 22, 2015
Public League Championship
Imhotep Charter 77 Constitution High 75
  One word: Classic! This one began up-tempo and not a second of the game was boring.  The first quarter was high scoring, 21-19 in favor of Imhotep. Leading Imhotep in the 1st quarter was senior guard Khalief Tinley, who packed eight of his twelve points into the period.  In the second quarter, Constitution responded with some electric play from senior guard Kimar Williams. Williams scored ten points in the quarter, highlighted by a three-pointer and a layup plus the foul off of a Haneef Vaughn pass with 1:21 to go in the half. Williams’ three-point play “the old fashioned way” made the score 40-33, Constitution. Imhotep responded with some electric play coming from sophomore guard Daron Russell. Russell excited the Imhotep crowd with a buzzer-beating trey at the end of the half to get the Panthers within one at 40-39 at the break. Russell scored nine points in the quarter. The second half contained a large amount of fouls and both teams would lose key players to fouls. Constitution lost four players to fouls and Imhotep lost three players to fouls.  Constitution began to assert themselves in the third quarter behind more strong play from Williams and 6-6 senior forward Chad Andrews-Fulton.  The Generals led 55-45 late third quarter. The Panthers calmly began to chip away at the Generals' advantage. The score was 55-50 after three quarters and the Hagan Arena at Saint Joseph’s University was amped up for the final stanza. A Russell layup got the Panthers within three at 63-60 with 4:46 remaining in the game. A Russell trey got Imhotep within one at 64-63 with 4:20 remaining. Constitution responded with strong inside play from Andrews-Fulton combined with free-throw shooting from Andrews-Fulton and Williams. However, Russell got the gym really rocking with a trey to tie the score at 71 with 2:15 remaining. Constitution had already lost 6-7 forward Ahmad “J.R.” Gilbert (George Mason) and defender Anthony Satchell to fouls. Imhotep lost Tinley to fouls at 2:33 of the 4th and junior guard Jaekwon Carlyle shortly thereafter.  Both teams would have to make plays without key players on the court. Long-time Daily News statman and Frankford High assistant Keith Hines called this one a seesaw affair, early in the second half and he was right. The final two minutes of the game had some seesaw moments. Imhotep senior guard Cananchet Jordan hit one of two free throws to put the Panthers ahead, 72-71, with 1:12 remaining. After a failed possession by Constitution, Imhotep is unable to convert two free throws with 56.4 seconds remaining. Williams, using his left (off) hand, made an acrobatic rebound tip of his missed shot to put Constitution back on top. Russell then made a great pass to 6-6 inside warrior DeAnte Robinson for a layup to put Imhotep back on top with 17 seconds remaining.  Imhotep took further control when 6-4 senior Devin Liggeons made a steal with 13.5 remaining. 6-5 junior Nysir Marshburn made two freebies to give Imhotep a three-point lead with 10.5 remaining. Williams is then fouled on purpose by Imhotep. Williams makes both free throws. Jordan is then fouled with 5.9 seconds remaining and Imhotep nursing a one point lead. Jordan made the first free throw and with a more than seventy-five percent full Hagan arena, missed the second. Constitution sophomore Youssef Diabate rebounded and passed to Williams who dribbled upcourt all the way to under the free throw line and passed Andrews-Fulton who made the layup AFTER the buzzer. Imhotep wins the game. Imhotep won their fifth title in seven years and the sixth in seven years for Northwest Philadelphia (MLK High in 2014). Imhotep completed a girl-boy sweep for the third time in Public League History. Get this: University City in 1995 completed the first girl-boy sweep; Central in 2005 completed the second girl-boy sweep; Imhotep in 2015 completed the third girl-boy sweep. See the trend? Russell was terrific as he took home MVP honors with 19 points, 4 assists and 4 rebounds. Russell had ten points in the fourth quarter. Robinson added 11 points and 8 rebounds. Tinley had 12 points while Liggeons and Carlyle evenly split twenty points. For Constitution, which lost a second consecutive Public League final by two points; Williams generated 27 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists. Andrews-Fulton had 21 points (7-for-7, 7-for-9) and 9 rebounds, while Vaughn had 11 points and 6 assists. Gilbert had 9 points and 8 rebounds.  
  Table Talk- Good turnout for this game and the atmosphere was electric… Satchell did well in an underrated role, playing good defense on the very-hard-to-guard Russell . . . Nice rendition of the Star Spangled Banner by Gene Woods . . . Liggeons, Najee Kitt-Walls (LaSalle High) and Paul Newman (Roman) all played Middle School basketball at J.S. Jenks in Chestnut Hill. That was a real good Middle School team . . . I had a great team with Amauro Austin, Mark” Froggy” Carfagno, Keith Hines and Big Steve Reid.

February 14, 2015

Public League Quarterfinal/ District 12 A Championship
Constitution High 66 Math, Civics and Sciences Charter 59
  This was a thoroughly competitive basketball game and seeing that it was the third meeting between the two schools this season (and there is a possibility of a fourth matchup) both teams seem to know each other quite well.  The first half was tightly played. At the end of the first half MCS guard Donovan Barnes drained a trey right before the halftime whistle.  That shot gave the Mighty Elephants a four point lead at 31-27 at the half. MCS got a boost with the first basket of the second half a majestic trey from senior Keith Griffin.  Constitution kept things close during the third period. MCS franchise Samir Doughty (St. John’s) made a difficult, buzzer beating jumper to give the Mighty Elephants a two point lead at the end of the third stanza.  In the 4th quarter, Generals trailed 54-49 with 3:52 remaining in the contest, after Griffin swished two freebies. The Generals then made a comeback behind good pressure defense and rebounding (ConHigh dominated on the glass).  A Haneef Vaughn layup gave the Generals the lead at 57-56 with 2:30 remaining. Ahmad “J.R” Gilbert (George Mason) extended that lead to three with two free throws with 1:27 remaining in the game.  The lead would grow to five points, before Doughty willed in a three-pointer with a little over thirty-seven seconds remaining.  Following a timeout and after playing defense for twenty-two seconds, the Elephants committed an intentional foul. The Generals held on from there. Leading the way for the senior laden Constitution High was guard Kimar Williams, who scored 16 points. Gilbert battled through shooting woes for 15 points and 13 rebounds. Chad Andrews-Fulton had a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Vaughn packed ten of his 15 points into the final stanza.  The Generals won the rebounding battle, 42-23. Gilbert was six for six from the line in the fourth quarter. Doughty led MCS with 17 points and 11 rebounds, while Barnes and Griffin evenly split 28 points.
  Table Talk – Nice crowd on hand, the stands were 85 to 90 percent full for this contest held at Northeast High… The cheerleaders from Constitution High were loud; I’m guessing you could hear them in Center City.
February 14, 2015
Public League Quarterfinal/District 12 AA Semifinal/PL AA Championship
Charles Audenried Charter 70 Freire Charter 61
  This matchup was between rival charter schools and it was a more than interesting game to observe. The Rockets were able to win this one despite a game effort from the Dragons of Freire Charter. The Rockets were led by senior Devon Jacobs, a 6-3 swingman. Jacobs battled for 24 points and 12 rebounds. On several occasions he missed a shot, grabbed his own rebound and either made a layup or drew a foul. He definitely is resilient. Jacobs was able to swish a three but he did struggle from the line where he went three for eight. The Dragons did not have anybody to really battle with him and Jacobs was aggressive throughout the game. Helping his cause was sophomore guard Niseem Wright who added 18 points and 5 assists. In the third quarter senior guard Eddie Lewis made back-to-back layups to give the Rockets a 48-38 lead with 2:08 remaining in that period. In the 4th quarter, a key play was when senior guard Raheem White drove the right baseline and made a “tear-drop” jumper to make the score 66-56. The Rockets held on from there. The Dragons were led by Elijah Elam’s 18 points and Calil Moultrie’s 16. Moultrie excited the crowd with a dribble through the press defense for a tough layup in the 3rd quarter. Also, Moultrie hit the Dragons’ lone trey in four attempts. This victory puts Audenried in their first Public League Semifinal in school history and their first City title appearance.
  Table Talk – This game began at Noon on a Saturday afternoon and I loved the time. I got up early and got to Northeast, right after NESAC (a community youth sports league) concluded… In attendance were Amauro Austin, Aaron “Ace” Carter, Keith Hines and Mark “Froggy” Carfagno.

February 11, 2015
Public League Round of 16/ AAAA Semifinal
George Washington High 78, Frankford High 63

   This one had the atmosphere that all games should have. The crowd at George Washington was involved throughout this contest. The final score indicates a fifteen point win for the Eagles but this game was A LOT more competitive than that. After a back and forth 1st quarter, Washington took a 23-17 lead in the middle of the 2nd quarter, then the Pioneers of Frankford went on a brilliant 14-1 run to seize a seven point lead at the half. The Pioneers received an inspired effort from senior guard Demetruis White. White had twelve points in the first half highlighted by two treys. In the 3rd quarter the Eagles responded with some good play coming from guards Elmange Watson (31 points) and Jheron Johnson. Watson’s trey off an Asante “Redz” Ali pass got Washington within one at 33-32 at the 5:28 mark of the 3rd quarter. Then Watson made a two-point jumper to tie the score at 35 with 4:13 remaining in the period. White responded with a three-point play the old fashioned way give Frankford a three point lead. Watson and White both had some terrific moments during this game! The Pioneers held a one-point lead at the end of the 3rd quarter. In the 4th quarter, the Eagles responded with some great defense from Johnson and inside baskets by senior forward Jerome Blume to take control. An Ali trey off a Charles Brown pass made the score 55-47, GDUB on top with 5:13 remaining. The Eagles worked their lead up to ten and with the combination of fouling by Frankford went on to victory. Watson was really impressive on two occasions he made nice step-back moves to set up three-pointers and both times he swished them. Watson had five treys on the day. Johnson was a real pest on defense as he posted six steals and he procured eight rebounds. Also, Johnson posted 12 points. Brown did not shoot well from the floor (3-16) but had 5 assists and 7 rebounds. Ali battled for 11 points. White finished with 29 points for Frankford; he also busied himself hustling all over the court for 10 rebounds. His backcourt partner Quadire Truesdale did not have a great game but fought for 13 points. Both White and Truesdale would make for good small college players. This was one of the most significant playoff victories in the history of George Washington High School.
  Table Talk- The crowd included a large number of coaches past and present affiliated with both schools. Among them: Mike Capriotti (former Frankford Football Coach), William Doggett (Frankford’s current gridiron coach), Bernie Handler (former Frankford Basketball Coach), Bill Singletary (recently named Football Coach at George Washington), and Calvin Jones (former hoops coach at George Washington). Also on hand were Ben Dubin (Public League Basketball Chairman) and Ken Geiser (Washington Athletic Director). … Jones and former Washington players were involved fans throughout… On George Washington’s bench was a player named Adam Kayed who is listed at 4’11. In the early 90’s Audenried had a player named Jamal “Slick” Collier. I would like to see them stand back to back….As always it was great to see Washington assistant coach Darrell Rozenblad and Frankford assistant coaches Keith Hines and Howard Griffith.

January 19th, 2015

Parkway Center City 58, Franklin Learning Center 38
  This one was competitive until the early stages of the 3rd quarter.  Parkway Center City led by seven at the half but FLC closed to within five, early 3rd quarter when Aaron Turner made a jump-shot.  Then PCC went on a fourteen-zero run to end the quarter.   PCC was led by Cole Ruley, who scored 17 of his 24 points in the first half. Ruley, formerly played for FLC when Parkway Center City students played for FLC under a cooperative sponsorship. Today, Ruley mixed outside shooting with hard baseline drives for his points. Also helping out off the bench was a VERY promising 6-7 sophomore forward named Maqi Watson. Watson contributed 8 points and 8 rebounds. Watson is long, mobile and could grow some more, so his progress bears watching. Also contributing to the PCC cause was senior guard Hyzeem Banks, who added 9 points, and sophomore guard Jemal Sheppard, who had six assists. FLC was led by a 20-point (two dunks) performance from 6-0 guard Chase Davis. Turner assisted with 9 points and 6 rebounds.   
  Table Talk- Not a big crowd, maybe thirty-five people…FLC has yet to win a game this season.

January 15th, 2015

Public League A
Martin Luther King High 55 Imhotep Charter 52 (50)
  This high profile matchup is an intense rivalry and on this chilly night this game was packed with entertainment. The action was high paced with Imhotep get out to an early lead. Imhotep moved out to a 12-4 lead at the end of the 1st quarter. During the 1st period, Imhotep received aggressive play from guards Khalief Tinley and Daron Russell. In the 2nd quarter, some more quick guard play benefited the Panthers, this time coming in the form of senior guard Cananchet Jordan. Jordan, who is lightning quick (more on speed later), scored seven in the second quarter and the Panthers led 23-15 at the end of the second quarter. In the third quarter the Cougars made their comeback with improved defense (some pressure defense) and better shooting. The Cougars took the lead with forty-three seconds remaining in the quarter, on a three point play the old fashioned way, from Rasool Samir. Then with time running out in the 3rd quarter, Tyheem Harmon made trey off a Sammy Foreman pass to make the score 36-32.  Harmon had ten points in the 3rd quarter. Harmon hit a trey to begin the 4th quarter as King continued their run.  Foreman made his third trey of the night to make the score 47-35 with 4:50 remaining. The Panthers would not stop fighting. 6-5 inside warrior DeAnte Robinson consumed 15 rebounds on the night and spent a considerable amount of time in the 4th quarter at the foul line. Robinson would often grab offensive rebounds and fight for put-backs drawing fouls in the process.  The Panthers got all the way back to within two on the scoreboard, when Russell swished his second high energy trey of the quarter with under thirty seconds remaining. Foreman went to the line and made one of two with twenty-seconds remaining. More intense play led to another one of two free-throw performance from Foreman. Imhotep got an emphatic dunk plus the foul from Robinson and then we had a little controversy over the clock. The clock appeared not to start properly and the clock read 2.8 seconds remaining. After a LENGTHY discussion led by referees Kevin Clay and Russell McCullough, the clock is changed to read 3.8 seconds remaining. According to the scoreboard, it is a two-point game. So Robinson intentionally misses the free-throw and the King junior Jabri McCall makes a tough rebound and is fouled. The clock still reads 3.8 seconds remaining!!! McCall makes one of two from the line and Imhotep is unable to make a shot so the game ends 55-52 for King.  (I only had Imhotep for 50 points, however.) Harmon led King with 18 points while Chase Rodgers added 12 and Foreman mixed 11 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists. Robinson led Imhotep with 14 points and 15 rebounds. Russell and Jordan evenly split 22 points.  Back to speed King’s guards – Foreman, Harmon, McCall and Nasir Bell are fast. Imhotep’s guards- Jordan, Russell, Tinley and Jaekwon Carlyle are fast. They could make relay race teams for each school. It will be interesting to see how, as this season goes on, speed is used and not used by each school.
  Table Talk- I had a great time and got to see a lot of basketball people.  In attendance were Aaron “Ace” Carter,  Amauro Austin (Philly Pride) and Big Steve Reid. Also a great amount of high school players and Northwest Philly basketball… Chase Rodgers excited the crowd with a rebound-dunk in the 1st quarter.

January 13

George Washington High 53 Central High 35
  This was a matchup that was enticing to Public League fans. Last season, Central defeated George Washington High in the Public League playoffs.  George Washington entered this one 6-0 in League play with non-league victories over Chester, St. Joseph’s Prep and Archbishop Ryan. Central entered 6-1 in League play. The first quarter was packed with energy and the Lancers, behind strong play from seniors Gregory Holdsman and Kahlil Williams, won the first quarter 14-13. The Lancers continued their strong play in the second quarter and wound up leading, 29-27 at the half. Second half and the Eagles began to show their mettle, especially on the defensive end. In the 3rd quarter they limited the Lancers to two field goals (a deep trey from Khyre Bilal and a floater from Curtis Barker).  On offense a big play occurred with 1:57 remaining in the 3rd period, when junior guard Quadere Allen made an acrobatic layup off a pass from senior guard Elmange Watson. Allen would add a free-throw to complete the three point play.  The Eagles led 37-32 at that point and 38-34 entering the final period. The 4th quarter was a combination of good defense from Washington and poor shooting from Central, which led to the Lancers only scoring  one point in the final stanza (on a free-throw by Williams).The Washington faithful, which was quite abundant for this packed-gym game, was loud after an impressive three-point play, the old fashioned way by Washington star Charles Brown. That play made the score 45-34 for the Eagles with 6:05 remaining in the contest. G-DUB coasted from there. For Washington, guard Asante “Redz” Ali contributed 11 points, 4 assists and 3 steals, Watson, who contributed 9 points and 4 steals and Brown had 8 points and 15 rebounds. Brown is an interesting prospect with great size at 6-5/6-6 and a lot of skills.  Watson, a Northeast High transfer, is a nice competitor and helps the backcourt. Ali is a solid backcourt performer and 6’6 forward Jerome Blume patrols inside. Washington has a good squad and it will be interesting to see how well they do this year. Central will look to bounce back from this. Williams was limited to 9 points and Holdsman was held to 7, but they are good players and they can improve as the season goes on. Also, 6-7 center Gbolahan Alliyu, while not a scorer is active on defense and provided 10 rebounds.
  Table Talk – Lots of people in attendance, Amauro Austin (website legend/local hoops guru), Allen Rubin (Hoopscoop) and Eric Worley (Philly Triple Threat basketball)…. Nice atmosphere with a band, cheerleaders, pep squad and fans (young and old)…. As many of you know in addition to website life I’m involved with Checkball Magazine. Checkball’s founder Littel Vaughn, is a proud alum of George Washington, and he texted and phoned me to find out about the game. He was all hyped for the Eagles and I did not mind since both of us are Dallas Cowboys fans. (Wink).

DEC. 30

Pete and Jameer Nelson Holiday Classic (Chestnut Hill College)
South Shore (Brooklyn, NY) 58  PET Charter 51
  This one was a competitive basketball game but the Philadelphia team was not able to get past the New York squad.  South Shore, from the vaunted PSAL Brooklyn AA Division, is a solid team that was coming off a loss to a Public League team in Martin Luther King High. Early on, the Chargers played the Vikings evenly and only trailed by three at the half. A big part of the reason for the Chargers' solid play was the play of a talented and scrappy backcourt of junior point guard Blair Bowes and junior combination guard Jihad Barnes.  South Shore opened up their lead in the 3rd quarter when PET made back to back turnovers and let the Vikings open up their lead to ten points at the end of the 3rd period. Those turnovers came back to haunt PET as they made a spirited comeback. The comeback started when Justin Davis made back to back lay-ups to get PET within six with 6:28 remaining.  The Chargers got within five when junior forward Jakwon McQueen hit one of two from the line to make the score 46-41. The Vikings responded with inside play from 6-7 sophomore Sheldon Miller and 6-8 junior Cori Johnson. Miller had a key basket as well as four of his eight rebounds in the 4th quarter.  PET continued their comeback when senior wing shooter Devonta Peterie (12 points) hit a right corner trey off a Barnes pass. Peterie’s trey made the score 54-51, South Shore on top with only 1:16 remaining. South Shore promptly turned the ball over and PET had possession with a chance to tie. The Chargers missed and the Vikings sped downcourt for an emphatic dunk from Johnson that gave them a five point advantage and they held on from there. Bowes totaled 11 points, 5 assists and 3 steals. Bowes appears to be a solid floor general. I like that he is unselfish (maybe he could shoot a little more) and he is a pest on the defensive end. Barnes is also feisty on defensive and he added 10 points with 4 steals. Peterie took home team MVP honors as he had 12 points. Peterie has a nice looking jump-shot with good form and lift; he only shot 2-9 from the floor but was 6-6 from the line. The Vikings played twelve players and it was not a blowout, I was a little bewildered by it, but they got the win. Johnson and Miller both have a chance to be good players with added development. Their team MVP was junior point guard Nick Simeon who had 11 points.
  Table Talk- After this one I was able to watch the Life Center vs. John Bartram game. Life Center pulled out a 64-56 victory over the Braves in a thoroughly enjoyable game, too. One sequence, a Bartram player got dunked on plus the foul and on the very next Bartram possession the player returned the favor with a dunk plus the foul on the same player who dunked on him. Martin Fischer (16points) and Traci Carter (22 points) were MVPs for Bartram and Life Center respectively… This gym is unique. It is inside a building that you would not guess houses a gym. It is a great gym to watch a game…. Ted Silary and I ran into former CCP Ladies coach and Philly Elite AAU coach Geoff Hancock. Also in attendance were Steve Hobbs (Harcum) and Rasheed Brinkley (Manor), prominent junior college assistant coaches.

DEC. 26

Frankford High School 63 Eagle Academy for Young Men 57 (Double Overtime)
  This game was played at Girard College at an event named Brawl Behind the Wall.  I love that name seeing that Girard College has a legendary wall around it that is a landmark in North Philadelphia. This game started off somewhat boring but as the game went on it became exciting and it finished off being a quite memorable. In the 1st quarter, the teams were pretty much even and the score at the end of one was eleven-eleven. In the 2nd quarter, Eagle Academy behind strong play from senior guard Jaquan Strong and junior small forward Teshaun Beckles, moved out to a small lead. The Eagles led the hometown Pioneers, 26-23, at the half.  The Pioneers were guilty of several turnovers when their talented ball-handlers made errors with poor passing.  The third quarter began and the Eagles kept up their pace and opened up an eight point lead when a Strong three-pointer made the score, 31-23. The Pioneers never wavered and they battled back with some strong play from senior point guard Quadire Truesdale, senior wing guard Demetruis White and freshman shooting guard Francisco Campo.  The Pioneers battled back to forge their first lead of the second half at 41-40, when Truesdale made a basket with 7:50 remaining in regulation. The boys from the Bronx responded well with some more solid play from Strong (17 points) and sophomore guard Marquis Dubose. Strong hit a deep trey to make the score 52-49 for the Eagles with 3:21 remaining. White hit a three off of a Truesdale pass to pull the Pioneers within one at 53-52 with 1:39 remaining. Dubose, a heady guard who made plenty of smart plays throughout the game hit a mid-range jumper to  give the New Yorkers a three-point lead with 1:09 remaining.  Truesdale, who is clearly Frankford’s leader, made a huge steal with twenty-three seconds remaining and passed to senior Aleem Griffith, who was fouled while shooting a three with thirteen seconds left on the clock. Major development, Griffith was injured on the play, and could not shoot the free throws. Frankford Coach Dave Huzzard and his assistants, Howard Griffith and Keith Hines, decide to place Campo at the line to shoot the free throws. Campo had hit three three-pointers prior to that point but had yet to shoot a free throw and is only a freshman. Campo went to the line and swished three free throws to tie the score. The Eagles were unable to score on their last possession so this one was headed to overtime. Frankford found themselves down two with only eighteen seconds remaining in overtime when they called timeout. Following the timeout, White completed a baseline drive with a nice layup, to tie the score with one second remaining in the 1st overtime and this game was headed to a second extra session. The Pioneers got out in front when Campo made a layup off of a Truesdale pass. On the ensuing inbounds pass White made a steal and converted a layup to put the Philly boys up by four. Jemire Solomon made yet another steal and layup to complete the scoring. Campo led Frankford with 16, while White added 15. Truesdale contributed 11 points and 7 assists. 6’6 sophomore Babacar N’diaye added 9 points and 6’3 senior Tashawn Twiggs had 11 rebounds. The Pioneers were guilty of twenty turnovers.  If they can improve their ball control and play hard on the board they could be a very dangerous team by the time the playoffs come around. Frankford has already had heartbreaking defeats to St. Joseph’s Prep and George Washington High; in both they had sizeable leads that evaporated.
  Table Talk- You want to see something nice? Check out the, that is website for the Public School Athletics in New York City. The site contains stories, rosters and contact information on teams in the PSAL… Eagle Academy is one of three such named schools in New York. This school, coached by Ryan Queen, is located in the Bronx… Campo is a good outside shooter and has good height at 6’4, his progress bears watching… This event is packed with teams. There are prep schools from all over the country while Strawberry Mansion, West Catholic and Boys' Latin are also scheduled to appear. The event has games on December 27th and 28th… I left early but there was a high quality girls game in which Imhotep Charter beat Cheltenham.

DEC. 16

Public League C
Benjamin Franklin High 71, Mastery Charter North 56
  I surprisingly had some free time today and this matchup intrigued me.  Ben Franklin had bested Murrell Dobbins Tech, 54-15, a week ago; Mastery North had won their first two league contests and snuck by Bristol High, 55-54, on Saturday.  The Electrons began the game strong with some scoring coming from junior guard Ramir Hardrick. The Electrons opened up to leads of 9-3 and 11-5 before MCN rallied to make the score 13-13. Ben Franklin closed the 1st quarter on a six to zero run to make the score, 19-13, at the beginning of the 2nd period. The Electrons continued to dictate play and burst out to a 30-17 lead. The Pumas then picked up their defensive intensity and rallied to make it 30-29 at the half. The Mastery Charter North run was keyed by solid play from junior guard Rodney Ross and 6-4 sophomore swingman Koby Thomas. The third quarter was packed with good play from both teams as the lead changed hands a couple of times before Franklin began to have a four point working margin. Late in the 3rd quarter, Thomas electrified the home crowd with a sky-walking jam. The gym shook with excitement as Wayne Avenue awoke in joy after that explosive, high flying jam. The Electrons held only a two-point lead as the game headed into the 4th quarter. The 4th quarter was all Franklin, as Hardrick had eight of his game high 26 points. Hardrick added 8 rebounds and 5 steals. Senior backup point guard Dashaun Johnson had eleven in the final quarter and finished with 15. Johnson did a good job of handling the Pumas’ defensive pressure; in fact, all of the Electrons did a good job of handling that pressure in the 4th quarter. Johnson was 6-10 from the line in the 4th quarter. Ben Franklin won the final quarter, 26-13 to turn the close game into a comfortable road victory. Hardrick does not appear to be a deep shooter, he appears to be a strong finisher and feisty competitor and his teammates appear to be feisty and athletic as well. They also are very young as Coach Larry Gainey started five juniors and played three more eleventh graders off of the bench. It is very early but the future could be bright at Broad and Green. The other junior starters in addition to Hardrick were 6’5 forward Michael Kane; 6’3 guard Isaiah Wilmore; 6’5 forward Omar Young-Jordan and 5’11 guard Hanif Alexander.  Ross led MCN with 20 points and Thomas had 15 points and 12 rebounds. Thomas’s progress bears watching.
  Table Talk – Lots of basketball people in the building. Lonnie Lowry from Team Philly AAU was present along with former Edison High great Albert Crockett. Lonnie’s brother Kyle (Toronto Raptors) is making a strong case for a spot in the NBA All-Star game… Also in the building was Kenny Hamilton, a legendary former coach at Franklin... For Franklin, Alexander had 8 points and 5 assists while Wilmore added 7 points… MCN star sophomore Eli Alvin was held scoreless. He impressed many during the summer and fall, so don’t expect that to be common. Eli is the brother of former Simon Gratz star Malik, who won a championship with the Bulldogs in 2006… As I mentioned to an observer, there were an immense amount of long lanky athletes on the court for this game.

DEC. 12

Northeast High 81, Franklin Learning Center 58
  This was a non-league matchup between the Public League’s Division B (Northeast High) and the Public League’s Division C (Franklin Learning Center) and as the score indicates B is much stronger than C. The Vikings have a solid backcourt in senior guards Tyriq Wilson (point) and Deshan Brown (combination guard). Early on Northeast moved out to leads of 12-5 and 19-7 behind the hot shooting of Brown. Brown made three first quarter treys and had eleven points in the 1st period, which the Vikings won 24-13. Northeast continued their strong play and led 44-27 at the half. The third quarter was the same with more scoring from Brown the Vikings widened their lead to 65-43. Brown continued his scoring throughout the game adding two more treys as he had a 25-point performance. Wilson contributed 17 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists. Small colleges should take a long look at both Brown and Wilson. Also aiding the cause was another Viking guard, senior Daren Baggett, who contributed 9 points.  The Vikings made nine three-pointers with five from Brown, two from Wilson, one from Baggett and one from senior Drew Heller. The Viking also received good play from senior forward Darius Thomas who contributed 7 points. The Vikings were much more aggressive than FLC and they executed well on offense. The Bobcats did not play well. Their top player is 6’4 senior swingman Ta’Quan Johnson who was able to score 24 points while adding 9 rebounds and 2 blocks. Johnson has some skills and on a FLC team lacking the talent, height or strength of prior teams, he has to play big on offense and defense.  Also helping out was senior guard Chase Davis, who tallied 12 points and provided game long scrappiness. The Bobcats appear to lack toughness, depth and are not a very cohesive unit.
  Table Talk- Nice atmosphere, Northeast had a small crowd only about 60 people but they had drummers and an interesting rendition of the Star Spangled Banner before the game.

DEC. 7

All-City Classic High School Showcase
Roman Catholic 63 Haverford School 61
  This showdown between a Catholic League power, Roman Catholic and an Inter-Ac power, Haverford School was a competitive contest from the opening jump ball. Haverford took control early behind the shooting of guard Levan “Shawn” Alston.  A Derek Mountain trey off a Lamar Stevens’ pass made the score 12-5 Haverford, and prompted a Roman Catholic timeout at 3:38 of the 1st quarter. The Cahillites would battle to be within five 20-15 at the end of the 1st quarter. During the 1st quarter, Alston was exceptional with his outside shot; the Temple signee had three three-pointers and thirteen points total for the quarter. The second quarter was packed with action and Roman moved ahead with a left-hand lay-up from junior standout Tony Carr, to take a lead at 23-22 with five minutes and thirty-two seconds remaining in the quarter. Haverford battled back with some more outside shooting from Alston and a timely trey from freshman guard Cameron Reddish (10 points, 6 rebounds) to lead by one 32-31 at the half. Second half and Roman got their offense going with baskets by junior guard Nazeer Bostick and 6’6 forward TreVaughn Wilkerson put the CL squad up 44-39. Then a Roman player tried to excite the highly involved crowd with a jam, but missed and Alston countered with a trey plus the foul. Reddish made two consecutive jumpers to give Haverford a three-point lead in seemingly a blink of an eye. The Fords held that three-point lead going into the 4th quarter. The Cahillites made another run and Bostick put them ahead with a three-point play off a steal with 7:02 remaining in the 4th quarter. Stevens made an authoritative move and scored a basket while drawing a foul with 3:02 remaining to make give the Fords a one point lead at 58-57. Stevens (15 points, 12 rebounds) did not convert the free throw.  The very impressive Carr scored to put Roman up one with 2:15 remaining. Roman did well on the defensive end to keep that lead. With a little less than a minute remaining, Roman committed a turnover and Haverford had the ball at halfcourt. Carr stole the inbounds pass and sped downcourt for a lay-up. Roman got another stop. Then the cool and calm Carr made two free throws to make the score 63-58 with fourteen second remaining.  Alston was able to make his sixth trey before the buzzer sounded to finish with a hard-earned 29 points. Carr, who is a high level floor general, had 23 points and 6 assists. Bostick contributed 14 points while Wilkerson had 9 points. Alston and Carr received game MVP plaques. This was the third straight game in three days for Haverford School. They played Imhotep, Calvert Hall (MD) and Roman Catholic. That is an impressive schedule.
  Table Talk- In the second game of this high-quality doubleheader Math, Civics and Sciences defeated Life Center, 51-48, with an inspired comeback led by guard Samir Doughty, who totaled 25 points… The gym was packed with college coaches; Jay Wright (Villanova) and John Giannini (LaSalle) were present. Also coaches from Temple, St. John’s, St. Joseph’s, Penn State and Drexel were present.

DEC. 6

Scholastic Play by Play Tip-Off
Calvert Hall (MD) 77 Haverford School 48
  This one did not go as expected. Calvert Hall of Towson, Maryland is a powerhouse from the Baltimore Catholic League and Haverford School is a powerhouse from the Inter-Academic League. Calvert Hall took control from the beginning and although the Fords competed hard they could not consistently challenge the squad from Baltimore.  The Cardinals were led by a trio of seniors; two dynamic wing scorers in Drew Edwards (Providence) and Nico Clareth, as well as 6-8 center Evan Phoenix (Central Connecticut State). Edwards had 15 points, Clareth had 11 and Phoenix bulled inside for 13 points. 6-7 junior Justin Gorham was a factor inside with 10 rebounds. The Fords are highly dependent on three scorers; 6’4 senior guard Levan Alston, 6’7 junior forward Lamar Stevens and 6’6 freshman guard Cameron Reddish. In fact the Fords’ “Big Three”’ tallied all 73 points in a four-point road victory over Public League powerhouse Imhotep Charter on Friday night. In this one the trio did much of the same and it was not until 6:53 of the 4th quarter in this one when senior forward Derek Mountain drained a “trey” that a player other than Alston, Stevens or Reddish, scored for Haverford. By the time of Mountain’s “trey”, the Cardinals had built a sizeable lead. With 4:30 of the 4th quarter Alston made a “trey” which gave him 1,000 points for his high school career! Alston finished with 16 points. Stevens added 14 and Reddish had 11 for 41 of the Fords 48 points. Alston, who is Temple bound, is fun to watch he is a tough guard with both point and two guard skills. Stevens is a warrior inside who can do more than just bang inside or dominate the baseline. Reddish is one of the nation’s top freshman players and has high upside as he is skilled enough to play the point at 6-6, he reminds me a little of Penny Hardaway. That is an impressive trio but that being said the Fords will not reach their potential as a team if the other players do not provide some assistance. The Fords have a third big-time match-up in three days with a Sunday game against Roman Catholic at Girard College in the 1st ever All-City Classic High School Showcase. It should be good.
  Table Talk- I was here for the first three games of the Tip-Off Classic. The first game I saw Life Center defeat Academy of New Church, 60-34, behind superb performances from guard Traci Carter (a South Philly native) and 6-8 forward Dennis Tunstall… It was great to see basketball scouts Tom Konchalski (HSBI), Allen Rubin (Hoopscoop) and Steve Keller (HoopGroup), in addition to event organizer Jeremy Treatman. Also, it was great to see some familiar assistant coaches; Charles “Shoob” Monroe (Haverford), Lamont Washington (Bartram) and the always animated Thomas “Hockey Puck” McKenna (Roman Catholic).
DEC. 6
Scholastic Play by Play Tip-Off
St. Joseph’s Prep 56   John Bartram High 32
  This matchup between the Philadelphia Catholic League’s St. Joseph’s Prep Hawks and the Philadelphia Public League’s John Bartram Braves was fun to watch. The Hawks were on top from the onset and were victorious by twenty-four points but Bartram competed non-stop. The Hawks were led by 6’4 swingman Chris Clover. Clover is an extremely efficient and effective scorer who does not appear to a classic “gunner”, as he does not seem to force shots. Today, Clover had 28 points and 13 rebounds. In regards to his efficiency he was twelve for thirteen from the free-throw line.  At the half the score was 30-14, SJP on top; Clover then scored two baskets to make the score 34-14 Hawks. Also with the scrappy Braves showing life by cutting the Hawks lead to fourteen, Clover made a tough transition lay-up while drawing the foul to make the score 45-29 with 2:06 remaining in the 3rd quarter. (Clover would then miss his only free throw. You can’t be perfect!) Aiding the Hawk effort was 5-11 senior point guard James McGovern who had 9 points and consistently displayed good ball-handling against the pesky guards of Bartram. Also playing a key role for Coach Speedy Morris was 6-5 junior forward Chris Montie who had 7 rebounds. Montie and fellow 6-5 junior Pete Gayhardt are big upfront for SJP. The Braves were led by 5-9 senior guard Shawn Bailey, who had 10 points and 2 steals.  The Braves had a tough time scoring against a stingy Prep defense, so no other Bartram player reached double figures. In time high-flying 6-4 junior Maurice Waters should be able to contribute more offensively, today he had only 6 points. Waters raised some eyebrows with his play in the fall at various venues.  
  Table Talk- This game should help both teams in their respective leagues; especially Bartram playing a game against a Speedy Morris coached side should help a team grow…Clover and Bailey were named team Most Valuable Players.

DEC. 5
Martin Luther King High 82 Sankofa Charter 28

  This one was 26-21 at the half and Sankofa even had brief leads of 14-13 and 17-16 before MLK went ballistic in the second half. The Cougars won the second half 56-7.  Senior guard Sammy Foreman scored all 22 of his points in the second half and led the onslaught. Also playing a key role was junior guard Jabri McCall who totaled 15 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists.  Senior guard Tyheem Harmon had 11 points and 5 assists. Foreman, McCall and Harmon (kinda sounds like a law firm) are a potent three-headed monster backcourt that can wreak havoc for opponents. In addition 6-8 Roxborough transfer Tyere Marshall showed flashes of being a capable scorer. When MLK really got it going, 6’6 forward Chase Rodgers (14 points) was playing real well and he should by key for the Cougars as well. The Warriors did not have a good game. 6’9 senior center Sophaun Brown was not able to do much against MLK but he shows potential as he runs the floor well and plays with aggressiveness. Junior guards Naseem Brown(10 points)  and Verland Wayns showed flashes of brilliance but Coach Isaiah Thomas has a lot of work to do because the Warriors don't appear to be tough or talented.
  Table Talk- There was an awesome atmosphere for a high school basketball game in this one, with a dee-jay playing some good music.