Jefferson, Cassidy lift FCS

Posted: January 21, 2012

Amile Jefferson has yet to make a much-awaited decision about where he will play college basketball. And Billy Cassidy, his first-year teammate at Friends' Central, says he doesn't know any more about it than the next guy.

"I do ask him from time to time," Cassidy said. "But he hasn't said anything, at least not to me. I would like to see him go to Duke or Temple. I think those two schools fit his playing style the best."

Saturday, in the 12th annual Kobe Bryant Philly.com/Rally Classic, Cassidy and Jefferson combined for 39 points as the Phoenix, ahead by as many as 23 points, downed Penn Wood, 74-67, at Lower Merion's Bryant Gymnasium.

Cassidy, who came over from soon-to-be-shuttered Monsignor Bonner-Archbishop Prendergast, shot 5 for 7 from the field (3 for 5 from beyond the arc) and 2 for 2 from the line en route to 15 points.

"He has a high basketball IQ, is a great shooter, and he's been handling the ball more for us lately," Friends' Central coach Jason Polykoff said.

The 5-foot-9, 150-pound Cassidy, who added five rebounds and two assists, was the floor general at Bonner.

"I like playing point guard better than the wing," the 18-year-old said. "You're more involved in the game, and I like to create opportunities for my teammates."

With 24 points and 14 rebounds, including four on offense, the 6-8 Jefferson garnered team Most Valuable Player honors.

In addition to Duke and Temple, the blue-chip recruit is considering Ohio State, North Carolina State, Kentucky, and Villanova. Temple's Fran Dunphy was among the spectators Saturday.

"He just creates so many things for our team," Cassidy said. "If he's double-teamed, he kicks the ball out to one of us. If he's not doubled, he's usually going to score or get fouled."

Of the future demise of Bonner-Prendergast, Cassidy said, "Yeah, that's rough. It's a tight community. I definitely feel for them."

Spurred by Jefferson, who posted 16 points and nine boards in the first half, the Phoenix (12-4) led, 32-21, at the break.

In the third quarter, a 15-2 run, capped by Pedro Rangel's second three-pointer, put the Patriots in a 50-27 hole.

Over the final eight minutes, with Penn Wood (8-5) fouling at every chance, the teams shot a combined 38 foul shots. Friends' Central was 15 for 25 from the line in the frame and 21 for 39 overall.

"That's the only way we can play right now," Patriots coach Clyde Jones said. "That's the only way we can make up for poor offense and poor shot selection."

For Penn Wood, which was 3 for 20 on three-pointers, team MVP Jerry Price scored 26 points and Malcolm Richardson added 13, with 10 rebounds.

Penn Wood   9 12 14 32 – 67

Friends' Central   18 14 23 19 – 74

PW: Jerry Price 26, Malcolm Richardson 13, Quardiar Sewell 6, Tyree Bynum 7, Dahmere Mincy 4, Harven Auguste 5, Cory Broach 4, Corey Foster 2.

FC: Karonn Davis 8, Billy Cassidy 15, Amile Jefferson 24, Pedro Rangel 10, Conrad Chambers 9, Jonathan Lawton 6, Max Ginsberg 2.


Contact staff writer Rick O'Brien at 610-313-8019, robrien@phillynews.com, or @ozoneinq on Twitter. Read his blog, "The O'Zone," at www.philly.com/ozone

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