Communications Tech surprises Imhotep

Posted: February 14, 2012

This season was not what Communications Tech senior Tony Parker had in mind. Until now.

Parker broke his left foot in December and was out of action until six games ago. Making up for lost time, Parker led a comeback in the final quarter and the Phoenix stunned host Imhotep Charter, 66-61, in a District 12 Class AA boys' basketball semifinal and Public League second-round playoff game Tuesday.

Communications Tech (17-8) will play Vaux, a 77-64 winner over Del-Val Charter, for the district Class AA title Saturday at a time and place to be determined.

With the loss, the Panthers (16-8), the defending PIAA Class AA state champions, will be unable to win their fourth straight Public League title. They still have a chance to earn one of five spots that District 12 will get in the state tournament.

The Phoenix also avenged a 57-51 loss to Imhotep on Jan. 31.

The Panthers grabbed the lead in the second quarter and built their largest advantage, 37-26, when Shakur Nesmith drained a thunderous dunk with 6 minutes, 36 seconds left in the third quarter.

Imhotep held the lead into the fourth quarter, but Parker and company hung tough and were within striking distance over the final five minutes.

"We needed to slow down," Parker said, "because every time we were rushing, we came up with a bad play and we forced a bad shot. So coach [Lou Biester] told us, 'Slow it down, we're going to get an open shot,' and everything came together."

With 5:10 left in the game, Nigel Grant converted a layup to give the Panthers a 56-49 lead, but the Phoenix cranked up the heat.

Over the next 4:52, Communications Tech went on a 17-5 run to take control. With 1:51 remaining, Kevin Brown tied the game at 58 with a driving layup and Parker gave his team the lead for good, 60-58, with a layup with 1:02 on the clock.

"We knew we could beat them," Parker said. "We really could win if everybody kept pushing, everybody kept playing."

Khyree Wooten (19 points) had a chance to tie the game for Imhotep, but his shot missed the mark. Brown hit a free throw with 24 seconds left, and Parker nailed two more with 15 seconds remaining for a 63-58 Phoenix lead.

Brandon Austin (16 points) missed a shot for the Panthers. Terrence Brown, who scored a game-high 22 points, grabbed the rebound and sank two free throws with 7.1 seconds left to ice the game.

Austin nailed a long three-pointer with two seconds left to close the gap to 65-61, but Parker, with a wide smile on his face, knocked down a free throw with 1.5 seconds left to send Communications Tech back to Southwest Philadelphia with a hard-earned victory.

"We fought all year," Biester said. "All year. We had close losses, but these guys never gave up. We just didn't give up. These guys are fighters.

"[Parker] worked so hard. It's a testament to him. He was our hardest worker. He's a force."

Communications Tech   11151822-66

Imhotep Charter   10231711-61

CT: Briheam Anthony 11, Hyking Brisbon 2, Kevin Brown 7, Terrence Brown 22, Samir Doughty 3, Basil Malik 5, Terrell Parker 6, Tony Parker 10.

IC: Brandon Austin 16, Greg Bennett 4, Nigel Grant 9, Kamani Jordan 6, Devin Liggeons 2, Jalil Myers 3, Shakur Nesmith 2, Khyree Wooten 19.


Contact Joe Fite at rallysports@phillynews.com.

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