Constitution High's Jones has another big day against MC&S

Posted: February 19, 2012

IN THE age-old debate over neighboring South Philly cheesesteak establishments, Fajion Jones goes with Geno's. At least he did on Jan. 17, when he wanted to celebrate a loss by his Constitution High basketball team.

Don't think poorly of Jones, a 6-3, 185-pound senior forward. He deserved to celebrate.

Jan. 17 was the day ConHigh, as it's called, played Philadelphia Electrical & Technology Charter in a Public League Division A game without four of its starters. Coach Rob Moore turned them into spectators because, in assorted ways, they'd been acting like hoops knuckleheads.

Jones got to play because, "He always does everything I ask him to do," as Moore put it Saturday.

The coach made that statement at Southern High after the Generals pasted Math, Civics & Sciences Charter, 72-51, in a Pub quarterfinal that also served as the Class A championship game.

On Jan. 17? In a 58-56 setback, all Jones did was explode for 26 points and 18 rebounds while mostly being surrounded by small freshmen and sophomores who mostly see little action, if any.

"That was a big day," Jones said. "I surprised myself a lot. I mostly worry about rebounds. To have that many against a team with a couple of 6-8 Division I prospects [[Jai Williams, David George]], it meant a lot to me. It made me really confident.

"When guys aren't there, you have to show up even more. It motivated me to play even harder. It showed me I could play in college, at least as a role player.

"My father, Sylvester Jones, was at the game. He was pretty excited with how nice I played. He said, 'You really went strong. We need to go celebrate!' And then we went to Geno's."

This time, Fajion (fay-john), a lefty, shot 7-for-12 and 4-for-7 for 18 points and snagged 10 rebounds while working in perfect frontcourt harmony with uber-star Savon Goodman (24 points, six dunks, 14 rebounds, six assists).

Understandably, Goodman drew major defensive attention. The constant double-teams left someone unguarded so Jones and fellow forward Craig "Poppy" Slade merely hopped into open spots and produced.

Until Slade wound up making a trip to the hospital, that is. Two minutes before halftime, Slade fell hard while taking a charge. And there went an upper front tooth, bouncing along the north-end baseline. Slade also suffered a lacerated lip and a mop, not just a towel, was needed to clean up the blood.

In the second half, mindful that overtime had been necessary to decide the teams' first meeting (ConHigh won, 76-66), spectators no doubt expected a rush by MC & S and then some kind of classic finish. Never happened.

"I had the mind-set that we'd be on top the whole way," said Jones, who lives near 24th and Mifflin and wants to major in accounting. "When you do that, you get results like today's."

Guards Tamir Bolger (10) and Daiquan Walker (eight) fleshed out the Generals' scoring while Walker added six assists. Jeremiah "Lump" Worthem and Malik Starkes halved 30 points for MC & S and sub Jeffon Powell claimed 10 rebounds.

Rebounds. Ah, there's Fajion Jones' favorite word again.

"Box out. Go to that rim," he said, smiling. "That's my job. Actually, we like to push it from rim to rim because after we get the rebounds, we're looking for outlet passes."

A month ago, he was looking for a celebratory cheesesteak.

"I learned a lot that day," he said. "Just because I was out there with the younger guys, I couldn't put my head down."

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