Greenlee hits 1,000 points in Boys' Latin playoff win

Posted: March 09, 2012

By TED SILARY

Daily News Staff Writer

The march to 1,000 points began with a sprint.

Even then, there was no guarantee Yahmir Greenlee would be able to begin it on time.

Maybe 15 minutes before Boys' Latin Charter was to play Pope John Paul II, of Royersford, in the first round of the PIAA Class AAA state playoffs Friday night at Southern High, scorekeeper Joe Dunn, also BL's baseball coach and athletic director, revealed that Greenlee, a 5-9, 150-pound junior guard, would not be starting due to a "lateness issue."

A fresh one, at that.

The Warriors, all traveling on their own, had been told to report to Southern 1 hour before the 6 o'clock tipoff. Greenlee arrived at 5:40.

Uh, oh.

"I have no excuse for that. My fault," Greenlee said. "If coach [Maurice Watson Sr.] had decided to sit me, I would have been OK with that. I deserved [punishment]."

Didn't happen. Thanks to Watson's late change of heart, Greenlee strolled onto the court with the other four starters and contributed 15 points as BL coasted, 70-49.

No. 10 lifted his career total to exactly 1,000. The junior lefty, a combo guard, reached that plateau on a steal/layup combo 2 minutes, 20 seconds before halftime.

Greenlee, of course, knew he needed 10 points entering the contest, but claimed ignorance concerning the big moment itself.

The light clicked when star senior guard Maurice Watson Jr., a Boston University commit, tapped Greenlee on the head from behind and offered congratulations.

"That's when I knew," Greenlee said. "Any way to get to 1,000 would have been cool, but I liked that way because it came off defense."

Now, about the sprint . . . 

BL dismissed its students at 2 o'clock Friday and Watson advised the players to head home for some down time before showing up at Southern. BL is in West Philadelphia and Greenlee lives in Germantown.

"My cousin drove me down here," Greenlee said. "We came down Kelly Drive to Center City, then took Broad Street from there. Traffic was brutal. Still no excuse. We should have left earlier. I was thinking, 'We're not gonna make it in time. I'm gonna be late [for the tipoff].' So, when we got within a block of here, I got out of the car and ran the rest of the way."

Greenlee's special bucket made it 27-8. The score after one quarter was 14-2 and the Golden Panthers, whose starting lineup included two players (Jamel Stinson, Brent Mahoney) from now-defunct Kennedy-Kenrick, in Norristown, finished the first 8 minutes 1-for-13 from the floor.

After the game, outside BL's basement locker room, Watson Sr. used a magic marker to scribble Greenlee's name and the details on the ball. He then presented it to him in the locker room and one of the Warriors rubbed Yahmir's head.

"Cut that out, man," Greenlee said, laughing. "Might be bacteria on that hand."

Greenlee is the second member of BL's squad to reach 1,000 career points. As most folks know, Watson Jr. is way past that total (2,310) and now ranks as the second-leading scorer in city history to 2003 Strawberry Mansion grad Maureece Rice (2,681).

Also, senior small forward Carlos Taylor is approaching the doorstep. The UMass-Lowell signee tallied 20 points and his number stands at 969. Of course, every game could be the Warriors' last. A surge to the state final would mean four more.

When asked how long he'd originally intended to bench Greenlee, Watson Sr. cracked, "Until the first dead ball."

He added, "Nah, it could have been the first 4 minutes or it could have been much shorter than that, depending on how things were going."

Greenlee said he reached the milestone much earlier than most players "because of my aggression and passion." He also noted, "It's pretty amazing to get it as a junior."

Watson Jr., blending brass and composure throughout, perhaps enjoyed his best outing of the season. He missed just two shots from the floor while totaling 23 points; he also had six rebounds, eight assists and six steals.

Taylor and Greenlee added eight and six rebounds, respectively. Eric Lark, the football quarterback, claimed five.

For PJPII, coached by K-K's final boss, Jack Flanagan, Kyle Early (14) and Mahoney (13) scored in double digits. Its fans could relate to Greenlee's travel miseries. The first bus transporting cheerleaders and students didn't arrive until 2 minutes into the second quarter. The rest of the kids scurried in 2 1/2 game-minutes later.

Send email to silaryt@phillynews.com. Online high school coverage at philly.com/rally.

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