Jordan just does it for Vaux in win over MC&S

Posted: February 18, 2013

LET'S SAY Rysheed Jordan becomes a bust-out basketball star at Temple, St. John's or UCLA - they're the Final Three on his pared-down list of possible college destinations - and then enters the NBA.

Let's say he begins creating a buzz at that level and a national sneaker company wants to add him to its roster.

Here's a guess on that outfit's identity: Nike.

There are two people and one thing that Rysheed Jordan, the franchise guard for Roberts Vaux High, never wants to disobey. The people are his mother, Amina Robinson, and his coach, Jamie Ross, and the thing is the prominent tattoo on his chest.

It features the swoosh and these three words right above it: Just Do It.

Saturday night at South Philadelphia High, man, did Jordan - kinda like Michael - ever do it. Again and again and again, right to the very end.

In a classic Public League quarterfinal, which doubled as the Class A championship game, the 6-4, 185-pound Jordan treated a capacity crowd to 29 points, seven rebounds, five assists and four steals as Vaux edged Math, Civics & Sciences Charter, 23-1 and the Daily News' top-ranked city team, 62-61.

Jordan bagged nine of his points and 10 of his other stats in the fourth quarter, completely following these orders in the Basketball Handbook: Franchise players must be at their very best when it counts the most.

After Jordan sealed the win by swishing the second of two free throws at 0:01, he survived getting mauled by delirious, onrushing admirers and then, after sharing some celebration time with teammates/coaches in a hallway right outside the gym, made his way downstairs to the Cougars' locker room.

Off came his shirt. Out came the plea.

"Someone get me some water."

Maybe 15 seconds later, Jordan's mother arrived downstairs. She could tell 'Sheed was stressing and, thinking he was hyperventilating over the late-game drama, she patted his tummy, trying to calm him down.

"Nah," he said. "I'm OK [emotions-wise]. I just need something to drink."

Mom turned to go back upstairs. Presto, mere moments later, she handed Son a plastic bottle filled with water.

Gulp, gulp, gulp, gulp, gulp.

Ahhhhh . . . Much better.

"It was so hot in the gym," Jordan said. "It's hot down here, too. I was just feelin' it. My mouth was dry."

Though Jordan missed all four of his free-throw attempts through three quarters, he went 5-for-6 in the fourth.

His final two were lofted after his arm was grabbed at the end of a coast-to-coast dash that began with 4.7 seconds remaining and produced an attempt at a layup. Vaux called time at 4.7 after Jordan made a poke-it-away, recover-it steal.

His first free throw was a little long, kicking off the back of the rim.

"This was the first time in my life I had to finish off a game at the foul line," he said. "I always hit [floor] shots with the clock running down. But after the miss, I still had confidence."

As noteworthy as the game-winner was, two other free throws were even more impressive. They came at 10.7 after a 5-minute delay caused by spectators who left the south-end stands and tried to press against that baseline. Those along the west sideline did likewise and, like always in these situations, idle threats about not completing the game until everyone sat down came crackling over the PA system. Of course, almost no folks sat down. But at least they backed up.

"[The delay] actually let me catch my breath," Jordan said. "I wasn't that tired, but I was a little winded. I was going to make those shots. I really wanted to win."

When asked about the overall atmosphere, he said, "It was crazy. Lots of noise. People were screaming at me, telling me what to do. I had to focus on my coach [Jamie Ross], and just listen to him. Block out everything else."

Vaux overcame a seven-point deficit in the last 4:16. Among the big buckets were a trey by Lester Mattox (assist to Jordan) and a follow by Jordan that edged the Cougars within 60-59 at 0:26. Karon Snead then batted the ball off a Mighty Elephant at 0:17, but devastation momentarily took over when Britton Lee tied up Jordan on the left baseline, with the arrow favoring MC & S, at 14.5. Malik Starkes hit the second of two free throws at 0:13 to make it 61-59.

Amir Butler (10) also scored in double figures for Vaux and claimed eight rebounds. Sammy Foreman and Snead halved eight steals.

For MC & S, Shafeek Taylor (17), Starkes (15), Louis Myers (12) and Jeremiah "Lump" Worthem (11) paced the point parade and Quadir Welton snagged 10 rebounds.

Vaux, a former middle school at 23rd and Master, in North Philly, is in its seventh and likely final Pub season; it's slated to close in June. It only seems as if Jordan, who could run for mayor of the surrounding neighborhood (and would probably be unopposed), has been around for all seven.

He was the Cougars' leading scorer even as a freshman and now boasts 1,670 career points.

"My team believes in me. I have to do it," Jordan said. "When we were down, we kept working hard. Kept playing. Made shots. Made stops."

Merely following the tattoo's orders.

Other Quarterfinals/ Classification Finals

AA: At Southern, Communications Tech outlasted Constitution, 78-75, as David Johnson shot 9-for-11 (3-for-3 on treys) en route to 25 points and Samir Doughty added 10 rebounds to 15 points. Johnson hit two free throws with 4.9 seconds left and a last-second trey did not connect. Floyd Preito led ConHigh with 24 points (three treys) and five assists while Raheem Liggins claimed 11 rebounds. *  AAAA: At Franklin, Raquan Brown-Johnson (24) and Fa'Teem Glenn (21) led in scoring as King bested Bartram, 63-46, thus reaching the semifinals for just the fourth time in 37 seasons of PL membership. Glenn (also six rebounds and eight apiece of assists/steals) was especially a whirlwind after Bartram (Khayri Washington 16 points, James Suber nine rebounds) drew within 45-43.

AAA: At Franklin, Imhotep Charter used a 5-0 run over the final 70 seconds to trim Philadelphia Electrical & Technology Charter, 51-43. A steal and dunk by Brandon Austin was the highlight. Jakwan Jones scurried for 16 points and Dymir Logan snagged seven rebounds. Guard Hakeem Baxter (23 points, 11 boards) was dominant for PET.

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