Derrick Jones leads Carroll in second-round AAA victory

Posted: March 13, 2013

FOUR YEARS AGO, those folks who routinely arrived quite late for youth basketball games involving Derrick Jones must have thought he was the worst player ever.

Even in blowouts, he'd stay nailed to the bench.

Reason?

"I used to foul out of almost every game," he said, smiling.

Jones, a 6-6, 185-pound sophomore forward for Archbishop Carroll High, long has been able to imitate guys on pogo sticks. And now, he doesn't add the tactics of a mixed martial arts fighter.

Tuesday night, Carroll traveled to Colonial Elementary School, at the back of a property that includes Plymouth-Whitemarsh High, to meet Pope John Paul II of Royersford in the second round of the PIAA Class AAA state tournament.

And the event turned into . . . the Derrick Jones Show.

With 16 points, 20 rebounds and nine blocked shots in the Patriots' 57-40 victory, the lefty took a hard sniff of an unusual triple double.

The best thing was, Jones already owned one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight rejections by the time he incurred his first personal foul.

"I've only fouled out once this season," he said. "Once all last season, too."

Ah, there's nothing like someone who's willing to listen and learn.

"I could always jump," Jones said. "But I'd only get maybe four blocks [in youth games], because I was always in so much foul trouble. I had to pay attention to the right way to do it.

"You have to jump away from people, so you don't foul them, but still have the right timing. You have to trust your jumping ability, so that even if you wait, you'll be able to get up there and block the ball. In these state playoffs, making sure you don't bump people is even more important because they tend to call things tighter."

Incredibly, Jones was pretty sure he'd notched all nine blocks in help situations.

"That can really add a nice element to our defense," he said. "Because maybe the guy thinks he'll be able to get off a clean shot, then someone else comes out of nowhere to block it.

"Those blocks give me a lot of satisfaction, because I know how much they help our team. I really like the ones when I can jump out and block a three-point attempt."

Early, it appeared Carroll might be headed for an all-time frolic.

Nick Jones (no relation) scored right off the tap. Joe Mostardi's sticky defense forced a 5-second call. D. Jones flushed a miss by teammate Ernest Aflakpui. N. Jones scored a fastbreak bucket on a pass from Aflakpui. Aflakpui converted a follow. Aflakpui took a dump-it-in feed from D. Jones and made it 10-0.

PJP didn't score until Jamel Stinson uncorked an up-and-under move with 2:15 to go in the quarter.

Soon, the count was 15-5, and Carroll's student rooters bellowed, "It's too easy! It's too easy!"

The Patriots increased their domination by ringing up a 7-2 edge before the buzzer sounded, and the capper was a last-second trey by sub Armand Sorrentino.

OK, so Carroll stormed to 22 points in 8 minutes . . . then sputtered to 13 over the next 16.

"We had such a large lead, it was like everybody got too comfortable. I know I did," D. Jones said. "We should have kept playing the way we were. Really pushed hard, so there was no way they could come back on us.

"I knew I we weren't going to mess things up, though."

PJP performed the chip-away act quite well and charged within 33-30 late in the third quarter as Brent Mahoney - like Stinson, he was a varsity player for now-defunct Kennedy-Kenrick in that school's final season, 2009-10 - ran in hard along the right baseline, caught an airballed trey and wolfed down a dunk.

In an all-Jones response to end the quarter, N. hit D. for a low-post field goal. The Patriots got back to their dominant selves in the fourth.

Nick Jones (10) was Carroll's only other double-figure scorer, but three others (Aflakpui, Sorrentino, Yosef Yacob) posted eight points, and Mostardi notched seven. Aflakpui edged Yacob, the point guard, in rebounds, 8-7, and N. Jones dealt five assists.

Mahoney (13) and Stinson (eight) led the Golden Panthers, who are coached by K-K's final boss, Jack Flanagan.

Jones, whose older brother, Lakeem, played for Chichester High, is not only a local budding legend. ESPN considers him the nation's 13th-best sophomore prospect.

"That means a lot to me," he said. "You have to bring it every day. But at the same time, you have to play your game and not try to do too much."

Sixteen points, 20 rebounds, nine blocks. That'll suffice.

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