"I take my hat off to [Sankofa coach] Isaiah Thomas and his team," said Jackson, whose squad committed 20 turnovers. "One or two more players, and they win that game."
With the 56-50 lead, the Mighty Elephants, who collected 21 rebounds on the offensive end, used a 6-0 spurt to clinch the harder-than-anticipated victory.
"I knew about Sankofa's history in the state playoffs," MC&S senior forward Jeremiah "Lump" Worthem said. "They have a bunch of guys who leave it all out on the floor. They never give up."
Next for Worthem and company is a Tuesday semifinal, at a neutral site and time to be determined, against Public League Division A rival Vaux. The Cougars downed District 1 champ Church Farm in another quarterfinal Friday.
The 6-foot-6, 230-pound Worthem, who is bound for Robert Morris, paced the Mighty Elephants (26-2) with 25 points, 10 rebounds, and four steals.
"It was a dogfight," Worthem said. "We're happy with the win. We're going back to the final four."
Senior lead guard Britton Lee, who will join Worthem at Robert Morris, contributed 15 points, including six in the final eight minutes. He also had four boards and two blocks.
Lee played his first three seasons at Roman Catholic.
"I give Sankofa a lot of credit," the 5-11, 180-pounder said. "They brought a lot of energy. I thought it was going to be an easy win."
Two minutes into the second quarter, MC&S was comfortably in front, 31-13. Sparked by junior guard Anthony Downing, the Warriors (16-12) cut the deficit to 37-30 by intermission.
"I knew [Downing] was their best player," Worthem said. "We tried to rough him up as much as we could and take him out of the game."
Downing and senior reserve guard Tydeus Ellison paced Sankofa, which trailed by 50-44 late in the third, with 16 and 15 points, respectively.
Senior guard Shafeek Taylor, another Roman transfer, aided MC&S with six rebounds and five assists.
Math, Civics & Sci. 20 17 15 19 – 71
Sankofa Freedom 11 19 14 15 – 59
MC&S: Britton Lee 15, Shafeek Taylor 3, Quadir Welton 6, Jeremiah Worthem 25, Tyrese Hester 3, Jeffon Powell 5, Louis Myers 10, Maurice Stevens 3, Tyheem Harmon 1.
SF: Dache Talbert 1, Anthony Downing 16, Sophaun Brown 6, James Jefferson 2, Shyheim Ladson 4, Tydeus Ellison 15, Luis Martinez 4, Juwan Milliner 11.
Contact Rick O'Brien at email@example.com. Follow @ozoneinq on Twitter. Read his blog, "The O'Zone," at www.philly.com/ozone