First rain, then Imhotep pours it on

STEVEN M. FALK / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Imhotep's Jakwan Jones dives over Frankford's Bamba Jaye in a fight for a loose ball during yesterday's game.
STEVEN M. FALK / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Imhotep's Jakwan Jones dives over Frankford's Bamba Jaye in a fight for a loose ball during yesterday's game.
Posted: January 10, 2014

FEW THINGS halt a high school basketball game like precipitation falling from inside the gym.

What started as overwhelmed pipes spewing steam from behind the bleachers inside Frankford High yesterday eventually yielded what looked like raindrops falling from the ceiling as the steam returned to liquid form.

The result: Imhotep Charter and host Frankford would have to share a bus back to the Panthers' place on 21st and Godfrey for their scheduled 3:15 p.m. Public A matchup.

After a quiet trip and a quick warmup, a referee's quip just before tipoff (around 4:45 p.m.) said it all.

"Only in the Pub, my man . . . only in the Pub."

The day's second-best one-liner came courtesy of Frankford athletic director Jack Creighton just after both teams poured onto the bus. "Hey, think we can get a Zamboni in here?"

With that as the backdrop, could you expect a Picasso-performance from either bunch?

The Panthers (8-3, 2-1) eventually prevailed, 63-37, but both hoops were largely barren in a sloppy and disjointed first half.

But, hey, Imhotep point guard Jakwan Jones is no stranger to the bounce-back.

Jones scored 11 of his team-best 13 points in the second half. He finished 4-for-7 from the field and 4-for-4 at the line.

The 5-10 senior missed his entire sophomore year after breaking his left tibia during a pickup game. Then, last June, his recruitment may have been hindered when his AAU team no longer had enough players to field a team.

"Last year was my first year playing actually," Jones said. "Coming out, there was a little bit of nerves, but this year I'm more focused and comfortable with it. I'm ready to go out here in my last year and make it strong."

The only thing strong about yesterday's first 16 minutes were the numerous clanged jumpers by both sides. The Pioneers (3-7, 0-3) were the "hot" ones, shooting at a 8-for-28 clip from the field (32 percent) and 2-for-7 (28.6 percent) from trey.

Imhotep was a pungent 5-for-24 (20 percent) and 1-for-14 (7 percent) from three.

"It was a bunch of confusion," Jones said. "Having them on our bus on the way over, we didn't have any words for them and they didn't have any words for us. Both teams got off to a slow start, but after the first half, we picked it up a little bit and finished the game off well."

For the game, Imhotep finished 18-for-59 (30 percent).

Junior wing Devin Liggeons finished with 12 (5-for-13, 1-for-3 from trey). Senior forward Deion Evans grabbed nine rebounds. Talented junior wing Sean Lloyd tallied 11 with eight boards, but his seven first-half points helped the Panthers to a 22-20 lead at intermission.

Frankford shot 14-for-49 (28.6 percent) in the game. Quadire Truesdale scored 14 points on 5-for-14 shooting (3-for-4 from trey). Junior forward Ladji Fofana netted nine points, eight boards and four blocks.

A 14-3 Imhotep run in the third seized control.

"Shooting [poorly] in the first half, coach [Andre Noble] made sure we attacked the rim more because they weren't really stopping us," Jones said. "We were just taking unforced shots."

The second-half script-flip paid dividends.

Jones penetrated while overly frisky Pioneer guards reached instead of staying in front. He also added five rebounds and three assists (all second half).

The Panthers launched just two second-half triples (makes by Jones and Jaekwon Carlyle apiece).

Even if they missed, senior big man Basil Thompson (eight points, eight boards) was there to clean up. Actually, Thompson missed a two-handed put-back attempt in the third. He atoned later with a two-fisted flush after a nice pass from freshman guard Daron Russell.

With a talented squad at his fingertips, Jones said he doesn't feel any pressure. After all, he started in last season's 67-66 Pub title win against now-closed Roberts Vaux.

Basketball has always been his love. The 17-year-old grew up mimicking NBA stars (Allen Iverson and Chris Paul) at the Mallery Recreation Center, which is now the Daniel E. Rumph II Recreation Center.

Now, Jones lives at home (19th and Church Lane) with his mom and siblings, both Imhotep grads.

Jones is also hoping to find college suitors. With a 3.0 GPA, he's even contemplating sports management ("to stay close to the game").

"I'm just the type of guy that wants to play no matter what," Jones said. "Basketball is in my heart. It's my passion. I just want to play for as long as I can."

Notes

Yesterday's contest between Philadelphia Electrical & Tech Charter and Martin Luther King will be rescheduled after King didn't show up for the scheduled 3:15 contest. Public League basketball chairman Ben Dubin said there was a scheduling mix-up. The game will be rescheduled.


On Twitter: @AceCarterDN

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