Imhotep defeats Life Center in double-overtime thriller

MATTHEW HALL / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Imhotep's Basil Thompson drives in first half against Life Center.
MATTHEW HALL / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Imhotep's Basil Thompson drives in first half against Life Center.
Posted: January 22, 2014

AN UNCOMFORTABLE blend of heat and tension frequently emanated from the court at Imhotep Charter yesterday. Maybe it was the packed, enthusiastic crowd on hand for the Martin Luther King Day tripleheader showcase at 21st and Godfrey.

Or, maybe it was just the double-overtime thriller played by host Imhotep and visiting Life Center Academy from Burlington, N.J.

Whatever it was, the scene even taxed former NBA center "Never Nervous" Pervis Ellison, now Life Center's head coach.

"Do y'all always crank the heat up in here?" he said playfully to the crowd during a third-quarter stretch. "It's like the Boston Garden in here."

Behind a pair of game-winning free throws by junior forward Sean Lloyd, the Panthers (12-4) toppled Ellison's crew, 65-63, in the nonleague matchup.

Lloyd's pair of singles with 21.3 remaining did the trick, but an overall, team effort claimed victory.

Basil Thompson, a Saint Francis (Pa.) signee, finished with a team-best 18 points coupled with 18 rebounds. An impressive feat for the 6-6 senior forward because at 7-2, LC center Trayvon Reed (Maryland) had just six rebounds to go with 12 points. Reed did, however, block 10 shots.

"Just attack," Thompson said of his mindset. "I knew my family was here watching so I had to show out for my school and show what I can do."

After a 13-5 Life Center run stole momentum in the third quarter, Lloyd scored six of his 13 (4-for-5, 4-for-7 from the foul line) in the fourth, and senior captain Jakwan Jones used a gorgeous reverse layup to avoid Reed and give the Panthers a 52-51 lead with 32.5 left.

Sophomore Jaekwon Carlyle extended the advantage with two freebies off the bench with 30 seconds remaining.

Eventually, Malik Ellison (23 points, five assists, three steals) brought his dad some relief with a banked-in triple from the left wing to force bonus ball.

"It was a war," said Imhotep coach Andre Noble. "I told my guys that we didn't do everything great today, but we absolutely warred. When that bank-shot three went in, it would have been easy for high school kids to be like 'al ight, we lost.' "

Imhotep senior captain Devin Liggeons (14 points, 4-for-16) scored the Panthers' only three points in the first overtime, while Reed scored LC's three.

Lloyd, who transferred in from the Haverford School before this season, was upended in overtime No. 2, and crashed violently on his right, shooting elbow. He stayed face down on the floor, kicking his highlighter-orange sneakers on the ground, until he eventually collected himself.

The first splashed through, no rim. The second gently kissed the back iron on its way through.

"We gave him our outstanding player because he came out and sealed those," Noble said of Lloyd. "And, because he's been up and down as a free-throw shooter, we're thinking about making him fall on the floor before he shoots free throws from now on."

Thompson, 18, who lives in South Philly's Kingsessing area, bounced from Roman Catholic as a freshman to Math, Civics and Sciences as a sophomore, but has spent the last 2 years at Imhotep.

"This is where I belong," he said. "Everybody plays together, everybody gets along."

Noble said what makes his team dangerous is its ability for multiple players to lead.

"Somethings didn't go right, but we kept warring," Noble said, "and that's what you have to do if you're going to be successful in the playoffs."

Behind 19 points from senior guard Larenz Thurman, Philadelphia Electrical and Technology beat Penn Wood, 61-56, in game No. 2 yesterday. Frankford beat Sankofa, 48-45, in the first game. Senior guard Aaron McFarlan led the Pioneers with 15.

In the Hoop Hall Classic in Springfield, Mass., Ss. Neumann-Goretti fell to the No. 2 ranked team in the nation ( Mater Dei (Calif.), 79-67.

On Twitter: @AceCarterDN

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