Jones protects the rim for Carroll

Posted: February 28, 2014

IF YOU SHOOT it wrong, chances are that Derrick Jones will send it long. The Archbishop Carroll forward has earned a reputation as one of the city's nastiest dunkers, but his strongest suit might be his ability to block shots.

At 6-6 with long arms and spring to spare, Jones is a threat to any would-be basket attacker. In last night's District 12 PIAA seeding game, Jones blocked Imhotep's first offering and added three more later, en route to a 53-37 Carroll victory.

"That's what got him on the court as a freshman," Carroll coach Paul Romanczuk said postgame. "It was just his ability to protect the rim and block shots for us."

Now a junior, Jones also added 18 points (7-for-16) and 13 rebounds last night for the Patriots (21-4), who earned a No. 3 seed in the state playoffs. Imhotep, which played without junior forwards Sean Lloyd and Devin Liggeons (wrist injuries), will be the fourth seed.

Ah, blocks are nice, but certainly the younger generation values dunks more, right?

"The big block," Jones said, "because you're stopping the other team from scoring. And on the other end, we have a lot of scorers on this team so I know they can go down there and get a bucket."

That is typically true for an explosive offensive Carroll squad. However, for large chunks last night, Jones carried the load. In fact, he was the only Patriot to hit a free throw all game. He went 4-for-8, while the rest of the team went 0-for-6. But who needs singles when you can hit triples?

After the Panthers (20-6) ended the second quarter with a 10-0 run that knotted the game at 20 by intermission, Carroll scored 14 unanswered to start the third with four coming from distance. Senior guard Joe Mostardi (2-for-4 overall) drained a pair, while senior guard Austin Tilghman (seven points, 1-for-2 threes) and junior wing Samir Taylor (10 points, 2-for-3 treys) each netted one. In all, the Patriots went 4-for-14 from the foul line (28 percent), but 5-for-12 (42 percent) from three.

For his part, Jones started the third quarter much like he did the first - with a come-from-out-of-nowhere block that set a defensive tone.

"It's the timing, but you also have to be able to jump high because most guards put the ball up real high, and if you can't jump high, you can't get it," Jones said.

Imhotep didn't grab its first second-half field goal until Jakwan Jones' steal and layup with 1:42 left in the set. The Panthers' Jones was the only scorer in double figures with 10 on 4-for-16 shooting. He also added eight rebounds, five assists and four steals. Dymir Logan added eight boards and a block. Imhotep also shot just 3-for-8 at the foul line with Basil Thompson (3-for-4) the only player to hit.

For Carroll, Ernest Aflakpui secured 16 rebounds and Tilghman added seven assists.

As for Derrick Jones, who lives in Chichester, he is aware he still needs to work on the finer points of his game and not just rely on athleticism alone (he did land two huge dunks last night). Jones (1,018) scored his 1,000th point in a semifinal loss to eventual Catholic League champion Ss. Neumann-Goretti. He said college clamor has come from the likes of Kansas and Kentucky.

"I'm working on my outside shooting and my ball handling because I might be a wing [in college]."

So, what is the key to becoming consistent from outside?

"Just repetition. Making sure the ball comes off the same two fingers every single time. And just be in the gym every day, shooting."


On Twitter: @AceCarterDN

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