Constitution High tops West Catholic in AA playoff action

ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Martin Luther King coach Sean Colson directs his team in the second quarter against Roman Catholic in the District 12 Class AAAA title game at Saint Joseph's University. Roman won, 58-55. Read all about it at www.philly.com
ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Martin Luther King coach Sean Colson directs his team in the second quarter against Roman Catholic in the District 12 Class AAAA title game at Saint Joseph's University. Roman won, 58-55. Read all about it at www.philly.com
Posted: March 02, 2014

CONSTITUTION HIGH head coach Rob Moore stood in an alcove inside the visiting team's locker room at Saint Joseph's University holding his 2-year-old daughter as he fielded questions from reporters.

Maybe it was the cuteness of her dimpled face or the Generals' 68-52 triumph over West Catholic that had the ultra-competitive coach feeling lighthearted, but when asked about junior guard Kimar Williams, sarcasm nearly dripped out of Moore's mouth.

"When he came in he was, like, 5 feet tall," Moore joked. "I have a picture of him when he was in ninth grade . . . He [wasn't] much bigger than my daughter."

"But he grew about a foot in 2 1/2 years of high school, and you can see the definition [in his arms] now. He'll definitely focus a lot on conditioning and strength in the summer. It's going to take him and Ahmad [Gilbert] and Chad [Andrews] to the next level we need to be at next year."

Moore was talking about contending in the Public League playoffs next season. For now anyway, his 6-1 guard did just fine.

In Game 1 of a city championship tripleheader at Saint Joseph's, Williams took home MVP honors and helped the Generals (23-5) to the Class AA/District 12 city title, with 24 points on 7-for-10 shooting and 4-for-6 from three.

Growth spurts aside for Williams and ConHigh, Moore is now looking for a member of his squad to mature into a consistent leader, especially with the Generals having earned a top-seed in the PIAA state tournament.

"That's been the million-dollar question all season," said Moore, adding that Haneef Vaughn and Lincoln Kpokuyou have been defensive leaders. "But I'm looking for those other guys to really step up into that leadership role. They do it in spurts, but just not all the time."

Gilbert, a 6-6 junior, finished with 11 points (4-for-7, 2-for-2 free throws) and eight rebounds, but was saddled with first-half foul trouble. Vaughn, a junior guard, coupled his eight points (4-for-4) with some sticky defense. Kpokuyou finished with five points and a pair of steals. Andrews added four points, four boards and a block.

But, after ConHigh lost its grip on what was once a 24-8 second-quarter lead, it was Williams who came alive late. And although their shooting percent was poor, 24-for-39 (61.5 percent) from the foul line didn't hurt.

Jahmil Harris paced the Burrs (11-12) with 11 points, 12 rebounds and five assists. Devonta Peterie and Jalil Branch netted 10 points apiece. West Catholic shot only 17-for-27 (62.9 percent) from the line.

The Burrs scratched and clawed to get within 26-18 at intermission and got within 30-27 before Williams buried a triple midway through the frame. Gilbert and Kpokuyou also followed with threes, and by quarter's end, the Generals were back in control, 43-32.

"I feels kind of good being a leader," said Williams, the team's leading playoff scorer at 15.1 per game. "But sometimes we need other people to lead, so throughout games, different people have been leading. I guess in this game I was leading today."

Williams, who lives near Frankford (2nd and Singer), is comfortable with his team's lead-by-committee approach. Gilbert, the Generals leading regular-season scorer has averaged 12.1 in the playoffs.

"I think it kind of helps us, because it's not just one person," Williams said. "There are multiple people, so it's kind of good."

In another game

* Ss. Neumann-Goretti (22-4) dominated Philadelphia Electrical and Technology Charter (16-10), 69-55, in AAA action behind 26 points by senior guard Ja'Quan Newton. Seniors Troy Harper and Jamal Custis added 15 and 13, respectively.


On Twitter: @AceCarterDN

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