Long-armed, lithe leapers are what Imhotep has in bunches on its basketball team, so it’s quite noticeable when a 6-foot-4, 245-pound bruiser steps onto the court.
Marquise Greenwood, who doubles as a lineman and tight end on the Panthers football team, didn’t play a starring role in Tuesday’s 61-54 Public League victory at Mastery North, but the transfer from Norristown used physicality to stabilize Imhotep’s shorthanded interior.
“I knew i wasn’t going to play that much because I just came on the team and didn’t know much,” Greenwood said, “but I knew one day I’d get my shine and show them what I could actually do.”
Senior guard Bernard Lightsey led the Panthers (9-3) with 13 points and also hit timely late three-pointers. Sophomore 6-8 forward Elijah Taylor added 10 points and 11 rebounds.
The Panthers, however, played without their standout 6-7 junior forward Donta Scott, who was on the bench but not in uniform because he recently ran afoul of coach Andre Noble.
Imhotep also lost Chereef Knox, another long-armed 6-6 junior forward, when he fouled out late in the third quarter with the Panthers ahead by 16 points. Knox finished with eight points, seven rebounds and four blocks.
The resulting shift in momentum led to a slimmer 39-29 edge as the final frame began.
That’s when Greenwood grabbed six of his seven rebounds and added four points to push the lead back to 15.
“I think this is probably the first time he’s meaningfully played,” said Noble, who added that Greenwood has been a great teammate. “I thought he did some good things out there: drew a charge, got some tough rebounds …”
Toughness comes naturally for Greenwood and has perhaps been a touch repressed in practice against his thinner teammates.
“Sometimes I take it easy on them because I know I’m way bigger than them,” he said, laughing. “But I also have to adjust to them. Against other teams, I [can] play my hardest.”
Intensity ebbed and flowed throughout on Tuesday. A combined 46 fouls (Imhotep 26, Mastery North 20) certainly didn’t help the game’s flow. The Pumas (9-1) started slowly but got within 56-48 with about two minutes left.
Jamir Reed and Lakeem McAilely led the way with 14 points apiece, although the Pumas shot just 16 of 26 from the foul line and 4 of 20 from three.
Imhotep made just 12 of 21 at the line and turned the ball over 21 times.
Noble talked about his team’s struggle with rising to the occasion against a Public League it has dominated in recent years after playing nationally-ranked teams such as DeMatha from Maryland and La Lumiere from Indiana, Nos. 5 and 12 respectively in USA Today’s Super 25 expert rankings (both losses).
“It’s the way you lose,” Noble said. “If we don’t get better at this stuff, we won’t win this league.”
IM: Bernard Lightsey 13, Fatayn Wesley 9, Elijah Taylor 10, Dahmir Bishop 9, Jamil Riggins 8, Chereef Knox 8, Marquise Greenwood 4.
MN: Jamir Reed 14, Lakeem McAilely 14, Tahj Campbell 8, Rodney Phillips 6, Harold Daily 8, Alvin Williams Jr. 2, Amin Dandridge 2.