By Rick O’Brien
INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Following an emotional and important league win against Abington Friends on Saturday, Friends’ Central Sunday came out a bit flat versus Germantown Academy in the 11th annual Kobe Bryant/Philly.Com/Rally Classic.
The Phoenix regrouped at halftime and, with across-the-board contributions headed by rising sophomore Amile Jefferson, pulled away from the Patriots in the last 16 minutes for a 64-51 victory in Game 2 at Widener University.
The 6-foot-7, 190-pound Jefferson, a Division I recruit being eyed at by Temple (Fran Dunphy was in the crowd) and other Big 5 schools, delivered 18 points and 15 rebounds (seven on offense). He added a blocked shot and steal.
Dominic Morris, a 6-7 senior forward, chipped in 14 points, including a late third-quarter slam that put the Phoenix ahead by 41-36, and 13 boards (six on offense). The Boston University recruit also had two steals.
In the Friends Schools League matchup against much improved Abington Friends, Jefferson’s 19 points highlighted a 71-48 road triumph.
“Coming off a big win like that, we were sluggish in the early going against GA and didn’t bring the same energy to the game,” Jefferson said. “Fortunately, we pulled together, especially in the second half, and got the job done.”
Friends’ Central, ranked No. 4 in Southeastern Pennsylvania by The Inquirer, improved to 14-2 overall. Jason Polykoff’s squad is 4-0 in league action.
“All we thought about the last three or four days was Abington Friends,” Polykoff said. “Then, less than 24 hours later, we had to play GA. I knew were going to come out a little slow and need some time to hit our stride.”
It was a 28-28 game at halftime. With Jefferson netting nine points in the third quarter, including a three-point play at the 2:15 mark, the Phoenix entered the final frame with a 43-38 advantage. From there, the Patriots (11-5, 2-2 Inter-Ac League) could only get within four.
In the second quarter, Friends’ Central switched from a 3-2 zone to a man-to-man-set. “We knew they had shooters,” Polykoff said. “Once we went man-to-man, we pressed up on them a little bit. The energy kind of picked up from there.”
For GA, Cameron Ayers, a 6-5 forward ticketed to Bucknell, totaled a game-high 20 points, seven rebounds (three on offense) and three steals. Fellow senior Austin Curry, a point guard, posted 13 points, three assists and three steals.
Overall, Jefferson, a 16-year-old who lives on Woodland Avenue near 46th Street in Southwest Philly, shot 8 for 14 from the field and 2 for 3 from the free-throw line.
Junior guard Devin Coleman chipped in 13 points, seven rebounds and three assists for the Phoenix. Junior lead guard Malique Killing recorded eight second-half points and 6-4 senior forward Travis Robinson, headed to Boston University with Morris, notched five assists.
Germantown Academy 14 14 10 13 - 51
Friends’ Central 8 20 15 21 - 64
GA: Austin Curry 13, Jim Hammer 5, Cameron Ayers 20, Greg Guers 2, Jake Beil 6, Beau Jones 3, Nicholas Linder 2.
FC: Devin Coleman 13, H.J. Gaskins 3, Amile Jefferson 18, Malique Killing 8, Dominic Morris 14, Travis Robinson 5, Mark Margulies 3.
Contact staff writer Rick O’Brien at 610-313-8019 or email@example.com.