By Pat Leonard
For the Inquirer
Imhotep Charter is one win away from repeating as Public League champions after defeating Math, Civics & Sciences, 66-52, in Sunday's semifinal at Southern.
The Panthers (20-5), the reigning PIAA Class AA state champions who won their second straight Class AA league title on the same floor Saturday, relied on a pair of juniors to overwhelm the Class A champion Mighty Elephants.
Imhotep Charter 6-foot-5 forward Ameen Tanksley scored 26 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, scoring 11 of the Panthers’ 14 second quarter points. Combination guard David Appolon added 15 points and nine rebounds.
The Panthers will face the winner of the other semifinal, Bartram or Dobbins, in the Public League championship game at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Temple’s Liacouras Center.
“Our goals are the same every year, to win championships,” said Panthers coach Andre Noble. “We’re fortunate to be in the game on Tuesday, and we’re not looking beyond that. You can’t win all those championships at one time. You’ve got to win them one game at a time.”
With MCS up 17-16 early in the physical game, Appolon and MCS junior guard Nigel Caldwell received double technical fouls after a loose ball scrum.
“My teammate Dave got into a situation and almost got kicked out, so I had to take over,” said Tanksley, who finished 10 of 17 from the field and often challenged defenders one-on-one.
Tanksley said he has received Division I interest from schools in the Big East and Atlantic 10 conferences.
“I go into every game like nobody can guard me,” the junior said.
Math, Civics & Sciences went scoreless from the 3:58 mark of the second quarter until 6:15 remained in the third, a 9-0 Panthers’ scoring run that included a 22-17 halftime lead for Imhotep.
The Panthers opened the second half on an 8-2 run, and Appolon scored 11 of his points in the third quarter after going scoreless in the first half.
“I had to relax myself at halftime,” Appolon said “The game was coming too fast.”
Imhotep Charter led by as many as 17 points, 50-33, with just under six minutes to go in the game.
Appolon made 5 of 11 field goals and 5 of 5 free throws and recorded three steals.