Shafeek Taylor, who played his first three years of high school basketball at Roman Catholic, experienced the all-out craziness of a Public League basketball game Thursday at the Berean Institute.
With an overflow crowd on hand, a mob of about 10 broke through a chained, North-end double door to gain access; police, with not enough security on hand, had to be called to assist in crowd control; and the referees struggled throughout to keep spectators off the floor.
"In the Catholic League, people pretty much just watch the game," said Taylor, a senior guard for Math, Civics & Sciences. "In the Pub, sometimes things get a bit out of control. You can't lose your focus."
Taylor handled the beyond-chaotic atmosphere when it counted the most. Delivering 19 of his 24 points after intermission, the 6-foot-4, 190-pound combo guard helped the host Mighty Elephants fight past Division A rival Roberts Vaux, 74-70, in overtime.
Taylor said tuition issues prompted the switch to MS&C, which improved to 18-0 overall and 9-0 in division action.
"It's been good here," he said. "I played with a lot of these guys growing up, so it's gone smoothly. There was already a comfort level."
The Mighty Elephants overcame a 35-point, 13-reobound performance by Vaux standout Rysheed Jordan. "We tried to do a couple of things to neutralize him, but he's a terrific player," MC&S coach Danny Jackson said.
Vaux coach Jamie Ross, whose squad was playing its fourth contest in six days, did not use the many distractions as an excuse.
"Basketball is basketball," he said. "It's nothing new. At the end of the day, you still have to put the ball in the basket."
Taylor shot 6 for 18 from the field (2 for 4 from beyond the arc) and 10 for 14 from the line. He added seven rebounds, four steals, and two assists.
"He's our team leader," Jackson said. "He's sometimes passive on offense. That's because he wants to get Jeremiah Worthem and Malik Starkes involved in things."
For MC&S, with a considerably bigger front line, Quadir Welton, a 6-8 forward, produced 14 points and 18 boards (six on offense); the 6-7 Worthem posted 11 points and the same number of caroms; and sub Louis Myers[CQ] drilled two third-quarter treys.
"He was big, especially early on," Jackson said of Welton. "We knew he would be able to finish around the rim against them."
Down by 49-44 at the end of the third quarter, the gritty Cougars (12-6, 8-1) moved in front briefly with an 8-0 spurt at the start of the fourth.
Jordan shot 12 for 27 from the field (4 for 11 on treys) and 7 for 8 from the line. He had five steals and three assists.
Though it was smaller, Vaux collected 21 offensive rebounds compared to the Mighty Elephants' 16.
For the visitors, Sammy Foreman, a transfer from Haverford School, registered 12 points, five boards, two boards, two assists, and two blocks. Trayvond Massenberg rejected four attempts.
Vaux 10 18 16 18 8-70
Math, Civics & Sciences 15 15 19 13 12-74
V: Rysheed Jordan 35, Amir Butler 8, Trayvond Massenberg 2, Lester Mattox 8, Sammy Foreman 12, Khalief Tinley 4, Keith Fletcher 1.
MCS: Britton Lee 4, Malik Starkes 6, Quadir Welton 14, Jeremiah Worthem 11, Shafeek Taylor 24, Tyrese Hester 8, Jeffon Powell 1, Louis Myers 6.