Karonn Davis has played a key role in the post-Amile Jefferson era going pretty smoothly at Friends' Central.
As he showed in Tuesday afternoon's Friends Schools League showdown against Abington Friends, the 6-foot-1, 185-pound senior is a capable scorer, a solid distributor, and rebounds surprisingly well for his size.
With Davis delivering 25 points and eight rebounds, the Phoenix jumped on the Kangaroos early on and, with solid free-throw shooting down the stretch, posted a 76-64 victory in Wynnewood.
"Karonn is one of the toughest players in the area," Friends' Central first-year coach Ryan Tozer said "We sometimes ask him to cover the other team's big man. His strength allows him to do that."
Davis, who can play either guard position, notched 16 points in the second half. In the third quarter, his three-point play and coast-to-coast layup put the hosts comfortably in front, 55-35.
The Phoenix (17-5 overall, 7-0 FSL) have fared well despite the graduation of Jefferson, who is now at Duke.
"We knew we weren't going to be as good as we were last year," Davis said. "Without Amile, we've really had to bend down and play defense. We have to have energy there."
Against Abington Friends, which trailed by as many as 18 in the first half, Davis shot 9 for 14 from the field (2 from 3 from beyond the arc) and 5 for 6 from the line. He added four assists.
For the season, Davis, who spent two years at Monsignor Bonner before coming over to Friends' Central and reclassifying, is averaging 19.5 points per game.
Despite the West Philly resident's production, Division I colleges have not exactly been knocking his door. His two scholarship offers are from Rider and LIU Brooklyn. Vermont and Hartford have made inquiries.
The chance to play at Robert Morris went away when Kavon Stewart, a 5-11 point guard from Hudson Catholic (N.J.), committed to the Colonials in the fall. "That's how the recruiting process goes," Davis said. "There are a lot of ups and downs."
Sophomore guard Jonathan Lawton (18 points, four assists), Chestnut Hill commit Billy Cassidy (15 points, two treys), and 6-4 freshman De'Andre Hunter (13 points, seven boards) also played well against the Kangaroos (16-5, 5-1)
Abington Friends, which had a 15-game win streak come to an end, received 14 points apiece from Montana Mayfield and reserve Josh Sharkey.
Abington Friends 15 14 16 19-64
Friends' Central 24 19 15 18-76
AFS: Montana Mayfield 14, Tony Carr 5, Jerimyjah Batts 9, Joe Robinson 6, Jordan Greene 8, Will James 4, Josh Sharkey 14, Jared Wright 4.
FC: Jonathan Lawton 18, Billy Cassidy 15, De'Andre Hunter 13, Will Pedrick 5, Karonn Davis 25.