Vaux stomps MC&S to reach Class A final
IT APPEARS AS IF Sammy Foreman will decide to see whether you can go home again.
In this case, home has a loose definition, because Haverford School, located on the Main Line and the place where Foreman spent his freshman year, is nowhere close to where he resides, near 23rd and Diamond.
But since Roberts Vaux High is set to shutter its doors this June, Foreman will need to transfer, and, you know what, HS is again lookin' good.
Foreman, a 6-foot, 185-pound sophomore guard, said as much Tuesday night once he'd finished pacing the Cougars to an 83-66 pounding of Math, Civics & Sciences Charter in an all-Pub PIAA Class A state basketball semifinal before a packed house at Ben Franklin High.
After contributing 28 points, three rebounds, two apiece of assists and steals and even three blocked shots, and then remaining rather solumn as he passed through the handshake line, Foreman, as did his teammates and coaches, surged into the locker room to form a group of huggers/hoppers/singers.
"We goin' to Herrrrrr-shey! . . . We goin' to Herrrrr-shey!"
That town's Giant Center will be the site of Friday's 2 p.m. state final vs. Johnsonburg.
Here's guessing Foreman will beg/plead for HS coach Henry Fairfax to make the trip. He was in the east stands at Franklin and even drove Foreman home.
"This was the third time he has seen me play this year," Sammy said. "I've always had good games. Well, once was against Haverford and the other two times he was there as a fan.
"He was there for our season opener against St. Andrew's, when I had something like 16 points and eight assists, and tonight I did nice, too."
Right after this game, Fairfax agreed with the notion that he's Foreman's good-luck charm.
"Make sure to tell him that," he added.
"I guess he is," Foreman said, smiling.
Foreman said he opted to leave Haverford for two reasons: The daily transportation grind was difficult, and some family issues were proving to be a distraction.
He loves Vaux and is sad to know it's facing extinction, but . . .
"I'm really thinking about going back to Haverford," he said. "That's what my discussion with coach Fairfax on the way home is going to be about. It's a great school, and it can help me have a solid future."
Meanwhile, two more guys in attendance Tuesday night were Fords star Levan "Shawn" Alston, also a sophomore, and his father, Levan.
"They're like my second father and my brother," Foreman said.
Vaux and MC&S had already met twice this season, with the wins going to MC&S by four (regular season) and Vaux by one (Pub A final). After that second one, MC&S star Malik Starkes was banished from future Pub play for chasing after a referee.
Foreman said the Cougars viewed Starkes and senior forward Jeremiah "Lump" Worthem (Robert Morris signee) as the Mighty Elephants' heart and soul.
"Lump is more of an inside player, and Malik's a great guard," Foreman said. "Without him, I knew we'd have an advantage there. We got after it.
"I felt we'd win, but I didn't know it was gonna turn out like that."
At times this season, Foreman has been a shade too frisky. He has dribbled into trouble out on the floor and/or gone half-cocked to the hole. This time, especially early, as Vaux rolled to leads of 16-10 after one quarter and 41-22 by halftime, he was mostly the picture of quality play.
Even better, he worked in perfect harmony with superstar guard Rysheed Jordan, who'd played in strangely understated fashion in Vaux' first three state playoffs (24 total points) after exploding for 45 in a losing effort vs Imhotep Charter in the Pub final.
" 'Sheed was just looking for assists and rebounds in those games," Foreman said. "They were kind of easy, so we didn't need his points that much. Tonight he was back to being himself."
In all, Jordan totaled 18 points, 12 rebounds, eight assists and two steals.
Foreman (12) and Jordan (six) combined for 18 of Vaux' 25 second-quarter points. Sammy nailed his first four shots, including two treys, in that session and finished his outburst with two free throws off a technical foul.
"I just played with the flow," Foreman said. "I didn't force things. I looked for the spots I wanted, then got to them and took the shots I wanted.
"My main ambition was to find open teammates. But, at the same time, I was in attack mode. They pressed a lot, and that created a lot of open spaces. When I attack early, that's usually when I play my best games."
Midway through the third quarter, Foreman's steal and layup provided a 25-point pad, at 54-29. MC&S crept back and then changed to storm-back mode as the fourth quarter started, posting a six-point flurry to make it 58-47. Foreman again was the Answer Man, thanks to a successful drive.
Some fans began leaving with 3:43 left (70-54) and a whole bunch more vamoosed at 1:51 (81-60).
Amir Butler and sub Khalief Tinley halved 22 points for Vaux, while Trayvond Massenburg claimed six rebounds and Daron Johnson made three steals. For MC&S, Worthem banged for 21 points and 10 boards, Britton Lee had 13 points and Shafeek Taylor mixed nine rebounds and four steals with 10 points.
When Foreman was asked whether Fairfax was similar to Vaux coach Jamie Ross, he smiled and said: "Not really. In the Inter-Ac, you run a lot of set plays. Jamie likes to get it and go."
Sensibly, of course. The way Sammy Foreman (the once and future Ford?) did it Tuesday night.