Perhaps it bodes well for Eagles fans that Constitution coach Rob Moore was somewhat prescient Thursday night before his Generals bested host Martin Luther King, 72-69.
Shortly before tipoff, Moore, clad in a kelly green Randall Cunningham jersey, talked about needing his top two senior guards, Damon Wall and Jahmir Marable-Williams to finally play well at the same time.
So far this season, Moore explained, if Wall had a good game Marable-Williams struggled, or vice versa.
In the first half at King, both had it going.
“That’s one of the best feelings on the court,” said Wall, who finished with a game-high 26 points, including two critical free throws with 6.2 seconds left.
“I’m happy for him and we’re coming together,” he said. “Other times when he’s going off and I’m [struggling,] it’s hard. So when we’re both getting after it, it’s like, I don’t want to say it, but, best backcourt in the Pub — simple as that.”
Wall, who transferred from Doane Academy in Burlington back in December, had 16 points in the first half on 3 of 5 shooting from the 3-point line and 4-of-10 shooting overall.
Marable-Williams added 13 in the half, including a trey just before the buzzer that yielded a 42-31 edge.
Jahmir Marable-Williams with the 3 to end the half. @ConHighBBall leads King, 42-31. Wall 16, Marable-Williams 13. Holly leads King with 9. ConHigh 8-15 from 3, MLK 4-11. Generals 12-25 overall with 7 assists. MLK 6 assists on 13-23 FGs pic.twitter.com/cZJ2r7mCfI
— Aaron Carter (@AceCarterINQ) February 1, 2018
Wall is slick with the dribble, dangerous from three, and adept in the mid-range, with a sturdy build suitable for absorbing contact en route to the basket.
That same skill set, however, is possessed by a few of Constitution’s guards.
“It was tricky [at first] because of playing with other good guards,” Wall said, “knowing where they like it and where I like it. We’re all on-ball guards, so we have to figure out how to work together down the stretch.”
He added: “It’s good, though, because it’s hard to scout because you never know who’s going to go off which day.”
Despite trailing by 12 at the break, King nearly walked the Generals down in the third quarter after senior forward Will McNair started to finish around the basket, which allowed the Cougars’ defense to apply full-court pressure.
Constitution (11-9, 5-5) didn’t help itself by slowing its own offensive pace when their typically fast-paced attack earned them the early lead. The Generals lost the third quarter, 16-9.
Constitution shot 8 of 15 from 3 and had 7 assists in the first half, but finished 9 of 21 from 3 and 11 assists for the game.
King (14-8, 7-3) whose top offensive threat, Denelle Holly Jr., went to the bench with four fouls in the third quarter, used the momentum to take a brief lead late in the fourth.
With the game on the line, however, Constitution found Wall, who calmly delivered two free throws to push the Generals lead back to three with 6 seconds left.
Holly Jr.’s final attempt fell short just before the final horn.
Holly Jr.’s 3 comes up short. Constitution holds on, 72-69. Wall 26, 8rebs, 5assts, Marable-Williams 19. Montereiro 19, Holly Jr. 12, McNair 10&11. pic.twitter.com/1h3vdCFYs3
— Aaron Carter (@AceCarterINQ) February 2, 2018
Ricardo Monteiro led King with 19 points on 5 3-pointers. Will McNair added 10 points and 11 rebounds, while Holly Jr. added 12 points.
Constitution 22 20 9 21 72
King 20 11 16 22 69
C: Damon Wall 26, Jahmir Marable-Williams 19, Keshaun Hammonds 14, Jabari Merritt 10, Tyree Mitchell 2, Abdul Riggins 1.
K: Ricardo Monteiro 19, Denelle Holly Jr. 12, Will McNair 10, Qawi Harris 10, Jerry Andrews 9, Hyseir Miller 5, Dawud Jenkins 4.