Ajiri Johnson's put-back dunk lifts Bonner-Prendie past Prep

At 6-foot-8, Bonner-Prendergast senior Ajiri Johnson is hard to miss on the basketball court.

If you happen to lose track, however, check around and above the basket. Like a shark, Johnson circles the paint ravenously waiting to devour missed shots.

Sunday afternoon, his penchant to pounce gave the Friars a thrilling 63-61 last-second victory against visiting St. Joseph’s Prep after his thunderous put-back dunk.

“It feels crazy, man,” Johnson said, “I can’t really find the words to explain it right now. It just [happened] all quick. I don’t even know what happened just now.”

With time winding down and the game tied at 61, junior guard Isaiah Wong danced on the perimeter before hoisting a jumper at the top of the key, just above the foul line.

Johnson, who was standing just inside the three-point line, had a good look and a running start as the ball rimmed out and gently kissed the backboard.

The resulting two-handed dunk elicited an eruption from the packed crowd, and by the time his size-15 sneakers returned to the ground, Johnson left the Hawks with no time to respond.

“Just another Sunday afternoon in the Catholic League,” said B-P coach Jack Concannon. “It’s always good to be a little lucky. The bounce went our way at the end.”

Wong led all scorers with 22 points and added 7 rebounds. Johnson, who will play at Rider, finished with 9 points and 6 rebounds but was slowed somewhat by foul trouble.

He picked up his fourth foul with 2 minutes, 55 seconds left. At least one of those fouls came from an overzealous over-the-back infraction.

Concannon, however, wouldn’t trade Johnson’s feisty nature one bit.

“Yeah, we can’t take away that aggressiveness,” he said. “I mean, he’s a freaky athlete. He’s the quickest kid I’ve ever seen to the ball off the floor.”

Johnson also had a first-quarter tip-dunk that helped the Friars (11-2, 4-0) build a 21-6 edge before the Hawks (9-2, 2-1) clawed back into the game.

Led by Darius Kinnel (20 points) and Ed Croswell (16 points, 10 rebounds), the Hawks got within 8 at the half and took their first lead, 47-46, with about 2 minutes, 21 seconds left in the third.

Down the stretch, however, Wong willed his team with a late lay-in, which Kinnel answered with an acrobatic finish of his own to tie the score at 61 with about 30 seconds left.

Johnson took care of the rest.

“I’m just happy we got the win and it’s done with,” he said, smiling. “Off to the next game.”

Box

Bonner-Prendie 23 15 14 11 63
St. Joe’s Prep 12 19 20 10 61

B-P: Isaiah Wong 22, Tariq Ingraham 11, Ajiri Johnson 9, Tyreese Watson 7, Michael Perretta 7, Donovan Rodriguez 5, Yohance Gardner 2.

SJP: Darius Kinnel 20, Ed Croswell 16, Gabe Arizin 11, Kyle Thompson 6, Trevor Wall 8.