The outcome of the game was no longer in doubt and hadn’t been for a few quarters, but if Imhotep’s third straight Public League championship needed an exclamation point, Donta Scott provided it with panache.
In Saturday night’s fourth quarter at the Liacouras Center, Scott, a 6-foot-7 senior do-it-all headed to the University of Maryland next season, drove the baseline just in front of his bench, rose in the air, cocked his right arm back and threw down a one-handed dunk that sent fans into a frenzy.
Imhotep, which also captured its eighth Pub title since 2009, eventually knocked off Constitution, 63-41.
Scott finished with 22 points on 9-of-11 shooting with 2 of 2 coming from behind the three-point line. He also added 12 rebounds, two assists, a blocked shot, and the game’s MVP plaque.
“This means a lot,” Scott said. “This is something that we wanted and we went out and grabbed it.”
Imhotep (20-5) never trailed, taking the lead on its second possession when Scott finished an alley-oop from Dahmir Bishop with two hands.
Constitution briefly tied the game at 2 before Imhotep ended the quarter with a 17-5 edge.
Keshaun Hammonds, a junior guard, kept the Generals in the fight early.
Hammonds finished with 22 points, but scored 16 of them in the first half, keeping Constitution (18-8) within 31-23 at intermission.
The game — a disjointed contest rife with whistles — never appeared in doubt in the second half. Constitution was outscored, 17-3, in the third quarter.
Both teams were hampered with foul trouble (Imhotep 22, Constitution 18). The Generals shot 16-of-26 at the foul line. Imhotep finished 10-of-22 at the line.
Jabari Merrit, who scored 25 points against Mastery North in the semifinals, picked up two quick fouls in Saturday night’s first quarter and a third foul in the second. He finished with two points and six rebounds.
Hammonds, perhaps from shouldering so much of the load, finished 5-of-15 from the field after shooting 4-of-9 in the first half. Constitution finished 11-of-31 overall, including 3-of-11 from three.
Imhotep’s defense, which coach Andre Noble has always said was the key to the Panthers’ success in recent years, also picked up.
Fatayn Wesley, who Noble called one of the most underrated players in the state, added 11 points and five steals for the Panthers.
Bishop, the talented senior headed to Xavier, finished with five points, five assists. Chereef Knox, who has received interest from George Mason, Old Dominion and Hofstra, among others, added eight points, four rebounds, two steals, and a block.
Jamil Riggins, who landed in what Noble called his “little dog house,” didn’t play in the semifinals, but responded with eight points, six steals. He also took three charges, a skill Riggins takes pride in, Noble said.
“In this day and age of ‘when I don’t get what I want, I’m going to a different school,’” Noble said, “these kids and their families (sacrificed)…None of them gets to score 25 points a game because they have to share with each other.”
As he spoke, Knox and Bishop caught Noble’s eye.
“Dahmir Bishop and Chereef Knox, are not 1,000-point scorers,” Noble said. “They would be any other place, but they’d rather do what they’re doing right now, which is holding that championship trophy.”
Imhotep 17 14 17 15 - 63
Constitution 5 18 3 15 - 41
IM: Dahmir Bishop 5, Chereef Knox 8, Fatayn Wesley 11, Donta Scott 22, Elijah Taylor 4, Sammi Wylie 2, Jamil Riggins 8, Jabbar Burk 2, Lah-tee Childress 1.
Con: Keshaun Hammonds 22, Quadir Miller 7, Jabari Merritt 2, Korey Bridges 1, Jihad Saunders 3, Jacob Beccles 2, Winston Chambers 2, Maurice Montgomery 2.