"It's All About The Game"

SFA earns MIAA ‘chip berth






Ron Bailey, Publisher

Today a 'chip can be had.


February 14, 2016 - Thursday night St. Frances Academy (MD) inched a step closer to one of their goals – a Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association crown – by dispatching John Carroll (MD). The 59-49, home win created today’s return match with rival Mount St. Joseph (MD).

Propelling the Panthers to victory was it’s ‘SFA Amigos’ trio of Daquan Bracey, Tarik Johnson and Kurk Lee, Jr.

Tarik Johnson, shooting from the block.

Bracey took over the third quarter, notching steals, assists and buckets. For the game this future Louisiana Tech point guard finished with 17 points.

“It wasn’t so much taking over, my teammates were finding me and I just hit the shots” said of his third period performance.

A tough, skilled and competitive performer, the senior Bracey routinely guards front court guys when head coach Nick Myles opts for a three guard lineup. Daquan or ‘Day-Day’ as he’s known noted of that “It’s actually fun to play the bigger guy…A lot of little people (he’s 5’10”) don’t like to bang. I don’t mind a little bump”.

Johnson, a 6’8” junior forward contributed 11 points, rebounded throughout, and was a presence.

“That’s ‘Reke, he’s going to do his thing” said Bracey of Johnson’s consistent contribution. “He came up big this game”.

Lee saved his best work for late, scoring 10 of his game best 21 points in the fourth quarter.

“I had to bring my team to the ‘chip. Play and go hard. Every play counts, every possession counts” shared Lee of his performance. “So I had to take control of the team, step up and take the big shots”.

John Carroll (21-10 overall, 12-4 in MIAA) was led in scoring by budding sophomore, national level player Immanuel Quickley’s 17 points, work that included a quartet of three pointers.

SFA (28-8, 12-4) has now positioned itself to play St. Joe’s, tonight. The 7:45p EST tilt will tip at UMBC.

“I want to say not so much it’s a challenge” opined Bracey of facing the Gaels, since “last game I think we pretty much beat ourselves”, as the team took ill-advised shots. Continuing, he said “We were being selfish. We weren’t playing Saint Frances Basketball”. This time the team ethos will be embraced, as such “It’s going to be a different outcome”.

Lee backed up Bracey, adding “Once we play together, just like the first game (a 72-56 Panther blowout victory), it’s going to be hard to beat us. We’re just wishing Sunday hurry up so we can get this game over with”.

Recruiting Update

Kurk Lee – 5’8”, 140-pound senior point guard, St. Frances (MD) – One of the best ball handlers on the East Coast (along with teammate Bracey), Lee NEVER picks up his dribble, a feat for any player, let alone one his size. How did that come about?

Kurk Lee on the controls.

“Once I pick it up, it’s either a trap coming or it’s going to be tough; I’m 5’8”, once I pick my dribble up and they cover me, I can’t see”, shared the floor general. “It’s something I was brought up on – never pick up your dribble up, because you stop your momentum and give the defense their momentum”.

Lee is able to do this, despite his size, using top level ball handling skills, guile, an understanding of angles and old fashion heart. Development tapes could be made of him, teaching players to keep their dribble alive.

An excellent passer who does so first, Lee has also tirelessly worked to improve his jumper. Consequently, if he’s left along from the three-point line in, Lee’s deadly, given his array of pull ups and floaters.

Shockingly only UMES has offered Lee. Recruiters if you want a pass first floor general who can also hit shots, pursue him. If you don’t, he could end up beating you for four years.

Tarik Johnson – 6’8”, 230-pound junior forward, St. Frances (MD) – Johnson through shear hard work, effort, intelligence and increased confidence has made himself into a solid Division I level prospect, one that rebounds, hits the mid-range jumper and always competes. Colleges have noticed.

“Siena, MD - Eastern Shore, Troy and JMU” have offered Johnson scholarships, per him. “GW, LaSalle, George Mason, Rice, and San Francisco”, plus a few others are showing interest.

One interesting component in his development has been Beacon House (AAU), a self-funded DC-based outfit. Being the only B’More guy on the roster, is he an outsider on that squad?

In short, no way.

“I love those guys. I wish I had got with them earlier to be honest…They are like my brothers now”.

That kind of embrace has in part allowed Johnson’s confidence to soar, which has translated to SFA’s season.

There’s still a bit of Charm-Chocolate City tension involved; he was jokingly told not to wear Beacon House gear in SFA’s gym, to which Lee noted while laughing “No DC stuff”, causing Johnson and Bracey to join him.

Johnson has two families, on either end of the Parkway.

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