"It's All About The Game"
Panthers prevail in City-County showdown
Ron Bailey, Publisher
January 28, 2015 - Last Thursday provided Charm City hoop fans an opportunity to see a good team from the Baltimore City - St. Frances Academy - take on a Baltimore County bell cow - Milford Mill. Adding intrigue was SFA's Baltimore Catholic League/Maryland Independent Athletic Association membership, while Milford stands as the one of the state's best public school programs. The team's met up on a neutral court - Morgan State's Hill Field House - in Mayor's Cup competition.
SFA prevailed in a zone defense heavy contest 81-70, after leading 31-36 at halftime. Both teams used multiple zone looks, including 1-3-1 alignments. Nick Myles, SFA's head coach explained his team's zone defense use as "We tried to take Justin (Jenifer) out of the game, tried to take away the driving lanes."
SFA's Kurk Lee
Makes sense, given Jenifer's skill set; lined up to enroll at Cincinnati this summer, Jenifer is a fancy dribbling penetrator that can also make shots from all over the course. Given his passing ability, the 5'10" guard makes the Millers go.
Jenifer finished with 16 points for Milford, tops on the team along with senior Elijah Copper. Bruce Moore added 14 points for the Millers, 8-3 on the season.
Facing zone themselves, it was crucial SFA's guards ran the offense and found shots for teammates. That they did, with junior Kruk Lee finishing with 18 points, four rebounds and eight dimes, work produced in half court and open floor situations. Junior guard Khalil Richards had more of an offensive focus (17 points, three assists), while junior point guard Daquan Bracey had five helpers, five rebounds and six points.
"Daquan, Khalil and Lee were all dynamic" said Myles afterward.
Leading all scorers was sophomore forward Andre Rafus with 18 points. His alley oop dunk from Bracey early in the fourth quarter seemed to spell doom for Milford.
"I live for competition. It was a challenge" said Lee of matching up against Jenifer. He refused to label it his best game of the year, as Lee felt "I missed a lot of free throws", demonstrating the standards he sets for himself.
SFA, now 19-7, received a breakout performance from Kansas State bound forward Eric Cobb, who accounted for 10 points and 10 rebounds. Routinely he patrolled the baseline, where his teammates sound him for scores.
"If we play like that with the play of our bigs, and just rebound a little better, we can accomplish our goals of winning the championship this year" summed Myles.
Derrick Oliver is an exciting young performer.
Patterson took down New Town 87-66, demonstrating superior guard and front court play in doing so. Senior guard Derrick Oliver led the victors with 24 points and nine assists, followed by Gary Blackston's 20 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three blocks.
Kruk Lee, 5'10", 150 pound junior point guard, St. Frances - His recruitment is finally starting to pick up, with Radford and Towson showing interest, UMBC offering a scholarship, as has Morgan State.
He's a quick, ball on a string penetrator that loves to find people. Lee will also attempt to finish, which is improving the stronger he gets.
Shooting has been a slow spot for him, but Lee is improving; the gutsy, second half pull up, fast break three ball he sank showed better skill and willingness to launch outside shots.
Koran Moore, 6'8", 250 pound sophomore forward/center - A wide body that can move, Moore has solid post moves and footwork. Needs to polish them, including developing counters.
Runs the floor and defends the paint well. Is not enamored with the perimeter game.
No schools are currently showing interest. That will change. Soon.
Derrick Oliver - 5'8", 145 pound senior point guard, Patterson - Lightening quick and full of heart, Oliver is in attack mode all the time. That pressures defenses, but can also lend to some out of control moments and/or teammates being put in situations they are not comfortable with.
Is small, but clearly has Division I talent. Abeliene Christian has offered. Bethune Cookman, Longwood and Robert Morris have shown interest. Is averaging 25 points a game and has scored over 1000 points.
Oliver, in addition to changing speeds/picking his spots sometimes needs to get stronger, which will better allow him to take college level bumps on offense and defense.
Could be a sleeper.
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