NE Douglass pulls away in fourth quarter to defeat UPrep

UPrep’s Jakhi Lucas (15) grabs a rebound during first-half action, Monday during the Valenti Sports RAP Invitational. NE Douglass guard Lamar Lovelace (13) contests on the play.

By JOHN LIKANJE

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Lamar Lovelace scored nine points in the fourth quarter as NE Douglass bounced back to defeat UPrep, 84-76, Saturday afternoon at the Valenti Sports Rochester Area Players (RAP) Invitational at East High School.

“The team really has come together the last few days,” NE Douglass Panthers head coach Kyle Crandall said after the win. “They showed what we’re capable of if we play together as a team.”

Lovelace swished a three-pointer and went 6-of-6 from the free throw line, including 4-of-4 in the last two minutes of the game.

“Lamar has been another threat,” Crandall said about his junior guard. “A lot of teams seem to focus on Jiahmere (Mitchell) and Adonis (Flagler), but now all of a sudden, you have Lamar too.”

The Panthers (10-3/No. 23 NYSSWA Class A) used a pair of runs at the end of the third quarter and in the fourth to pull away for the victory. Jiahmere Mitchell sparked a 13-3 surge with a contact layup to end the third. The senior guard knocked down two free throws as well. After Lovelace hit a shot from beyond the arc to begin the fourth to go along with a pair of attempts from the charity stripe, senior guard Trevion Miller made a layup and junior forward Adonis Flagler went 2-of-2 at the foul line for a 70-59 edge with 4:36 remaining, their largest of the second half.

“We took some good shots during that run and we had some big stops on defense too,” Crandall explained about his squad played in the fourth quarter. “When you have those two things happen together, that’s what’s going to lead to a run.”

Lovelace netted four free throws and Flagler converted a three-point play for a 7-0 run and an 83-72 lead with 56.1 seconds left in response to the UPrep Griffins’ 11-4 spurt midway through the period.

“They (UPrep) tried to close the gap a little bit in the fourth quarter and then we were able to pull away,” Crandall said. “I think we were 12-of-14 at the line in the fourth quarter, which was huge in terms of making sure we were able to secure that win.”

The Panthers attempted to gain separation at the end of the third quarter as Miller finished a layup and a pair of free throws during an 8-1 run for a 57-50 lead, the largest for either team in the second and third combined. Mitchell and Lovelace made layups of their own.

 

 

The second quarter featured five lead changes and two ties as the Panthers outscored the Griffins (5-8), 24-20, for a 42-41 edge going into the locker room. The largest lead of the period was five by the Griffins.

Mitchell scored 15 of his team-high 27 points in the second half, including 10 in the third quarter on two shots from beyond the arc and a pair of layups, to lead four players in double-figures for the Panthers.

“Jiahmere is a multi-threat kid,” Crandall said. “He really can do a lot with the ball in his hands. He’s a great shooter and he can take the ball to the basket hard and finish when he does that. Jiahmere is on top of his game and he’s taking good shots and also looking to distribute, which is something that he also did today.

“In basketball, it’s really tough to shut down multiple kids,” the Panthers head coach continued. “You can really put your efforts into one or sometimes two kids, but when you get a third or fourth on a team, that really provides that level of balance and makes it really difficult for teams to be able to effectively shut down three or four good players.”

 

 

Lovelace finished with 19 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the charity stripe, two three-pointers, and three shots from inside the arc. The junior guard was named game MVP for the Panthers.

“Lamar has grown so much,” Crandall said when evaluating Lovelace’s season. “Since last season and throughout this season, he’s really become a leader on the floor, especially offensively.”

Miller scored 10 of his 17 points in the second half on four layups and two free throws as the Panthers outscored the Griffins, 42-35.

“Trevion has been huge,” Crandall explained about his senior guard. “Trevion scored a lot of big baskets today. I think he had eight rebounds as well. Trevion is another kid who is also underrated if you look at him. He’s about 5 foot 10 and is one of our better rebounders because he battles and hustles. He’s a kid who will step in and take a charge at any time. He’s been really finishing around the basket.”

Flagler went 4-of-4 from the foul line, knocked down two long-range bombs, and three shots from inside the arc for 16 points.

Nicolas Jeanty (5) rounded out the scoring for the Panthers.

For UPrep, junior guard Na’Zea Folks sparked an 11-4 run in the middle of the fourth quarter with a three-pointer. Junior Christian Jefferson made back-to-back layups. Kayshawn Ross hit a floater from the left block and senior Jakhi Lucas finished a layup of his own as the Griffins cut the deficit to 76-72 with two minutes remaining.

 

 

Folks hit a mid-range jumper in the lane and Lucas converted back-to-back layups for a 6-0 run to pull within 57-56 at the end of the third quarter.

 

 

Folks poured in 18 of his game-high 29 points in the second and third quarters combined. The junior guard knocked down five three-pointers and seven shots from inside the arc.

Lucas scored 15 of his 28 points in the second half on five layups and four free throws. The senior guard was named game MVP for the Griffins.

Ross (9) and Harold Boggs McCullough (5) rounded out the scoring.

“Hats off to UPrep,” Crandall said when praising the Griffins. “They were very tough all game long. Just kept grinding.”

NE Douglass will travel Friday night to take on Bishop Kearney at 7:30 PM.

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