New Garden Friends School over Friends Central in Pa.

Posted by Don Moore on December 24, 2013 at 8:25 pm under High School | Comments are off for this article

New Garden Friends’ School junior forward Kingsley Nzekwe and senior guard Kanayo Obi-Rapu Jr.’s late heroics outshines Friends’ Central School guard Jon Lawton’s game-high 36 points in Wynnewood, Pa, on Friday night.

“Every time I play I leave it all on the court,” said Nzekwe. “

After trailing by 10 points in the second half, the Bears prevailed to a 65-57 victory to kick off the 2013 Quaker Invitational Tournament hosted by Friends’ Central School.

“Before the game started during warm-ups our guys were very quiet,” said Friends’ Central School head coach Ryan Tozer. “I honestly think our guys were intimidated seeing two six-foot-ten players walk in the gym. We knew what number zero (Kanayo) could do. He lit us up for 32 (points) last year at New Garden.

“We emphasized yesterday at practice to know where he is at all times on the floor. We really couldn’t leave to help off because of the shooter number 3 (Kane Ma) and tremendous size.”

The first half belonged to the Phoenix who hit eight three-pointers in the first-half. Lawton hit four and lefty sophomore Steven Folwell hit three with his biggest at the buzzer ending the second-quarter from the right baseline off a dribble-drive-kick pass.

“We were patient and tried to control the tempo,” said Tozer. “I thought our guys did a pretty good job of fighting hard and sticking their neck out there getting rebounds.”

“In the first-half I stayed positive and aggressive,” said Lawton. “All the shots I took during the game are the same shots I worked on this summer. My dad always says ‘You have to always practice in-game shots.’”

At least five of the eight three-pointers by FCS came off of dribble penetration. FCS proved that they could knock down open shots taking a 35-28 lead at the half.

To open up the third-quarter Lawton scored on a backdoor layup with the foul to open up a 10-point lead. Later in the third, NGFS senior center Ikenna Smart followed up a missed layup from a steal by NGFS guard Sterling Holland with a monster two-hand slam that cut into their deficit 43-37 with 3:40 remaining.

FCS senior guard Max Grinsberg would push the lead back up to 48-39 after hitting a 3 from the left baseline. Moments later on a broken play from one knee Nzekwe delivered a pass to I. Smart for the finish.

“I saw him wide open so I just got him the ball how I could,” said Nzekwe. “The best way to play basketball is as a team. If I see a teammate wide open there is no need for being greedy and trying to do it all by myself.

“That was the best decision to make.”

Moving along to the fourth, Nzekwe grabbed an offensive-rebound off of an Obi-Rapu Jr. free-throw miss. Nzekwe passed the ball back to Obi-Rapu Jr. found the left box and received the pass back to score the game-tying layup, 51-51.

“My main focus was to get the rebound to start with and everything else fell into place,” said Nzekwe. “Like I said before, this is a team game, I just have to contribute in some way.”

Obi-Rapu Jr. tied the game 53-53 from the free-throw line, and then added two three-pointers on consecutive possessions from the leftwing, taking a commanding 59-53 lead.

I. Smart added 13 points, O. Smart finished with 8 points and Kane Ma with 7 points for the Bears.

Submitted by L. A. Logan

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