If you had a chance to see Rysheed Jordan play in Roberts Vaux High School’s exciting 62-61 Public League playoff victory Saturday night over Math, Civics and Sciences, then you saw with your own eyes why he’s a terrific basketball player. Jordan, a 6-foot-3, 180-pound senior, hit the winning foul shot with a tenth of a second remaining to give Vaux a huge win and the Class A championship.
Now, Vaux will face Martin Luther King in the Public League semifinals on Thursday, Feb. 21 at 6:45 p.m. The game will be played at Southern in what should be another big matchup.
By the way, Southern was the site where Jordan put on quite a show down the stretch leading his team to victory. But making the crucial foul shot in front of a boisterous crowd bursting at the seams was really impressive. He had made two foul shots to tie the game at 61-61 with 10 seconds left. Then, after a steal Vaux called timeout. Vaux got the ball to Jordan who exploded up the floor and was fouled going to the basket. That’s where all the drama started. Jordan missed the first foul shot, but made the second. He was cool under pressure.
“I shoot foul shots every day in practice,” Jordan said. “I knew I was going to make one of them. I missed the first one because I rushed it. I took my time on the second one and made it.
“It was on me. I really wanted to win. This is the first time in my high school basketball career that I made it to the Final Four (Public League semifinals). I just worked hard and kept playing even when we were down.”
Vaux did trail at halftime 38-28. They were also down in the fourth quarter by as much as six. Jordan didn’t let that stop him. He had a tremendous game scoring 29 points, pulling down eight rebounds, handing out five assists and coming up with five steals.
Jordan did it on the big stage against MC&S, the city’s top ranked team with a 23-1 record.
“We put the ball in his hands in those situations to make something happen,” said Jamie Ross, Vaux head coach. “If he can get fouled, get to the basket or hit a big shot. We’ve been depending on him all year. Like I said, he played real big today. He’s not selfish, a couple times he passed the ball. That’s just him and his nature being a point guard and an unselfish kid.”
He may be unselfish, but Jordan is a special player, too. He’s one of the top players in the country. He’s the No. 1 scorer (25.9 ppg) in the city. The soft-spoken superstar has a great following in the city, particularly from his neighborhood and school. Two weeks ago, he was interviewed on ESPN2 during a nationally televised game between Chester High and Neumann-Goretti. He has narrowed his college choices down to UCLA, Temple and St. John’s. Wherever he goes throughout the area, people always ask him what school he’ll choose. He handles everything very calmly.
“I keep telling everybody I’m going to make my decision in the spring after my high school career is over,” Jordan said.
Right now, Jordan has a lot on his mind with the league playoffs.
Shafeek (17), Malik Starkes (15), Louis Myers (12) and Jeremiah Worthem (11) led the way for MC&S.
In other playoff action, David Johnson scored a game-high 25 points to lead Communications Tech to a 78-75 win over Constitution. Johnson, a 5-foot-11 senior, shot 9-for-11 from the field and 3-for-3 from three-point range.
“I’m a senior,” Johnson said. “I have to step up at the end of the game. I got to do that. I have some great teammates like Terrence (Brown) and Samir Doughty. They really help me out.”
Johnson has been a bright spot for the Phoenix throughout the season. Lou Biester, Communications Tech head coach, has been very pleased with his efforts.
“He’s been very consistent all year,” Biester said. “He’s always under control. He’s very sure of himself. I can rely on him.”
Floyd Preito, Constitution High shooting guard, had a team-high 24 points in a losing effort.
Communications Tech will face Imhotep Charter in the semifinals at 5 p.m. at Southern. Imhotep Charter defeated Philadelphia Electrical & Technology, 51-43. Jakwan Jones had 16 points, Basil Thompson and Brandon Austin had 10 and seven points respectively. Hakeem Baxter had a game-high 23 points and 11 rebounds for PET.
Martin Luther King spanked Bartram, 63-46. Raquan Brown-Johnson was the team’s high scorer with 24 points. Fa’Teem Glenn, Cougars point guard, finished with 21. Khayri Washington had 16 points for Bartram.