It’s been a special year for Maurice Watson, Boys’ Latin’s outstanding senior guard. It all started when he announced his decision to go to Boston University last summer on a basketball scholarship.
Since then, Watson, a 5-foot-9 standout, has gone over the 2,000-point mark in his career. He currently has 2,157 points. He’s getting close to Wilt Chamberlain’s career high school scoring mark of 2,206 points. Chamberlain is second on the all-time list behind former Strawberry Mansion star Maureece Rice, who finished his career with 2,681 points.
Watson put on quite show earlier this week as Boys’ Latin edged Engineering and Science, 62-59, in an exciting Public League playoff game. Watson had a game-high 30 points. He also handed out six assists.
Boys’ Latin will play Philadelphia Electrical & Technology Charter on Saturday, February 18 at Ben Franklin High School as a part of a playoff doubleheader at 3 p.m. Watson is heading down the stretch of his scholastic career. He doesn’t want the season to end. This is what he was thinking after the victory over E&S. He thought of his teammates, too.
“I didn’t want this to be my last game,” Watson said. “I’m a senior. I was thinking of my players. I know I didn’t want this to be my last game and neither did they. We’re going to get back in the gym and get ready for Saturday.
“Carlos (Taylor) has been my best friend since eighth grade. Yahmir (Greenlee) is kind of like a little brother. I’ve taken him under my wing. He just amazes me every time. I never have any doubts playing with them.”
Taylor is a 6-foot-4 forward. He plays very well around the basket. He can step out and hit the midrange jumpshot. Greenlee is a 5-foot-7 guard. He’s not much smaller than Watson. But Greenlee showed where he’s pretty explosive. He scored 21 points in the victory over E&S.
Watson will certainly miss Taylor and Greenlee next year when he’s playing for Boston University. These guys are teammates and friends. In addition, Watson will miss his father, Maurice Watson Sr., Boys’ Latin head basketball coach. His dad has been a big part of his success.
“I’ve been playing basketball for 14 years,” Watson said. “All 14 have been with him. I know it’s going to be a sad day when it comes to an end. We’ve been successful together. It’s been our bond and our connection. We’re friends off the court. It’s going to be sad not being able to play for him. ”
Watson knows the season will certainly end at some point. Time will tell whether it’s sooner or later. Right now, Maurice Watson Sr. knows the season is winding down. With the possibility of playing for a Public League championship and a run in the PIAA playoffs, he’s trying to stay focused.
“Every game now is emotional for me because I know I’ll have another year with Yahmir,” his father said. “Carlos has been like a son to me. Then, coaching my own son who I’ve been coaching for 14 years. Every game is emotional. I try to keep my poise. It’s hard. I’m not ready for it to end. We’ve worked so hard. I can’t be more proud of him and the team. As a coach, I’m enjoying the ride.”
It’s a ride that still going strong.
The high school playoffs are in full swing in the Public and Catholic Leagues. Maurice Watson from Boys’ Latin and Savon Goodman from Constitution High put on quite a show last weekend. Watson, a 5-foot-9 senior, scored a game-high 41 points to lead Boys’ Latin over Philadelphia Electrical & Technology Charter, 81-60, to advance to the semifinal round. Watson also surpassed basketball legend Wilt Chamberlain as the No. 2 scorer in Public League history. His career total is 2,228. Chamberlain had 2,206 career points from his playing days at Overbrook. Strawberry Mansion’s Maureece Rice is the all-time leading scorer in the Public League with 2,681 career points.
Goodman was very impressive too, scoring 24 points and grabbing 14 rebounds as Constitution defeated Math, Civics & Sciences, 72-51 as they move on to the next round.
The Public League semifinals will be played on Tuesday night, February 21 at Southern High School. In the first game, Boys’ Latin will face Communications Tech at 6 p.m. In the second contest, Constitution will battle Bartram at 7:45 p.m.
On Wednesday night, Feb. 22, the Catholic League semifinals will be held at the Palestra at 7 p.m. Neumann–Goretti, defending league champion, will play Roman Catholic. Neumann–Goretti has some great players in Ja’Quan Newton (15.4 ppg) and John Davis (13.2 ppg). Shep Garner is a key player for Roman Catholic. Garner is averaging 16.5 points a game.
In the second game, Archbishop Carroll will face St. Joseph’s Prep at 8:30 p.m. Alec Stavetski (15.5 ppg) and Yosef Yacob are two of Carroll’s top players. Steve Vasturia (22.8 ppg) and Miles Overton (14.9 ppg) are the players to watch for St. Joseph’s Prep.