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.
It’s not too early to get a peak at the rising high school basketball stars for next season. The 18th annual All City Classic will showcase some of the top players from the Philadelphia area. The games will be played at Community College of Philadelphia, 18th and Spring Garden streets on Wednesday, May 30. The first game will tip off at 5 p.m.
Team One: Sammy Foreman, Haverford School; Donovan Barnes, Imhotep; Dymir Logan, Imhotep; Tim Delany, Pitman (N.J.); Devin Liggeons, Imhotep; Levan Alston, Haverford School; Lamarr Kimble, Neumann-Goretti; Akeem King, Constitution; Derrik Jones, Archbishop Carroll, Kimar Williams, Constitution.
Team Two: Traci Carter, Prep Charter; Marcus Floyd, Phelps; Manny Taylor, Life Center; TreVaughn Wilkerson, Roman Catholic; Ahmad Gilbert, Constitution; Samir Doughty, Communications Tech; Chris Clover, St. Joseph’s Prep; Malik Ellison, Shipley; Malachi Richardson, Trenton Catholic, Mike Doyle, Penncrest.
Alternates: Carnell Harley, West Catholic; Tyrese Hestor, Math, Civics and Science; Vince Jackson, Academy of New Church.
Team One: Shep Garner, Roman Catholic; Basil Thompson, Imhotep; Pat Smith, Archbishop Wood; Jahyde Gardiner, Friere Charter; Antonio Toplyn, Neumann-Goretti; Malik Smith, Delaware Valley; Eric Anderson, Haverford School; Rashann London, Roman Catholic; Floyd Preito, Westtown; Malik Starkes, Math, Civics and Science.
Team Two: Ja’Quan Newton, Neumann-Goretti, Conrad Chambers, Friends’ Central; Jamal Custis, Neumann-Goretti; Mustapha Traore, Prep Charter; Raheem Liggins, Prep Charter; Troy Harper, Neumann-Goretti; Louis Myers, Southern; Sean Lloyd, Franklin Learning Center; Malik Robinson, Father Judge; DeVante Mosely, Neumann-Goretti.
Alternates: Jamier Cross, Carroll; Quamier Johnson, World Communications.
Team One: Rysheed Jordan, Vaux; Brandon Austin, Imhotep; Robert Johnson, Lower Merion; Jeremiah Worthem, Math, Civics and Science; Quadir Welton, Math, Civics and Science; Dominique Reid, Timbercreek; Shafeek Taylor, Steven Griffin, Father Judge; Darius Robinson, Chester; Yahmir Greenlee, Boys’ Latin.
Team Two: Amar Stukes, La Salle; Karon Davis, Friends’ Central; Britton Lee, Roman Catholic; John Davis, Neumann-Goretti; Miles Overton, St. Joseph’s Prep; Stephen Vasturia, St. Joseph’s Prep; Semaj Reed, Haverford School; Yosef Yacob, Archbishop Carroll; Rondae Jefferson, Chester; Julian Moore, Germantown Academy.
If you watched the Public League championship game, you know why Daiquan Walker, Constitution High’s high scoring guard, is one of the best players in the city. Walker scored 15 points to lead Constitution to the Public League championship. The Generals defeated Boys’ Latin, 85-60, to capture the league crown at Community College of Philadelphia last Saturday afternoon.
Walker put on quite a show with his ballhandling skills, perimeter shooting and explosiveness to the basket. The 6-foot-2, 170-pound senior, was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.
“It was a good team effort,” Walker said. “They chose me, but like I said I couldn’t have done it without my teammates. I’m just thankful that we were able to win the championship.”
Walker did a get a lot of help from his teammates. Savon Goodman was very impressive. He had a game-high 24 points and 12 rebounds. Goodman, a 6-foot-7 senior, was terrific inside. Amonie Holloman, a 5-foot-7 shooting guard, had 15 points knocking down several three point shots from the corner. Fajion Jones scored 13 points.
Yahmir Greenlee was the leading scorer for Boys’ Latin. Greenlee had 22 points. Maurice Watson chipped in with 14 points in a losing effort.
In the women’s championship game, Prep Charter defeated Central, 70-34, to win the Public League championship. Kahleah Copper led the Huskies with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Prep Charter has won back-to-back league titles. Copper was named the women’s MVP.
This is a big week for high school basketball in the Philadelphia area. The District 12 PIAA semifinals will be held on Tuesday, March 20 and Wednesday, March 21 for five of the city’s best teams. There will be a semifinal doubleheader at Southern High on Tuesday night.
In the first game, Constitution High (21-9) will battle Math, Civics & Sciences (19-9) at 6 p.m. Constitution has been playing great basketball. The Generals walked away with the Public League championship. Savon Goodman and Daiquan Walker are the key players for Constitution. Goodman, a 6-foot-7 senior, averages 27.5 points a game. He’s one of the most explosive players in the city. Walker is also a big time player. He averages 19.3 points a game. The 6-foot-2 senior averages 19.3 points a game. He was named MVP of the league championship game.
MC&S is the defending Class A state championship. Danny Jackson, MC&S head coach, has an impressive team, which features 6-foot-6 forward Jeremiah Worthem and 6-foot-4 guard Malik Starkes. Worthem is the team’s leading scorer. He averages 18.7 points a game. Starkes is capable of putting the ball in the basket. He averages 14.1 points a game.
In the second game, Neumann-Goretti (26-3) will battle Boys’ Latin (25-6). The tip-off will be at 7:30 p.m. Neumann-Goretti won its fourth consecutive Catholic League championship a month ago. The Saints edged St. Joseph’s Prep, 59-57, in an overtime thriller at the Palestra. After that game, N-G defeated Boys’ Latin, 66-57 for the Class AAA city title. A year ago, the Saints won the state championship.
They have some great players such as 6-foot-2 Ja’Quan Newton, 6-foot-4 John Davis and 6-foot-5 Derrick Stewart. Davis and Stewart have given N-G some dominate play around the basket. Newton is an exciting player in the open court. He averages 15.4 points a game. Davis tallies 13.6 points a game.
Maurice Watson, a 5-foot-9 senior, is Boys’ Latin’s leading scorer. Watson is the No. 2 scorer in city history with 2,338 career points. He recently moved past basketball legend Wilt Chamberlain on the all-time scoring list. Watson averages 22.2 points a game. He will be playing his college basketball at Boston University next season. Yahmir Greenlee plays in the backcourt with Watson. Greenlee, a 5-foot-9 standout, averages 13.6 points a game. Up front, Boys’ Latin has 6-foot-4 Carlos Taylor to provide some scoring inside and from the perimeter. Boys’ Latin lost to Constitution for the league title.
On Wednesday, Imhotep Charter will play Holy Cross at Bethlehem Liberty. The game begins at 7 p.m. Imhotep Charter is the defending PIAA Class AA champion. Andre Noble, Imhotep Charter head coach, has two outstanding players in 6-foot-2 senior Khyree Wooten and 6-foot-6 junior Brandon Austin. Wooten leads the team in scoring. He averages 15.6 points a game. Austin averages 10.6 points a game. Both players were solid contributors to last year’s state title team. Imhotep Charter is coming off a big 65-54 win over Bishop McDevitt. Austin had 24 points and 11 rebounds in that contest.
In a couple days, the state championship games should be set for this weekend.