Imhotep Charter High school captured the boys Public League basketball championship Sunday with a 77-75 victory over Constitution. — TRIBUNE PHOTOS COURTESY OF DEWAIN CLARK

Imhotep Charter’s sophomore sensation Daron Russell was terrific in the Public League semifinals. Russell was a big reason why the Panthers played for the league title scoring 24 points in that game.

Well, the 5-foot-10 guard came up big again on Sunday at Saint Joseph’s Hagan Arena. He scored a team-high 19 points to lead Imhotep Charter to a 77-75 win over Constitution in the Public League championship game. He also had four rebounds, four assists and two steals. As a result, Russell walked away with the Most Valuable Player award.

“It’s a great feeling, but I just wanted to win the championship,” Russell said. “That big trophy [championship trophy] is my MVP.”

Imhotep Charter trailed by as many as 10 points in a tightly-contested game. They pulled off an exciting come-from-behind win.

“We were just talking to each other,” Russell said. “We kept saying we were still there. I’m just in the moment, whatever comes to me I take. I just wanted to win.”

Russell did receive plenty of help from his teammates Khalief Tinley (12 points) DeAnte Robinson (11 points), Jaekwon Carlyle (10) and Devin Liggeons (10). But Russell’s ability to knock down the three-point shot and get to the basket was huge for the Panthers.

“He had a great performance today,” Liggeons said. “He’s only a sophomore. He’s still young. He’s just getting better. He really stepped up for us.”

Imhotep Charter head coach Andre Noble has watched Russell develop over the course of the season.

“Daron has been excellent,” Noble said. “He’s a very talented kid. He is the kid that after practice goes and shoots for another hour or 45 minutes. He continues to work. When you work, good things happen to you.”

Imhotep Charter will face Neumann-Goretti on Friday, Feb. 27 for the District 12 city title at Saint Joseph’s Hagan Arena. The tip off will be at 6:45 p.m.


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