Imhotep Charter will head to the Public League boys’ basketball championship game against Constitution on Saturday night, Feb. 23 at the Liacouras Center (7 p.m.) behind the play of its outstanding seniors Dahmir Bishop and Donta Scott.
Bishop scored a game-high 23 points in leading Imhotep Charter, the defending Public League champions, to a 84-64 victory over Math, Civics and Sciences in the Public League semifinals at the High School of the Future. The 6-foot-4 senior guard displayed some brilliant open court skills and made a number of spectacular dunks.
Scott, a 6-foot-7 senior, was impressive scoring 18 points and pulling down eight rebounds. He also helped the Panthers with his ballhandling and defensive exploits.
“They’ve been playing even better down the stretch,” said Andre Noble, Imhotep Charter’s head coach. “We’re really excited about the way they’re playing. When seniors lead like they did today we’re a pretty good basketball team.”
Bishop feels Scott had a big impact on the game with his offensive talents. His style of play and versatility helped to elevate Bishop’s game.
“Donta is a real key player on our team especially on offense,” Bishop said. “He opens the floor up for everybody else. He definitely opens the floor up for me playing off him is really easy for me. He opens everything up.”
Imhotep Charter will be making its third consecutive trip to the league finals. Scott is looking forward to playing in the championship game.
“It’s a pleasure,” Scott said. “It’s one of the things we wanted to do. I feel like we accomplished that getting to the championship game. Now, all we have to do is win. That will be a big achievement for us.”
In getting to the finals, the Panthers received contributions from 6-foot-6 senior forward Chereef Knox (16 points, six rebounds) and 5-foot-7 senior guard Fatayn Wesley (16 points).
Imhotep will face Constitution in the league title game. Constitution topped Mastery Charter North, 72-67, in the semifinals.
The Panthers (21-5) will be quite a challenge for the Generals (18-8) with their size. Constitution played Imhotep Charter earlier this season dropping a 77-58 decision to the Panthers.
Constitution will rely on the play of its backcourt. In the victory over Mastery Charter Charter North, 6-foot-5 senior guard Jabari Merritt had a team-high 25 points and 5-foot-10 junior Keshaun Hammonds tallied 19 points.
“Those have been our two guys all season long,” said Rob Moore, Constitution’s head coach. “They were our two best players in the state [2A championship game last year]. It wasn’t necessarily their team. We had Damon [Wall] and Jahmir [Marable-Williams], but their the ones who had the two best games in the state championship.”
In addition to Merritt and Hammonds, 5-foot-10 sophomore Quadir Miller had 16 points. Merritt is thrilled about playing for the league crown.
“We had a good game today,” Merritt said. “We wanted to be here. We just had to put in the work. We lost in the Final Four last year, but went all the way to the state chip [championship]. I’m really excited because we weren’t here last year. This is my last year. It’s my senior year. I just want to see what it feels like.”
The girls’ Public League championship game will be played on Saturday, Feb. 23 at the Liacouras Center. The game will start at 5 p.m.