Mike McCoy (@MikeMcCoysMind)
Hakeem Baxter of Philadelphia Electric & Technology Charter had 25 points in a sensational second half comeback against New York City’s Thomas Jefferson to win 80-74 in the second game of the Villa Classic at Arcadia University.
P.E.T.’s senior guard scored 14 of his 25 in the second half as his team trailed Thomas Jefferson until the last three minutes of the game.
“Hakeem carried us down the stretch,” P.E.T. coach James Lewis told CoBL afterwards. “He performed today, he knew he had it and he displayed it today around here.”
Jai Williams, a Saint Joseph’s commit, had 17 points in the contest despite only playing a little over two minutes of the third quarter due to foul trouble.
Williams helped keep P.E.T. into the game with two dunks in the middle of the second quarter that had the crowd going wild.
Steve Griffin, Baxter’s AAU teammate for the Hunting Park Warriors, had nine points and with 2:28 left in the game fell awkwardly on his ankle. He came back soon after, as it was a result of cramps from him coming out for his first game of the season.
Thomas Jefferon’s Michael Watson had 21 points in the game as he made six shots from beyond the arc in a game that used the college three-point line to mark the shots. Rachard Moody and Khalil Jackson for Jefferson had 13 and 14 points respectively
Lewis said that his team made a change defensively to a 1-2-1-1 that helped his team stop Thomas Jefferson offensively in that fourth quarter.
“We had guys in foul trouble early when we were in our soft 2-3 zone and they hurt us with some threes,” he said.
One of the keys to the game was free throws, especially down the last stretch of the game as P.E.T. went 24-of-33 from the linewithoutmissing a single free throw in the fourth quarter
Lewis noted that University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Iona, Fairfield and Drexel were on Baxter’s list of probable colleges, but no offers have been made yet at this time.
“He needs to work on his decision making,” Lewis said. “At the next level he is going to be a point guard and he needs to learn how to do that as well as being a scorer.”
The Villa Classic as a tournament displays the best schools from Philadelphia and New York’s public league, competing in a city versus city battle; the first game featured a non-Philly team from Camden.
“There are four schools (representing) Philadelphia, there are five representing New York,” Lewis said. “So we didn’t want to be the first team from Philadelphia to lose.”
P.E.T. improves to 2-2 after they lost to a good St. Benedict’s team over a week ago. Lewis added how big of a win this game was.
“It was a must-win game after we lost to a Public League team a couple days ago,” he said. “We head out to Kentucky next week for the King of The Bluegrass tournament and will take on the best team in the state of Tennessee. So we needed some momentum going out there.”