By Paul Eberle
Attending class made me a late arrival for the Saturday, February 11, game featuring our Community College of Philadelphia Colonials against the Johnson Community College (Jaguars) of Scranton PA.
It was a close game with a few minutes left in the half, and Johnson took a one point lead after a pair of three-point plays and a nice block off a Colonial fast break.
Guard Rafeeq Bush then checked into the game and quickly hit a three-pointer. Two good defensive possessions led to a shot clock violation and a travelling call. Those plays were sandwiched around an offensive rebound and strong putback by Marcus Johnson.
After a steal and jumpshot at the foul line by Bush, the Colonials had a five point lead at half, and it seemed like it would be a close game. For the first five minutes of the half it was, as the score showed 51-46 with 15 minutes remaining.
Then the Colonials full-court press started creating problems for the Jaguars. The press forced turnover after turnover, and the lead racked up. The Jaguars thwarted a number of fast break layups, but the persistence of the Colonials led to countless offensive rebounds and followup layups, or foul shots.
Johnson only had six players on the bench, and when one of their better players fouled out with over ten minutes in the game, you could see them tire. Between the lack of players, and the Colonials strategy to pressure and take advantage of their speed and depth you could see the tide turn.
In a flash, after back-to-back three-pointers by Marcus Johnson, it was 80-56 and the Jaguars were limping around the court. Final score, 95-61.
A few notes: Marcus Johnson played outstanding. He had 32 points and showed the ability to finish at the rim, a smooth jumper, and even a had few crowd-pleasing dunks. But numerous players contributed to the win.
Center Phillip Pringle not only did the things a center should, like block shots, rebound and play solid defense, he showed he can score too. He scored 19 points not just in the paint, but with his outside shot and free throws.
Rafeeq Bush led the great guard play that forced so many second-half turnovers. He had 15 points, ran the offense well, and didn’t force any bad shots. He played well in all aspects of the game. Despite the inferior opponent, the Colonials have a great record and look poised to make a great run in the upcoming EPCC tournament.