Imhotep Panthers win the Philadelphia Public League Girls' Basketball Championship
On a day when their counterparts were playing for the boys’ championship, the Lady Panthers of Imhotep took on the Lady Pumas of Mastery Charter North at the Palestra. Only twice in the history of the Public League has the same school won both championships. Imhotep did it once a few years back, and University City pulled it off many years ago under the leadership of the Queen of girls’ basketball in Philadelphia, Coach Lurline Jones who was in the stands for this one, still coaching after 50 plus years.
MCN took it to the Panthers early on. After an evenly played first quarter at 12-12, the Pumas roared in the second and galloped into the locker room with a 9 point lead at 32-23. The Pumas were fast breaking and hitting their outside shots, leaving the girls from ‘Tep a little disconnected. Led by Nahemia Johnson and Angela Sanders along with Kayla Griffin and Alanis Hill they were charging on all cylinders and had the momentum on their side.
Imhotep needed to clamp down on defense. After a spirited discussion in the locker room led by head coach David Hargrove, resplendent in his blue suit and bow tie, they pumped themselves up, and started to change the balance later in the third quarter after the Pumas had gone up by 12 earlier in that frame. The third ended with MCN ahead, but only by 2.
Led by Alana Swift, game MVP Jessica Charles, Shayla Green and Zamara Haynes all of whom ended the game in double figures, the Panthers roared themselves and pulled off the comeback with a 19 point turned around, led by relentless pressure defense and voracious and insatiable offense. They basically wore their opponents from MCN down. Final score was 69-59 in favor of the Lady Panthers of Inhotep. They were cheered on with great enthusiasm by the boys’ team assembled on the north end of the revered arena.
After the traditional cutting of the net and a raucous celebration, the girls returned the favor and became the rooting section for their boys’ team who turned around and crushed a very good opponent in MLK to pull off the double chip for Imhotep.
Photo Credit: Jack E. Kapp