Sophomore guard Jabri McCall scored 19 points and made all 12 of his free throws to help lift the Martin Luther King High School Cougars of Philadelphia over Washington D.C.’s Roosevelt High School Roughriders, 74-58, at the 2014 MLK Hoopfest Showcase in the nation’s capital on Jan. 20.
McCall was matched up against Roosevelt’s senior point guard, Johnnie Shuler, who has committed next year to La Salle University. The resilient McCall locked his opponent down early, as Shuler was just 4-of-15 from the field with 13 points, five assists and two turnovers.
“He’s a skillful player, but he’s tough and he defends well,” Cougars head coach Sean Colson said of McCall. “He did a really good job against Schuler. I know he’s signed to La Salle, but Jabri is only a sophomore. I thought he did a really good job with executing the game plan and making him [Shuler] go left.”
The Cougars led the Roughriders by 19 points at halftime. Roosevelt attempted a comeback in the second half, and shot 58 percent from the floor, compared to 17 percent in the first half. However, it was too late for the Roughriders to recover from their poor opening effort.
“Honestly, from the beginning, we didn’t shoot the ball well. We missed a lot of easy shots early,” said Roosevelt head coach Robert Nickens. “The momentum swung and we tried to recover from it, but you keep trying to make the run, make the run, and eventually we ran out of gas.”
M.L. King played a team-oriented game, with four players scoring in double digits, and pulled down twice as many rebounds as Roosevelt. Cougars senior forward Gregory Bennett registered a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
“The first half was our best half of the season,” said M.L. King junior guard Sammy Foreman, who scored 18 points in the win and has been named as one of the top 2015 prospects in Philadelphia. “We played as a team. The scoring was balanced, we had a lot of assists, got to the free throw line, rebounded the ball. We just played together.”
Senior forward Jibreel Faulkner, a Cal State University commit, led the Roughriders with 13 points and five rebounds.
Roosevelt will face Luke C. Moore Academy in a conference game on Jan. 25.