Oscar Uduma is Bonner-Prendergast’s blue-collar worker, a specialist in defense and dirty work.
The senior swingman handled his usual chores on the Frederico Gymnasium floor on Friday night, lifting three steals, dishing four assists, battling in the paint against Archbishop Ryan’s big men despite a disadvantage in height.
He also kick-started the Friars on their way to a 77-53 victory with a rare display of offensive firepower in the first quarter, scoring 10 points with a pair of three-pointers and two other mid-range shots.
“Just had a good night,” Uduma said after Bonner-Prendergast improved to 15-3 (9-2 in the Philadelphia Catholic League).
Junior guard Malik Edwards led all scorers with 21 for Bonner-Prendergast, which kept pace in its drive to secure a first-round bye and top-four seed in the PCL playoffs, which start the week of Feb. 10.
“That’s definitely what we’re pushing toward,” Edwards said. “We talk about it every day. We’re trying to get the home-court advantage and first-round bye.”
Bonner-Prendergast hit five three-pointers in the first quarter, breaking to a 24-12 lead. The Friars were nearly as hot in the second quarter, taking a 46-22 advantage into the locker room at halftime when senior Connor Eagan beat the buzzer with a short jumper off a feed from Cobe Ruley.
“It covers a lot of errors when you shoot the ball like that,” Bonner-Prendergast coach Kevin Funston said. “It makes the game a lot easier, the guys a lot more confident.”
The usual suspects were part of the Friars’ offensive show in the first half, with senior guards Tyreese Watson (15 points, eight rebounds) and Donovan Rodriguez (10 points, four steals) controlling the game’s pace and Edwards displaying his versatility with a pair of three-point jumpers as well as a pair of traditional three-point plays.
“The sky’s the limit for Malik,” Funston said. “He’s got so much potential."
The extra boost for the Friars in the first quarter was Uduma’s sizzling shooting. He was 4-for-5 from the field, including two-for-two in attempts from behind the arc.
“He’s capable of it,” Funston said of Uduma. “A lot of times we have to remind him to look at the basket."
Senior swingman Gediminas Mokseckas scored 14, and sophomore guard Jalen Snead made four three-pointers on his way to 16 points for Archbishop Ryan (13-6, 7-4).
The Raiders played their third game in a row without junior Aaron Lemon-Warren, the PCL’s leading scorer with a 23.7 average. Archbishop Ryan coach Joe Zeglinski said Lemon-Warren underwent surgery for a broken bone in his foot on Friday and likely was out for the season, although it was possible he would be available in mid-March if the Raiders advance deep in the state tournament.
“They played so hard,” Funston said of Archbishop Ryan. “It’s in their DNA.”
The second half was made to order for Uduma, a football star for the Friars’ PCL Class 4A champions. He didn’t score but played sturdy defense, spent lots of time on the floor, grabbed a pair of steals and dished two assists.
“I like playing defense,” Uduma said. “I like jumping on loose balls. Fifty-fifties. Those are mine. Rebounds, boxing out, just looking for teammates. Everything.”
Archbishop Ryan 12 10 19 12 – 53
Bonner-Prendergast 24 22 12 19 – 77
AR: Gediminas Mokseckas 14, Christian Isopi 2, Luke Boyd 4, Dominic Vazquez 12, Jalen Snead 16, Mike Kryzczak 3, Mike Paris 2.
BP: Donovan Rodriguez 10, Tyreese Watson 15, Malik Edwards 21, Connor Eagan 6, Oscar Uduma 11, James Welde 6, Christion Johnson 2, Cobe Ruley 3, Mike Coogan 2, Gestin Liberis 1.