MARTIN LUTHER KING 66, IMHOTEP CHARTER 60
While Chase Rodgers can sometimes bump heads with Sean Colson, the senior forward says he likes the hard-driving ways of the Martin Luther King coach.
"He's harder on me than anybody else" he said. "At the end of the day, I know that's the best thing for me. It's going to make me a better overall player."
In his first starting assignment of the season Tuesday afternoon at Imhotep Charter, Rodgers netted a game-high 18 points, including four three-pointers, to spark the Cougars to a 66-60 triumph in the Public League Division A opener for both teams.
"Chase has a lot of talent, but sometimes he loses focus," Colson said. "He had a good practice [Monday], showed up against Imhotep, and gave us a strong effort."
The 6-foot-6, 205-pounder nailed back-to-back treys in the late going, from the right baseline and then the left wing, to put King (3-1) ahead, 61-58, with just over a minute remaining.
"I gained a lot of confidence in my three-point shot over the summer," Rodgers said. "If I see that the defender is not up on me, I'm going to take the shot."
Rodgers shot 6 for 11 from the field (4 for 5 from beyond the arc) and 2 for 2 from the line. He added nine rebounds, including three on the offensive end.
"He likes to take threes," Colson said. "I'm fine with that, but I want him to first give us an inside presence. I want him to go inside and then out."
King, the defending Public League champion, rebounded from Sunday's 75-71 loss to Oak Ridge (Fla.) at the eighth annual National High School Hoops Festival at DeMatha (Md.).
"We were ahead by seven points in the fourth quarter," Colson said, "but we just couldn't close it out."
Against Imhotep, guards Sammy Foreman (six assists) and Jabri McCall (four) chipped in 13 and 12 points, respectively, for the Cougars. Tyere Marshall, a 6-8 transfer from Roxborough, produced 10 first-half points.
King shot 9 for 25 from three-point land. McCall and point guard Tyheem Harman (four assists) each hit two treys.
The Panthers (1-3) played without senior guard and Wagner signee Devin Liggeons, who suffered a broken hand in practice Sunday. "He's our captain," Imhotep coach Andre Noble said. "A lot of our other kids are young and trying to figure things out."
Rodgers, who lives in Mount Airy, has drawn interest from the likes of Hofstra, LIU Brooklyn, and Niagara.
The hosts were paced by Khalief Tinley's 14 points, nine rebounds, and two steals. DeAndre Robinson (13 points) and Daron Russell (12) were next in line.
Imhotep was also missing 6-5 wing Nysir Marshburn and reserve guard Wyheem Lowman, both juniors, due to injuries.
Martin Luther King 20 13 15 18-66
Imhotep Charter 19 11 14 16-60
MLK: Tyheem Harmon 7, Jabri McCall 12, Tyere Marshall 10, Chase Rodgers 18, Sammy Foreman 13, Nasir Bell 3, Rasool Samir 3.