WATCHING AND celebrating great basketball moments is one thing. Trying to create them, as Tyhiem "Redz" Perrin can now attest, is quite another.
In time, Perrin suspects he'll serve Imhotep Charter, the state's defending Class AA champion, as the sixth man. But as star junior wing player Ameen Tanksley nurses a wrist injury, Perrin is starting and darned if he's not trying to make the most of the opportunity.
Like many players last night in the middle game of three in the South Philly Showcase (today's part II was canceled due to the threatened snow), Perrin, a 6-3, 185-pound junior wing guard, experienced some uneven moments.
But at the end, there he was feeling good because he had contributed 12 points and four rebounds to a 51-49 success over Frankford.
The very end, that is.
Perrin went to the line for a pair of double-bonus opportunities in the final 26.9 seconds. The sequence went miss, miss, miss and...phew, finally, make.
The success occurred with 5.4 showing. Frankford steamed upcourt and Steffon Poole wound up with the ball on the left baseline. He flipped underneath near the right block to Imire Taylor. His hurried flip shot did not connect.
"When [Taylor] was in the air, I was saying, 'Please don't let him make this layup,'" Perrin said. "And then he missed and it was, 'All right! We won!'"
If the shot had succeeded and 'Hotep had proceeded to lose in OT, Perrin would have been seeing Redz. Not performing well at the line in the stretch will do that to a guy.
So, what happened? Was he nervous?
"Nah, I wasn't nervous," he said. "I was just frustrated because things weren't going right. On the first one I let it go hard and it didn't go in. So I let it go softer the second time and that didn't go in, either.
"I was mad at myself when I missed the third one. I'm not too accustomed to taking big foul shots with a bunch of people making noise. Before that last one I let out all my frustration and just tried to be calm. All those people right in front of me; I blocked them out. I closed my eyes, then opened them and shot."
Perrin shot 5-for-7 from the floor and his three-point play, in transition on a pass from David Appolon (22 points), provided the Panthers a 50-43 lead with 1:48 remaining.
Nice, but still not as cool as one he posted last season.
"Like every kid, I wanted to be out there more often," he said. "But I understood because we a lot of good seniors [wing players] in guys like Sam Prescott, Ivory Wells, Kenny Battle and Will Adams. My biggest moment was the and-1 I had against Math, Civics and Sciences. Coach [Andre Noble] always called that the play of the year."
Because of his red hair - close to orange, really - and numerous freckles, Perrin is quite the legend at Imhotep.
He shares that designation with his twin sister, Tawanda. Oops, she's not his twin.
"Everybody thinks we are," Tyhiem said. "Our hair's the same. We've got all the freckles. Our smiles look the same. We really do look like twins. But she's a year younger. She was hoping to play basketball, but that didn't work out...Now she might become a cheerleader."
Meanwhile, "Redz" is only one of Perrin's nicknames. Assistant Jarrard "Mutch" Jones has labeled him "Oscar the Grouch" because he enjoys doing the dirty work.
"Things are different for me this year," said Perrin, who lives near 25th and Diamond in the shadows of the Hank Gathers Rec Center. "I'm not mostly just sitting on the bench. Now I have to be out there always playing hard and doing my part. Whatever the coaches need me to do, I'm doin' it."
Appolon added six rebounds and three assists to his outing. Terrell Johnson mixed eight points, six boards and three apiece of assists and steals while Earl Brown managed seven boards and four blocks. Erik Copes, a 6-8 junior who has already committed to George Washington University, posted the same number of rejections.
Poole (12) was the only Pioneer to score in double figures. He also claimed a half-dozen rebounds. Point guard Dehaven Brown totaled four assists and two steals and was the game's leading board man (eight).
Around school, Perrin is still trying to convince the kids to believe in this year's Panthers.
"They know we lost a lot," he said. "The more they see of our new guys, the more they'll like our chances."