HERE'S SOME advice for those folks who'd like to save Germantown High: Watch the video of Thursday's basketball game.
Talk about great resolve in the face of long odds!
Down by 10 points with 6 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter of a Public C contest with host Julia Masterman, the Bears stormed alllllll the way back . . . and then some.
G-town 76, Masterman 71. In overtime.
As the game ended, the Bears jumped around various parts of the gym in glee. Masterman's student rooters had been loud throughout - nothing vulgar; just displaying admirable energy - and now some of the Bears - again, nothing disturbing - were standing in front of them, holding index fingers to their lips and purring, "Shhhhhhhh."
Even on a normal day, such a win would have stirred the juices. This day was anything but. As classes began, the students received word that their school is positioned in the guillotine, with the blade to come rushing down this June.
Ten other high schools are also slated to close.
"It was a rough day," said Malcolm Jenkins, a 6-foot, 165-pound junior wing guard. "Everybody was walking around with their heads down. This is bad news. I'm going to be really upset if I can't graduate from Germantown."
Like all students, Jenkins heard an announcement over the PA system by the school's principal, Margaret Mullen-Bavwidinsi.
"We already knew by then, though," he said. "We were talking about it in my first-period class. My teacher had seen it on the news.
"Everywhere you went all day, kids were talking about it. I was talking to this one girl who was really upset. She said, from the time she started elementary, she's been in six different schools that have closed."
Through three quarters, meanwhile, it appeared likely Jenkins would close the game with zero points. The lefty was 0-for-4 from the floor.
Yet, he notched 15 thereafter, thanks mostly to 4-for-5 marksmanship on three-pointers.
When asked if he'd ever hit that many treys in a game, Jenkins laughed and said, "Maybe in street ball. Not in any game with whistles."
So, how'd this happen?
"I've gotta hand it to Masterman's fans. Helluva job," he said. "They were really in my head. I was paying too much attention to them. My coach [Matt Wahl] was saying to take my time and forget about everything else and just hit the shots. That's what I did.
"I was spotting up and getting great passes from No. 13 [Paul Gunter-Scott] and No. 33 [Kevin Norris]. I started to get that feeling: 'I'm gonna make every one.' When you get that feeling, it's great. Can't even put it into words."
Jenkins also posted three assists and two steals. He nailed three treys in the fourth quarter and sacrificed his body to take a crucial charge, as well.
Another bright light in the fourth quarter was Imir Bailey, who scored six of his 13 points; he finished with 10 total rebounds.
Long before the finish, this game was proving to be notable.
Guards Gary Bryant (wing) and Mike Sturdivant (combo) combined to score 47 of Masterman's first 49 points. The others were free throws, shortly before halftime, by sixth man Justin Murray.
In all, Bryant (32) and Sturdivant (31) joined forces to rack up 63 points. Respectively, they shot 11-for-22 and 7-for-22 from the floor while going 7-for-9 and 16-for-23 at the line. Bryant led in treys, 3-1. The other Blue Dragons shot 1-for-14 and Murray didn't post the bucket until 29 seconds remained in OT.
Jenkins was one of five Bears in double figures. Those aside from Jenkins and Bailey were Alpha Togba (16), Norris and Quadere Allen (10 apiece). Norris added eight assists while Gunter-Scott had six. Allen joined Bailey in the 10-rebound club.
Jenkins' final trey came early in OT and provided a 65-61 lead. His last field goal, off a feed from Gunter-Scott, caused the Bears' bench guys to start going berserk, seeing as how the score was 72-64.
Originally from 23rd and Montgomery, in North Philly, Jenkins now lives on East Mt. Pleasant Avenue, off Chew, in Mt. Airy. He spent the ninth grade at George Washington, but was dismissed from the JV squad for missing practices. This is his second year with G-town's varsity.
Thursday morning was proving to be a challenge even before the we're-shutting news.
"I was running late," Jenkins said, "so I had to rush out without eating breakfast. My stomach was feeling messed up. I did get lunch, though. A cheeseburger."
For dinner, he deserved filet mignon.