WITH THE mercy rule long since lapsed, West Philadelphia senior Tyquaan Bardlavens re-entered the game in the fourth quarter after sitting since the second frame.
The 6-3, long-armed forward was a little rusty. He missed a short jumper on a fastbreak, committed two fouls and missed a three-pointer.
Cut him some slack, though. The 18-year-old, who lives near 50th and Brown Streets, isn't tasked with the scoring load.
He is the do-everything man for the Speedboys, who triumphed easily, 76-32, against a shorthanded Parkway West squad in last night's West Side Winter Classic hosted at West Philly.
"That's really my role," Bardlavens said. "Being a skinny dude and playing forward or center. If that's what I have to do to help my team, then that's what I have to do."
He finished with only four points, but he also grabbed seven rebounds, nabbed seven steals and blocked three shots. The scoring was provided by starters Quadir Tann and Anthony King Jr., who had seven points each. Jabbar Shy led the starting five with eight points and three steals. Reserve forward Tiar Tart-Spencer led all scorers with 15 in mostly mopup action.
The win means West will face Academy at Palumbo, today at 2 p.m.
Parkway West had only seven available players, because one was sick and one didn't show up, coach Peter Canale said. About 15 minutes before the 7 p.m. tip, only four players were on the court warming up. Khalif Hester eventually led Parkway with 10 points.
The Speedboys had little trouble getting ready. They jumped out to a 10-0 lead that swelled to 23-9 after the first and 58-16 by halftime.
"No slacking," Bardlavens said with a smile. "Just keep your foot on the pedal. We don't let up for anybody."
Quality instincts for someone who didn't start playing organized basketball until ninth grade when he attended Imhotep Charter.
He transferred to West Philly as a sophomore and said he's learned a lot from coach Jermaine Snell. Bardlavens has also taken to his jack-of-all-trades role.
"I get to play with a bunch of different talented guards," he said. "When I get the ball, I just try to get an assist or find somebody open."
Speedboys were open often. A fullcourt trap forced several turnovers and led to long scoring runs. West finished with 20 steals. Parkway committed 24 turnovers.
With Bardlavens anchoring the defense and dishing the ball on offense, it was clear teammates enjoyed playing with him.
"It's a good experience on this team," he said. "There are a lot of different guys that I'm cool with and friends with."
A supporting role suits him just fine. Bardlavens is after one thing.
"I'm trying to win a championship just like everybody else," he said.