HAMBURG, Pa. - Haneef Vaughn is one of the city's most tenacious defenders on the basketball court. At 6-foot-1, with long arms, quick hands, and fleet feet, the Constitution senior is a constant disrupter on defense.
However, it was his offensive limitations that turned him into an excellent defender.
"Before, I couldn't shoot," Vaughn said Friday after the Generals overwhelmed St. John Neumann, 83-45, at Hamburg High School. "So, if I couldn't score, my defense had to be my offense. Just get a steal and go."
He finished the Class A quarterfinal matchup with seven steals. He also added seven rebounds and seven points.
Despite a slow start, the Generals defense eventually forced 27 turnovers and had 19 steals. The game was tied at 10 with 2 minutes, 30 seconds left in the first quarter before a 30-14 spurt earned Constitution ample separation.
"First half, it didn't feel right letting them drive right past you and letting them score," Vaughn said. "In the second half, we had to toughen up and play harder."
Kimar Williams scored a game-high 20 points. He also added eight rebounds and two steals. Ahmad Gilbert contributed 14 points and five steals. Chad Andrews-Fulton coupled 12 points with 10 rebounds. Akeem King had three steals.
As for Vaughn's shooting woes, the West Philadelphia resident said he worked last summer to improve his mechanics.
"I was shooting with two hands," he said, "But I kept working and working and working."
After the Generals lost in the Public League championship game last month, the only thing that matters to Vaughn is winning with his fellow seniors.
Constitution will face Math, Civics, and Sciences Charter in the semifinals Tuesday.
"We lost the [Public League title], so we just have to play harder and win something before we leave," Vaughn said. "Me, Kimar, [Gilbert], Akeem, and Chad, we've been playing for four years now."
St. John Neumann 13 11 6 15 - 45
Constitution 21 17 22 23 - 83
SJN: Kevin Anderson 12, Ra-Quan Mars 12, Otis Anderson 15, Isaac Beiter 2, Nasza Short 4.
C: Chad Andrews-Fulton 12, Ahmad Gilbert 14, Akeem King 10, Kimar Williams 20, Haneef Vaughn 7, Nasir Randolph 3, Anthony Satchell 8, Youssef Diabate 1, Isaiah Bradley 4, Tamir Green 2, Leeron Willis-Worthy 2.