Ladji Fofana played basketball for Frankford last season, went back to his Bronx home, and then returned to Philly when he transferred to Martin Luther King in October.
Of leaving New York for a second time, the 6-foot-3, 180-pound senior wing said, "I just wanted to get away from all the trouble that was around me. It wasn't a good environment."
Fofana continued his solid play of late in a PIAA Class AAAA state quarterfinal Saturday against Plymouth Whitemarsh. His 12 points and seven rebounds helped the Cougars storm past the frigid-shooting Colonials, 59-43, at Norristown.
"I'm enjoying this ride," the 18-year-old said. "I never experienced anything like this before. Hopefully we can keep it going."
Fofana lives in North Philly, near Broad Street and Lehigh Avenue, with his legal guardian, Sharee Bennett.
"He can score, play defense, he passes well, and he gets a lot of steals," King coach Sean Colson said. "He gives us another option."
In beating PW, which shot 14 for 47 from the field, the Cougars (22-8) earned their first berth in the state semifinals. They will meet District 8 champion Allderdice (26-2) on Tuesday at a neutral site and time to be determined.
Fofana's fastbreak layup gave King a 33-22 advantage in the third quarter. Early in the fourth, Tyheem Harmon's three-pointer made it 45-27. Nine players scored for the Cougars compared with four for the Colonials.
"It's hard to prepare for us, because you don't know who's going to lead us in scoring in a given game," said Colson, whose team sprinted to a 17-4 lead.
Speedy guards Jabri McCall (11 points, four boards) and Sammy Foreman (10 points, eight assists) were also double-digit scorers. Tyere Marshall, a 6-8 center, chipped in with eight points and seven rebounds.
Foreman and McCall combined to hold PW's Xzavier Malone, a 6-4 junior wing guard who played for King the last two seasons, to 11 points on 3-for-14 shooting.
"Sammy and Jabri know him and everything he likes to do," Colson said.
Andre Mitchell paced the Colonials, who forged a 20-20 tie late in the first half by going on a 12-3 run, with 20 points. The senior guard netted his 1,000th career point in the closing seconds.
Harmon (seven boards, three assists) nailed a pair of second-half treys and Nasir Bell chipped in six points and two assists off the bench.
PW (26-4) missed all 12 of its three-point attempts.
Plym. Whitemarsh 8 12 7 16 - 43
Martin Luther King 17 8 17 17 - 59
PW: Andre Mitchell 20, Jimmy Murray 6, Devon Monteiro-Gray 6, Xzavier Malone 11.
MLK: Jabri McCall 11, Tyheem Harmon 6, Tyere Marshall 8, Ladji Fofana 12, Sammy Foreman 10, Nasir Bell 6, Rasool Samir 4, Tymir Cooper 1, Aron Walker 1.