Imhotep Charter junior Jaquan Arrington doesn't remember much about his performance in the Public League championship game last season against Constitution.
Either it was too long ago or he didn't play much or make any memorable plays.
Thursday night at Ben Franklin, however, Arrington led the Panthers, at times in spectacular fashion, to a 66-51 division A win against the host Generals.
Arrington finished with a game-high 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting. He also added five rebounds and a blocked shot. Junior guard Daron Russell added 10 points, nine assists, and six rebounds while senior Jaekwon Carlyle chipped in 11 points.
"It was just time to step up," said Arrington, a 6-foot-4, 210-pound forward. "Last year I wasn't starting. But Devon Liggeons [now at Wagner] left, so it was time to step up and help Daron and Jaekwon out. Basically over the summer, I put in work to become one of our leading scorers. That's what I want to become. I don't want to be a six-point-per-game person, so basically it's time to step up."
Last season, Arrington scored 18 points in all of league play.
On Thursday, his leaping, hanging, twisting layup while being fouled in the fourth quarter gave the Panthers (2-1, 2-0) a 45-40 edge after he made the free throw.
"He could do that every game," Russell said. "He's big, physical, fast, and athletic. He could do this every game if he wanted to. We just have to make him want to."
Constitution whittled a 13-point, first-half deficit to just 34-25 by halftime and then tied the game at 37 with three minutes left in the third period.
Maurice Waters led the Generals (1-1) with 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting. He also added seven rebounds (four offensive).
Arrington, however, scored eight points in the final frame and helped build a 55-46 lead with 3 minutes, 20 seconds remaining.
"I just came out with more aggression," he said. "Last year it was a little too close in the championship, so we had to get rid of them this year."
"I didn't play that much," he said of the title game. "Honestly, I don't even remember. It was a while ago. I don't even remember."
Arrington's increased aggressiveness this season is a welcome sight for Imhotep head coach Andre Noble.
"I think the biggest thing is just being comfortable playing," Noble said. "But I want him to work even harder. I still think if he worked harder he could be the best player in his class. But we just saw some of the things he can do."
Arrington, who lives near Strawberry Mansion, has offers from Binghamton and Hampton. More colleges are likely to express interest if he continues to penetrate the paint and attack the rim.
His coaches and teammates might do their best to make sure he does.
"They always grind me up for not getting to the basket and being aggressive," Arrington said. "Tonight I had to show them I could really do it."
Imhotep Charter 20 14 8 24 - 66
Constitution 12 13 13 13 - 51
IC: Jaquan Arrington 19, Jaekwon Carlyle 11, Khatib Cousins 6, Chereef Knox 2, Bernard Lightsey 5, Daron Russell 10, Donte Scott 3, Kobe Thomas 6, Joshua Townsend 4.
C: Jamaal Brown 6, Youssef Diabate 8, Tamir Green 9, Hakim Hudson 3, Nasir Randolph 5, Anthony Satchell 5, Maurice Waters 15.