Relentless Pharaohs take care of business

Relentless Pharaohs take care of business
November 25
00:00 2015
Keith Stagg of the Pharaohs soars to the basket.



Quality Education Academy (QEA) started slowly and finished with a rush. The end result was an overwhelming 97-42 home-court victory over Washington Academy last week.

The first quarter was relatively competitive. By the start of the third quarter, however, the Pharaohs’ suffocating defense set the tone for a 35-point lead (72-37).

“Our guys came out flat,” said coach Isaac Pitts of QEA, whose team improved to 6-0.

“We talked a lot about that at halftime. If we are to have a championship pedigree, we can’t afford to be up and down.

“You can’t win championships by turning it on and turning it off. You have to play with the same focus and intensity all the time. We went with a more up-tempo approach in the second half and it made a difference.”

The Pharaohs got a big lift from Pape Ndiaye, who had struggled to find his shot during the season’s opening weeks. The 6-foot-9 center/power forward finished with a game-high 23 points and 8 rebounds. Ndiaye missed all of last season with a torn ACL and did not play on the AAU circuit this past summer as he has during the previous two years.

This game was the first time this season that Ndiaye showed the form that attracted intense interest from Washington State, Mississippi State, UNC Charlotte and Oklahoma. He scored on mid-range jumpers, hook shots and offensive put-backs.

“It was the game that all of us had been waiting for,” said Pitts. “In our first five games, Pape was so-so. But at the same time, he was out for an entire season. It takes time to get back into the flow. That’s why I advised him to be patient because I knew that his time would come, and against Washington Academy, it did.”

QEA went on a rampage at both ends of the floor in the second half. During that span, the Pharaohs overwhelmed Washington by a count of 57-17. The defense forced multiple turnovers, which led to uncontested dunks at the other end of the floor.

Perhaps it was fitting that QEA’s final points of the game came on Keith Stagg’s windmill slam right before the buzzer sounded.

Ndiaye wasn’t a solo act for the home team. Deshawn Corprew (21 points) soared and scored and played stifling one-on-one defense. Stagg finished with 12 points, and four other QEA players – Malik Brevard, Jaylan McGill, Andre’ Toure and Marsellis Purvis – contributed eight points apiece.

There have been some anxious moments for Ndiaye in the early going. He had hoped to get off to a better start. At the Phenom High School Showcase held last week at Forsyth Country Day, Nidaye was eager to prove himself in the two-day event, which annually attracts a herd of scouts from high-level college basketball programs.

In both games, Ndiaye’s shot was off. But what concerned him most was his inability to establish his on-court presence as he had two seasons ago prior to his injury.

“We won, but I still felt like I should have helped out a little more,” said Ndiaye. “The game (against Washington Academy) was one that I really needed. My teammates got me the ball and everything worked very well. Things are slowly starting to come together for me.”

For Washington Academy (3-1), the only player to reach double digits in scoring was A.J. Gaston with 12 points. 




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Craig Greenlee

Craig Greenlee

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