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PIAA 5A: Imhotep seniors end careers with state title repeat over Exeter

03/25/2023, 12:15am EDT
By Owen McCue

Owen McCue (@Owen_McCue)

HERSHEY, Pa. — Five seasons ago, a group of five seniors — Donta Scott, Dahmir Bishop, Chereef Knox, Fatayn Wesley and Jamil Riggins — left Imhotep Charter as one of the best classes in program history.

Little did they know the group of scrawny eighth graders soon to arrive at the school would one day rival them in terms of accolades and accomplishments.

On Friday night at the GIANT Center in Hershey, Imhotep head coach Andre Noble said goodbye to another historic group with a 78-40 PIAA 5A championship win over Exeter.

It was the final accomplishment for a seven-member senior class — six of whom have been at Imhotep for four years —  that proved itself special all season, putting themselves among the Panthers standard bearers.

“What’s so crazy about what you just asked is the coaches literally just said thanks to all the seniors and all the older guys for being that group that everybody wants to come back now,” senior Yahmir Satterfield said. “The middle schoolers want to come to Imhotep and be a part of this. “

As they have throughout the postseason, the Panthers (30-3) made things look easy on Friday night, getting ahead 16-6 after a quarter of play and 43-21 at half before the running clock started in the third quarter as they went up by 30.

Senior Kentucky commit Justin Edwards led the way with 19 points, seven rebounds and three steals. Senior Florida Gulf Coast commit Rahmir Barno (three assists) and junior Ahmad Nowell (four assists) added 12 points apiece and Satterfield chipped in another nine for the ninth state title in program history.

They finished off their season with Public League, District 12 and PIAA titles for the second straight season. They’re Noble’s fifth group to repeat as champions, joining three-peats in 2011-13 and 2017-19.

“It’s kind of mind blowing and crazy because that’s how we were as freshmen,” Barno said of becoming one of the group’s future players look up to. “To grow every year being here and being one of those guys is just something that’s crazy. We worked for it all four years being here. Just to be one of those teams is something amazing, something great.”

Imhotep senior Yahmir Satterfield celebrates during the Panthers' PIAA 5A win over Exeter on Friday at the GIANT Center in Hershey. (Photo: Mark Jordan/CoBL)

Noble took his starters out with 6:45 left in the third quarter, giving Edwards, Barno and Satterfield and a chance to share the floor together one last time with classmates Malcolm Muhammad and Amaury Hunter before finishing off their high school careers watching the future of Imhotep compete over the game’s final minutes.

Noble’s senior group finished their careers with three straight Public League championships and back-to-back District 12 and PIAA state championships. The group became the first school from Pennsylvania to win the prestigious City of Palms Tournament back in December. 

The Panthers will finish the season nationally ranked (currently ranked No. 5 by MaxPreps) once again with wins over some of the top teams in the country and gave the city a treat with a highly anticipated matchup against Camden (N.J.) that lived up to the hype — Imhotep’s last loss before ending its season with 14 straight victories.

“Most of our groups have done this,” Noble said. “Donte’s group, all five of them were here since ninth grade. This group six of the seven have been here since ninth grade. You just get so close to them because you see them from when they were scrawny kids to when they’re now trying to be young men. It’s cool to see that process.”

“We’re really proud of them 30-3 with the schedule that this team had, it’s a special team,” Noble said.

Edwards and Barno, who have piled up countless games together playing for both the Panthers and in AAU together since freshman year, are certainly the stars of the senior class, guiding the team over the last two seasons alongside Nowell. Satterfield improved every year, turning himself from a player at the bottom of the rotation last season into an important piece as a starter in his final season.

Baasil Saunders, Muhammad and Hunter would be big pieces on almost any other high school basketball team in the area. They’ve all played some type of role in keeping the program amongst the best in not just the state but the country.

“From Ronny Raphael, who was last year, to Yahmir this year, if you don’t have glue guys who are just big on team, it’s hard to accomplish what these guys have done,” Noble said. “We’ve been blessed to have great teammates on this team, like a Yahmir Satterfield, like a Malcolm Muhammad, like an Amaury Hunter. Those guys are just so big.”

The seniors leave behind a squad with plenty of talent in place. Nowell is one of the top players nationally in the junior class. Junior forward Makye Taylor could be a future D1 big. 

Then there’s another group of scrawny freshmen led by guard R.J. Smith and forward Zaahir Muhammad-Gray who had plenty of good role models to follow. 

Imhotep senior Rahmir Barno had 12 points in Friday's win over Exeter. (Photo: Mark Jordan/CoBL)

“Coming in as freshmen, we were kind of under seniors and just learning and growing,” Barno said. “Now, to be here and have freshmen under us and help them learn and grow and have them kind of under our wing and just helping them experience this moment right here.”

“It’s definitely something they should take pride into and run with it, if they want to be great,” Satterfield said.

The senior group definitely left its impact on the Panthers' youngesters.

Smith said Edwards was a big reason he ended up at Imhotep, the two growing up in the same part of the city. He spent time after most practices this season getting shots up on the gun with Satterfield, who he describes as one of the hardest working guys he knows.

“Always make great decisions, never fold under pressure,” Smith said of what he learned of this senior group. “We’ve had times where we could have folded but we didn’t.

“It’s been a great experience. They came in, they welcomed me. Brother Andre had trust in me and the senior class, they treated me well. They trusted me on the floor as far as pass-wise. They trusted me to make decisions on the court. They really brought me in.”

As they piled up wins, the senior group built something even more special off the floor.

“Our brotherhood,” Satterfield said of the team’s defining quality. We’re really like a family, man. We’ve been through a lot. Us going out in our senior year like this is definitely good for us.”

By Quarter

Exeter 6 | 15 | 15 | 4 || 40

Imhotep 16 | 27 | 22 | 13 || 78


Exeter: Anthony Caccese 12, Kevin Saenz 10, Alex Kelsey 8, Zyion Paschall 4, Aidan Dauble 3, Reece Garvin 2, Deven Sheerin 1.

Imhotep: Justin Edwards 19, Ahmad Nowell 12, Rahmir Barno 12, Yahmir Satterfield 9, Makye Taylor 6, RJ Smith 6, Baasil Saunders 3, Malcolm Muhammad 3, Devin Carter 2, Carnell Henderson 2, Jeremiah White 2, Zaahir Muhammad-Gray 2.

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