Anthony Satchell (above) had 11 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter and overtime of Constitution's 65-59 win. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)
There are times when Anthony Satchell needs a bit of a reminder that he’s the Constitution’s captain and leader.
The Generals’ senior had such a moment on Monday night, with three minutes remaining in a Public League “A” Division matchup against Martin Luther King. The Cougars had taken a nine-point lead, their biggest of the night, and Constitution coach Rob Moore laid into his team during a timeout.
“He said it doesn’t look like we’re going hard enough,” Satchell said. “When he said that to me, it locked in, I’ve got to be a senior, and I told my guys never give up, we’ve got to fight to the end.”
Satchell, a muscular 5-11 wing who was nicknamed “the Beast” last year for his aggressive style of play, showed why he earned that nickname over the final three minutes of regulation and overtime, scoring 11 of his 15 points from that point onward to lead his team to a 65-59 win at King.
His two 3-pointers helped close that nine-point gap down to five with two minutes to play, and it was at just a point a minute later after a bucket by junior guard Tamir Green.
The Generals (3-3, 1-1 Pub ‘A’) completed the comeback with 36 seconds remaining in regulation, when junior wing Jamal Brown hit a tough driving right-handed layup, putting it off the glass and in.
"At the end of the day, if we have something easy, we take it," Moore said. "We’re not holding the ball to run the clock out, we’re holding the ball to make the defense come out and guard us to get easier baskets.
"Once we got into overtime, I knew that we had had so much momentum that we’ll be fine," he added.
The defensive pressure that Constitution played with over that closing run continued into overtime, where they held King to just three points, two of which came on a bucket with 14 seconds left and the game's outcome all but decided.
Green, who went from sitting at the end of the varsity bench last year to becoming one of Constitution’s leading scorers this season, had a tough first half, going scoreless and committing several turnovers. But he turned it on in the third quarter, dropping back-to-back triples to spur him onto a 14-point performance.
“I told him, when he was doing bad in the first half, keep his head up high and keep playing his game, don’t worry about it," Satchell said. "When he’s aggressive, he definitely makes plays for all of us, whether he’s dishing it out to me or getting our big guys a bucket.”
It's a big win for a Constitution team that's still learning how to win games at this level, having replaced a pair of Division I players in Ahmad Gilbert and Kimar Williams plus several other seniors from the team's pair of state championships over the last three years.
"I feel like since those guys graduated, people think we’re not going to win anymore, but I believe we’ve got a chance to win the Pub and the states," Satchell said. "Same confidence as last year when we had those guys. I believe in my young guys right now.”
The loss drops Martin Luther King to 2-4 (0-2 Pub ‘A’), putting fourth-year head coach Sean Colson in an unfamiliar position.
The Cougars have been one of the top teams in the city under Colson, a former Pub star and longtime pro, but now the defending PIAA Class AAAA runners-up find themselves searching for an identity two weeks into the season.
“We’re just not a good team right now...I’m not used to this, the program’s not used to this since I’ve been here,” Colson said. “I feel like we’ve got good players but we’re not playing smart and we’re not playing mentally tough, and that’s why we’re losing these games by three and four, overtime, losing leads. You’re not mentally tough, that’s what’s going to happen.”
King was missing its entire starting frontcourt, as Rasool Samir and Nahim Lee sat out the second of a two-game suspension for what Colson called “something in school.”
But they still have senior guards Jabri McCall (12 points) and Nasir Bell (12), plus impact junior Kahssian Kay (19 points) and Bishop McDevitt transfer Qadir Burgess. That quartet accounted for all but 12 of the Cougars’ points on Thursday night, but managed only three points total over the final seven minutes of action.
“The upperclassmen are the ones that are not being tough-minded,” Colson said. “I’m not going to sit there and blame them for us losing or anything like that--when we win, it’s King and when we lose it’s King. And my whole coaching staff, we just don’t understand it because our upperclassmen are really not giving us what we need for us to win games.”