Commodores Win One for Baker

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>The varsity coaching debut of
normal'>Cornell Parker, a former Maury star that played his College
Basketball at the University of Virginia, came under different circumstances
than he could've envisioned on Wednesday night.
He got a phone call from the longtime Head Coach of the Commodores,
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Jack Baker, asking if he would guide
his team.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Baker, a man with 657 career victories and in year #37
at the helm, was mourning the loss of his mom,
normal'>Frances Baxter Inge Baker, who passed on
December 30th. Without any hesitation,
Parker, the current J.V. Coach at Maury and varsity assistant, agreed to take
over the team in Baker's absence.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>The Commodores rallied from an early 10-point deficit
on the road to defeat Lake Taylor, 53-40 in a pivotal Eastern District matchup that
kept their title hopes alive, remaining one game back of league leader

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"We put this game towards Coach Baker because he lost
his mom and we dedicated this game to him," said Maury 6-foot-1 junior
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'> Ferguson, the game's high scorer with
17 points on 8-of-11 shooting from the field.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"I knew I had to do more things and step up because I
was going to be in the game more and my defense was going to really count.
style=> I try to be the hype man, get my team
involved and score when I can. Basically,
we had to dig deep, and we played as a family and played together."

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Lake Taylor (7-3; 3-2) got off to the quick start
behind guard Darnell Jenkins, who
scored seven of the Titans' first 13 points as they jumped out 13-3.
style=> Maury shot a meager 2-of-15 from the field in
the first quarter and matters got worse when junior guard
normal'>Mike Basnight, the team's leading scorer
so far this year and top perimeter shooter, suffered a concussion after taking a
nasty spill.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>That's when Maury leaned heavily on the Ferguson
brothers, Avontae and
normal'> Ferguson, as well as an improving, yet somewhat green support cast
that includes seniors Domontae
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'> Chapman, juniors
normal'> Williams and
class=SpellE>Draughan, and sophomore
normal'>Blake Gibson.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"The first quarter I thought we played a lot of
one-on-one and there wasn't much ball movement.
But then by the second quarter, the guys started to blend in, play more
together. Our defense was very
aggressive, especially Avontae.
style=> Offensively, we tried to slow it down a
little bit and get it inside," Parker added.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"I think Avontae helped a
lot. He brought a lot of emotion and
energy to our game. We had a lot of
players step up. Jalon
Williams had a great game, Blake did a great job backing up in the first half,
Six (Draughan) coming off the bench and it was a team

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>By half-time, Maury had cut the lead down to five at
23-18 with neither team connecting from three-point distance.
style=> For Lake Taylor, a team that has thrived on
shooting the three-pointer, particularly leading scorer
normal'> Lockhart, things didn't change much in the second half.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>The Titans shot 0-for-10 from long range for the game
as Maury's defense completely bottled them up.
Lake Taylor was unable to convert on penetrate and kick opportunities,
nor did they get many clean looks.
Lockhart, who came in averaging 20.5 points per game, was held to six
points on 3-of-13 shooting.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"In practice, we went over how we couldn't leave their
shooters and wanted to get them out of their comfort zone," Avontae

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>During the third quarter, Maury went to work in the
paint behind Jaleel Ferguson, beginning to play out
from under the shadow of older brother Jamal, a freshman at Marquette after
starring the past four years with the Commodores.
style=> Jaleel scored nine
of his points on the third quarter, playing very active along the baseline.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Meanwhile, Ferguson got helped from Draughan,
a former Lake Taylor player.
class=SpellE>Draughan collected seven boards, three blocks and gave
Maury a physical presence to battle a Lake Taylor team with pretty respectable
size on the frontline.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"At half-time, I thought we needed to get both of those
guys in together. Having those two nice
sized, good athletes in there, I thought that would help us out and down the
stretch they did," Parker went on to say.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Once Maury grabbed the lead in the third quarter, they
never looked back and the closest Lake Taylor got in the fourth period, when
they were outscored 15-6, was six points down.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>One of the major differences came on the backboards, where
the Commodores limited Lake Taylor to just 22 rebounds all night.
style=> It was a much different outing on the glass
for the Titans after out-rebounding Booker T. Washington by 22 in the Ronald
Curry Classic four days earlier.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Maury is now 9-1 overall and 4-1 in the Eastern
District. To win the regular season
crown and the accompanying #1 seed for regionals, they'll likely need to get a
victory on January 25th at Norcom, a place they haven't
won at since December of 2005.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Before that battle, Maury will take on T.C. Williams
from the Northern Region on Saturday at 6:00 PM at Virginia Wesleyan College's
Batten Center as part of the Fifth Annual Basketball Classic
Presented by Cox 11 Sports.

href="">Postgame Audio with
Maury's Cornell Parker
Johnson's Photo Feature on Facebook


Avontae Ferguson - - 17Pts. 8-11FG, 6Reb.
Jaleel Ferguson - - 13Pts. 2Reb. 3Blk. 3Stl
Jalon Williams - - 9Pts. 2-4FG, 5-6FT, 3Ast. 3Stl
Shyheim Draughan - - 4Pts.
4-6FT, 7Reb. 3Blk.

Taylor 40:
Darnell Jenkins - - 16Pts. 7-8FG, 2-4FT, 4Reb. 2Stl.
Treyvond Lockhart - - 6Pts. 3-13FG, 2Reb. 3Ast
Jalyn Holmes - - 5Pts. 2-6FG, 5Reb.
Donovan Powell - - 5Pts. 1-4FG, 3-4FT, 4Reb.



115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";text-decoration:none;text-underline:
none'>Matthew Hatfield
style='font-size:12.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'>
serves as State Basketball Analyst for
style='font-size:12.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";
115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'>, part of the
Network. Check out
text-decoration:none;text-underline:none'>Hatfield's Twitter page
115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'> for more sports related info and
updates. To contact Matthew, please
115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";text-decoration:none;text-underline:
and don't forget to listen to High School Sports Talk every Saturday from 10AM
to Noon on
115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";text-decoration:none;text-underline:
none'>ESPN Radio 94.1
style='font-size:12.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'>
and watch him on the
115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";text-decoration:none;text-underline:
none'>Cox 11 Sports Report
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