Maury Holds off FC 62-60 in Opener

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Season openers are always tricky and
unpredictable. For
normal'>Jack Baker, it was opener #36 as Head Basketball Coach at
Maury. Like many of the ones in the
past, Wednesday night's game in Virginia Beach at First Colonial was a mixture
of good and bad, but in the end, Maury prevailed 62-60.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>The win gave Baker career win #634, the most among all
active VHSL AAA coaches. Trailing not
too far behind with 622 is Highland Springs'
normal'>George Lancaster.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Six-foot-4 swingman and Marquette signee
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Jamal Ferguson, rated a three-star
prospect and #137 in the nation for the Class of 2012 by, led the
way for Maury with 18 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
style='mso-spacerun:yes'> Jamal's younger brother, 6-foot-5 sophomore
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'> Ferguson, finished one rebound shy of
a double-double with 12 points and nine boards.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>This non-district matchup marked the first time in five
years that Maury played a game without Sim Frazier at
point guard. Frazier, who helped guide
the Commodores into the State Tournament two seasons ago, is now playing his
College Basketball at Howard.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"It's a little different.
style='mso-spacerun:yes'> I know I have to step up a lot with
class=SpellE>Sim gone. I knew I
had to score early, but at the same time, I wanted to get my team involved in
order to win the game because I can't win it by myself," stated Ferguson.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"We're still learning to play together and trying to
get in a groove. Once we get everything
right, I think we'll play a better second half and pick it up more.
style='mso-spacerun:yes'> We just have to keep our head up, play hard
and play every game like it's our last."

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Ferguson closed quarters well, ending the first half
with a three-pointer at the horn to put Maury up 35-25.
style='mso-spacerun:yes'> At the end of the third quarter, he had a gorgeous
dump off to Smith to beat the buzzer to extend the lead to 43-33.
style='mso-spacerun:yes'> And with FC trailing by three with 8.4
seconds left in the game, Ferguson grabbed an offensive rebound off a missed
fouled shot and proceeded to knock down a pair at the charity stripe to put the
game on ice.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>The combination of three players bothered by cramps in
the fourth quarter and First Colonial catching fire from the outside with four
of their five makes from behind the arc coming in the game's final six minutes resulted
in a 14-point lead nearly evaporating completely for the Commodores.
style='mso-spacerun:yes'> First Colonial was able to pull within two
with 22.5 seconds to play on junior point guard
normal'> Barber's first field goal.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>For Maury, they have plenty of talent to be a contender
in the Eastern Region, despite the graduation loss of Frazier and sophomore
class=SpellE>Keon Buchanan transferring to Green Run.
style='mso-spacerun:yes'> Nonetheless, there will be an adjustment
period of getting used to life without Frazier.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"The biggest thing is Sim and
I kind of thought the same after four years.
Ever since Sim was a freshman, he took control
of this basketball team. Whatever we
wanted to do or I wanted to do, he knew it and he knew what we wanted in
certain situations. Right now we don't
have anybody to really do that to no fault of their own, they just haven't had
the experience," noted Baker.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"I think Jamal is certainly going to be that person
that's our go-to guy. I thought he made
some great passes, gave some guys some lay-ups and he's got to do a little bit
of everything for us. There's going to
be nights where I probably need 30 from him.
We've got some other guys who can score, but it's
the first time out and we'll get better."

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Maury plans to use a number of different players in the
backcourt, such as seniors Charles
class=SpellE>Staton and John
Young as well as sophomore Mike
class=SpellE>Basnight, Cape Henry transfer
normal'> Williams and Aaron Doman among
others. Even Ferguson will handle the
basketball at many different critical junctures of the game.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>From the start, Jamal was aggressive attacking the
basket and looking to set his teammates up.
Maury jumped out to an 18-6 lead and had seven assists on their field
eight field goals, sharing the ball quite well.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>played the part of x-factor for the Commodores, chipping in 14 points in his first career varsity start.
The 6-foot-1 junior who was one of Maury's top football players in the fall has made an immediate impact on the hardwood.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"Anthony's very solid, doesn't make a lot of mistakes
and he battles," remarked Baker. "He's
not the greatest basketball player, but he knows his role and really does it to

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Keyed by the efforts of 6-foot-3 senior small forward
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'> Jones, one of the most improved
players in the area, First Colonial was able to hang tough every time Maury
looked as if they were pulling away. The
Patriots cut the deficit to four late in the second quarter and closed the gap
to four again late in the third quarter when the Commodores had built their
third double-digit lead of the game.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Jones finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds, doing
much of his damage in the first half with 15 points, eight boards and a
rim-rattling jam that got the home crowd on its feet.
style='mso-spacerun:yes'> Outside of Jones, the rest of the Patriots
shot just 15-for-45 from the field, which wasn't enough against a Maury team
with weapons that can strike from beyond the arc or attacking off the dribble.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Expectations are reasonably high for the Commodores,
ranked #12 in the AAA State Top 25, fourth in the Eastern
Region and as the preseason top pick on the Southside by the Virginian-Pilot.
style='mso-spacerun:yes'> Baker sees potential, yet doesn't anticipate
this team hitting its stride until around January, heading into the playoffs in

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"It's a learning experience.
style='mso-spacerun:yes'> We're picked to be pretty good, but we're
awfully young," Baker reminded. "I'm
playing three or four sophomores and my backup point guard is a freshman, so it's
going to be a learning process throughout the early part of the year.
style='mso-spacerun:yes'> I think we have an opportunity to be good
down the road."

Postgame Audio with
Maury Coach Jack Baker


Jamal Ferguson - - 18Pts. 4-12FG, 2-4 3's, 8-10FT, 7Reb. 5Ast.
Anthony Smith - - 14Pts. 7-8FG, 2Ast.
Jaleel Ferguson - - 12Pts. 6-7FG, 9Reb. 2Stl
Mike Basnight - - 9Pts. 3-5FG

Colonial 60:
Avion Jones - - 20Pts. 8-15FG, 3-5FT, 12Reb.
Trevor Small - - 12Pts. 5-14FG, 6Reb.
James Minter - - 10Pts. 4-8FG, 3Stl.
DeAndre Barber - - 9Pts. 2-13FG, 4-4FT, 6Reb.
class=GramE>5Ast. 6Stl.


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