SOUTH JAMAICA, NEW YORK -- The New York Panthers have always utilized talent from across the country to help them in their quest to win an IS8 championship. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.
This year's version coached by Nate Blue features a terrific talent in 6-foot-5 forward DeQuan Jones of Wheeler High School in Marietta, Georgia. Jones has already given a commitment to Miami of Florida.
Jones' athletic ability impressed the hard to please New York basketball fans inside the small gym at IS8 in a game against the New York Ravens/St. Raymond's team. Jones scored 19 points, many of the baskets on slams and pretty moves around the basket.
"I like to play up here," Jones said after the Panthers won 82-65. "The players are good and I am having fun."
Jones did have plenty of help from other teammates. Terrence Jennings, the big man in the middle for the Panthers, scored 20 points, including several eye-opening slams. Jennings attends Notre Dame Prep in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. Recently, Louisville publisher Mike Hughes wrote a story regarding his recruiting process.
The Panthers led 26-19 after the first quarter and 50-37 at the half. The lead was extended to 67-49 after three quarters of play. But the gritty St. Ray's squad made a couple of runs at the Panthers. At one point in the fourth quarter, St. Ray's sliced the big deficit to just eight points and had possession for a chance to cut it to six.
Darryl Bryant led St. Ray's with 26 points.
But the reason why the Panthers claimed the victory were due to Jennings and Jones, both players who come from out of the New York area, giving the IS8 Fall League a national flavor too.