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BOYS BASKETBALL: Shifts in Rotation and Career Milestones Highlight this Week's FSL Notebook

By Marc Narducci, 01/19/23, 12:45PM EST


Photos by: Kathy Leister, Donna Eckert and Jeremy Park.

By Marc Narducci

Friends Select’s Christian Kirkland Enjoying a Big Senior Season

Christian Kirkland is making the most of his senior year at Friends Select. The 6-foot-7 Kirkland scored his 1,000th career point earlier this year and all season he has been a dominant force both offensively and defensively. He is averaging 21 points and 14 rebounds and two blocked shots.

The Falcons are 2-2 in the Friends League, which includes a 47-45 win over eight-time defending league champion Westtown. Kirkland and 6-1 sophomore Isaiah Marshall each had 12 for the winners, while Jay Chiles added 10 points.

According to Philadelphia Sports Digest’s Rich Flanagan, it was Westtown’s first Friends League loss since a 48-47 defeat to Academy New Church on Dec. 11, 2018.

“That was such a big game for us,” Kirkland said. “We feel that anybody can win the league this year.”

Kirkland is not only a leader in many statistical categories, but he provides a great example for the younger players on the team.

“He is a pleasure and a very coachable kid who will run through a wall for you and does what you need to do,” Friends Select coach Percell Coles said. “He is a great teammate and the guys love playing with him.”

Coles only has one complaint about his senior leader.

“He is a very unselfish player who cares about his teammates and looks to make his teammates better,” Coles said. “Sometimes I wish (offensively) he was more selfish.”

Kirkland has not made a college choice. He says Youngstown State, Wagner and Monmouth are among schools that have been in contact.

He has tried not to obsess about recruiting, especially during the season.

“I try not to pay attention because I don’t want to stress out and I want to worry about what I am doing on the court and in the classroom,” he said.


Friends Select School's Christian Kirkland in game vs. Academy of The New Church. Photo by Kathy Leister for PSD

(Above Tweet courtesy of Eric Chiles)

Kirkland said that entering high school he was more of a one-dimensional player, sort of like a defensive first, second and third type of guy.

“Offensively I have gotten much better,” he said. “I used to play defense and block shots but once I got to high school I really started moving out, taking jump shots and I really worked on my offensive game.”

Kirkland says that college look at him as a possible combo forward, a strength four, who can also play on the wing as a three.

He is looking forward to continuing his basketball career at the next level. It’s a sport that has been playing since he was six-years-old.

Kirkland is so dedicated to the sport that in the fall he has run cross country, a sport that tests endurance.

He has a bigger junior season in cross country and there was a reason. In June, Kirkland suffered a fractured foot, so he missed all of the live period to compete this summer.

So, those schools that couldn’t see him in the summer now can see a productive player his senior season.

ANC continues strong start

Academy of the New Church continued its torrid Friends League start with a 62-56 win over Westtown. (Even though eight-time defending Friends League champ Westtown lost two Friends League games in a row, it would be premature to count out the Moose.)

Still, the race should be fascinating and ANC, a finalist last year, should be right there with the contenders.

Against Westtown, 6-6 junior Bahsil Laster had 14 points, five rebounds and three assists. Dior Carter, a 6-4 freshman, added 13 points, nine rebounds and one blocked shot. Jarell Keel, a 6-4 senior, had 10 points, seven rebounds, six assists and two blocks. Deywilk Tavarez, a 6-3 senior, had 11 points seven rebounds, seven assists and three steals. Finally, 6-0 junior Noan Waldon had 11 points and three steals.

Academy of The New Church vs. Friends Select/ Video by Kathy Leister for PSD

Carter has enjoyed an outstanding freshman season.

“He has been amazing around the boards and has picked up his scoring as well,” ANC coach Kevin Givens said. “He is playing very good basketball.”

Carter than had a monster game in ANC’s 68-55 win over Friends Select that improved the Lions to 5-0 in the Friends League. He contributed 22 points and 18 rebounds. Laster added 20 points in the victory.

Westtown’s Mayock sidelined for the season

Westtown 6-7 senior, Matt Mayock, one of the top players in the area, suffered a season-ending broken wrist in a loss to Friends Select. Mayock, who we spotlighted last week, is heading to American University.

“Matt hurt his wrist in a normal basketball play at Friends Select, falling on it while driving,” Westtown coach Seth Berger said.

This is an incalculable loss for Westtown.

“Matt had figured out how good he was in all aspects of the game and had turned into our MVP,” Berger said. “It’s brutal for him to lose the second half of his senior year, but he will be ready for the next step of his career at American.”

The Moose got back on the winning track with Tuesday’s 79-46 win over Moorestown Friends. Leading the way was sophomore guard Jayden Forsythe, who had 15 points, including three, three-pointers, while senior guard Jahill Gary had 13 points and hit three, three-pointers.

Big week for George School

George School had an impressive showing in the Hoophall Showcase in Springfield, Massachusetts. First up was a 68-62 victory over Bradford Christian Academy, a team with a few Division I commits. Xavier commit Kachi Nzeh, a 6-8 senior, led George School with 28 points. Junior guard Christian Bliss added 19 and 6-10 sophomore Luke Bevilacqua had 10.

Then came a 77-67 win over Brimmer & May (MA), one of the top programs in New England. Nzeh had 24, Bliss scored 21 and Bevilacqua had 16.

George School improved to 14-3 and 3-1 in the Friends League with Tuesday’s 80-51 win over Germantown Friends. Nzeh and Bevilacqua each had 17 points and Bliss added 15 and Dante Weise scored 10.

Thriller for Shipley

On Tuesday, Shipley earned a 56-54 overtime win at Friends' Central. Senior guard Darrien Grady led Shipley with 17 points, while also contributing three assists and three steals. Justin Powell, a 6-3 senior, contributed 15 points, four rebounds, four blocks and a steal. Powell hit 5-of-6 from the field, including 1-of-2 from three-point range and all four foul shots. Senior guard Imanuel Jackson added 11 points. Will Lange a 6-5, scored six points, hitting both of his three-point attempts.

Shipley trailed 42-35 entering the final quarter, but outscored Friends' Central, 15-8 to send the game into overtime.

Big game in defeat

Germantown Friends suffered a tough 72-68 non-league loss to Dobbins, but Darius Frazier scored a career-high 30 points. Nazir Tyler had 17 points and freshman Jordan Dill chipped in with 15.

The Tigers then fell to the George School, 80-51, with Dill scoring a team-high 16 points and Frazier adding 11.  

Huge win for Abington Friends

Abington Friends had a big 70-64 win over Shipley. Ethan Hodnett Bell, a 6-2 sophomore, led the way with 20 points. Ife West-Ingram, a 6-6 senior and Rider commit, added 16 while juniors Kaydin Ford and Jared Shanken each added 12 points. Hodnett Bell was especially impressive, shooting 9-for-10 from the field while hitting both of his foul shots.

The Kangaroos won the game at the foul line, hitting 16-of-20 free throws (80%).

In the loss to Abington Friends, Shipley placed four players in double figures. Grady led the way with 15 points, while Jackson had 14, Kody Colson 13 and Powell 10.

Also impressive was how well Abington Friends took care of the ball, committing just seven turnovers, while forcing 13.

In an earlier 61-54 win over String Charter, West-Ingram led the way with 15 points and seven rebounds, including four on the offensive glass.


Scoring Leaders

Here are the scoring leaders, with stats from the beginning of the week, courtesy of Philadelphia Sport Digest’s Rich Flanagan.


Abington Friends School

 Ife West-Ingram 13.8 ppg

Jared Shanken 10.9 ppg

Academy of the New Church

Deywilk Tavarez 20.6 ppg

Bahsil Laster 14.2 ppg

Dior Carter 9.3 ppg

Friends' Central School

Reid Belcher 13.4 ppg

Muhsin Muhammad 11.1 ppg

Collin Bowman 10.9 ppg

Fazl Oshodi 10.9 ppg

Friends Select

Christian Kirkland, 21.0 ppg.

George School

Christian Bliss 19.2 ppg

Kachi Nzeh 16.3 ppg

Luke Bevilacqua 14.5 ppg

Germantown Friends School

Jordan Dill 21.5 ppg

 Nazir Tyler 12.3 ppg

Amir Staten 11.6 ppg

Darius Frazier 10.1 ppg

Shipley School

Darrien Grady 16.0 ppg

Imanuel Jackson 11.9 ppg

Westtown School

Matt Mayock 12.7 ppg

Seyphon Triplett 11.6 ppg

Jayden Forsythe 10.9 ppg

        Matt Gilhool 10.1 ppg

Friends League Standings (Through Tuesday Jan. 17)

Academy of the New Church 5-0

George School 3-1

Westtown 3-2

Friends Select 2-2

Abington Friends 2-2

Friends' Central 2-3

Shipley 1-2

Germantown Friends 0-3

Moorestown Friends 0-3