Defending champion Imhotep Charter eliminated from Public League basketball playoffs

Imhotep Institute Charter High School’s dream of winning a fourth consecutive Public League basketball championship came to a stunning end Tuesday afternoon with a 66-61 loss to Communications Tech.

Imhotep, which is located in East Germantown, held an eight point lead late in the third quarter but saw the visiting side continue battling, tying the game with 1:37 remaining and taking the lead for good with 43.6 seconds left.

“We just tried to do what we do best: Fighting back,” said Communications coach Lou Beister when asked how his underdog team from Southwest Philadelphia managed to win on a floor with multiple Public League and State Championship banners hanging overhead, with a roster ravaged by injuries. “We’ve fought all year. They’re fighters.”

Imhotep Coach Andre Noble, who was seeking to win the most consecutive public league titles since West Philadelphia won five in a row between 1974-78, cited poor free-throw shooting as a contributing factor to the loss.

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Of the fact that Imhotep converted 16 of 39 foul shots while Communications made 20 of 32, Noble said, “You’re not going to win many close games like that.”

“I’m disappointed, but I told them [in the locker room after the game] I’m not surprised,” he said. “I noticed that we weren’t as focused as we should have been recently, and when that happens, the basketball gods are not happy with you.”

Though Tuesday marked the last time Imhotep’s three seniors – leading scorer Khyree Wooten, Shakur Nesmith and Kamani Jordan – will play a game on their home court in East Germantown, their season is not done. Noble said they will be back at work preparing for the state tournament, which starts in March.

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