Imhotep and MLK High basketball playoff games start Thursday

After outstanding regular seasons, two Northwest Philadelphia high-school basketball teams will continue play in the Public League playoffs beginning this week.

The Imhotep Institute Charter High Panthers and the Martin Luther King High Cougars, each divisional winners, will host their first-round matchups Thursday.

King, 13-0 in Division C, will take on Olney at 3:15 p.m. The trip to the playoffs will be the Cougars’ first since the 2009-10 season, when they were ousted in the first round by Franklin 78-58. King, winners of 12 straight at one point this season, finished with a 19-3 overall mark. All three losses came at home.

Olney, 6-7 in the same division, stumbled to the finish line during the regular season, losing seven of their final nine games before their play-in game victory over Simon Gratz Tuesday.

Thursday’s game will be a rematch of a regular season meeting played back in January, won by King at home in overtime, 52-50.

Imhotep looks to repeat

All eyes this postseason will once again fall on Imhotep Charter, who finished 9-1 to win Division A. They will host Masterman at 3:15 p.m. Thursday.

The Panthers have won the Public League Championship three years running and, last year, added a second PIAA Class AA Championship for good measure.

Coach Andre Noble has led Imhotep to a 48-3 mark in division play over that stretch, and will look to secure a fourth consecutive title this year, the most won by a public league team since West Philadelphia won five in a row between 1974-78.

Masterman, 8-5 in Division C, is coming off a 75-54 play-in game victory over Strawberry Mansion. Masterman began the season 7-9 overall, but have won six straight going into Thursday’s game.

Roxborough fails to advance

The Roxborough Indians also qualified for postseason action, but fell in their play-in game Tuesday afternoon against West Philadelphia.

The Indians cruised to an 11-0 start in Division D before losing to Bok in the final game of the season, forcing them to settle for second place. Despite playing at home, and despite 39 combined points from seniors Josh Colllins and Samson Akano, Roxborough could not overcome an early 13-5 deficit after the first quarter, losing by a final score of 66-52.

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