Jayla Jones-Pack, Chastity Taylor, Kalifa Davy lead St. Anthony's
Jayla Jones-Pack is fairly reserved, so even after emphatic blocks, there isn't any posing; there certainly will never be a Dikembe Mutombo-like finger wave.
But with the sophomore's performance Tuesday night, she and St. Anthony's essentially told rival St. Mary's, "No, no. Not today!''
Chastity Taylor had 14 points, eight rebounds and four steals to lead the Friars in a 55-40 home win over the Gaels. The Delaware-bound senior starred and sank momentum-swinging shots, but it was the work of Kalifa Davy and Jones-Pack down low that allowed St. Anthony's to dominate.
"We've lost to them a few times, so it felt great to win,'' senior Tyla Parham said of St. Mary's, which had beaten the Friars in three straight regular-season meetings. "Our defense was incredible.''
The 6-3 Jones-Pack, nicknamed "Block Party,'' had four rejections to go with eight points, and Davy added 12 points and 14 rebounds as the Friars (10-1) dealt St. Mary's its first CHSAA regular-season loss since 2012.
"Jayla's blocks are unbelievable and she gets four or five per game,'' coach Ken Parham said.
Jones-Pack had six points and two blocks during a 15-0 run that gave St. Anthony's control in the third quarter. Danielle Waithe's three gave St. Mary's a brief 28-27 lead with 5:13 left in the period, but Taylor answered with a basket six seconds later. And, thanks in large part to a defense that held St. Mary's scoreless for five minutes, the Friars pushed their lead to 42-28 on Jones-Pack's free throws.
The forward followed that with a block on St. Mary's ensuing possession. Charise Wilson had 11 points and six assists, and Tyla Parham eight points and five assists for St. Anthony's.
"I think we're the better team and we showed it,'' Davy said. "We had a big lead on them last time and blew it. This time we didn't let up.''
Davy was referring to their meeting last month, when St. Mary's rallied late to edge the Friars, 58-56. Not this time. After a missed free throw, Jones-Pack grabbed an offensive rebound and fed Taylor for a three that put St. Anthony's up 47-35, essentially sealing it with 4:31 remaining.
"We were ready for this rematch and more determined to finish the second half," Taylor said.
After a missed free throw, Jones-Pack secured an offensive rebound along the baseline and fed Taylor for a straighaway three that put St. Anthony's up 47-35, essentially sealing it with 4:31 to play.
Jordan Augustus had 20 points and Mei-Lyn Bautista scored eight for St. Mary's (9-1).
"I think we made a statement,'' Davy said. "There's been a debate about who's the best and we've heard it all.''
How does a team handle that? Block it out.