St. Joe’s junior center reggie Agbeko goes up for two of his 16 points in the Marauders’ 60-43 victory over Lockport at the 2010 Rotary Club of Lockport Tip-Off Basketball Tournament at LHS. Among those defending on the play for the Lions are Shaun Allen, left, and Andrew Bailey, right.

At 6-feet, 7-inches, St. Joe’s junior Reggie Agbeko stood out immediately as the tallest player to step on the hardwood floor in the Lions’ Den on Friday night.

But it was, by his own account, one of the first times he’s ever played basketball on such a surface.

Just three months into his first stay in the United States, St. Joe’s newest boys basketball recruit from the Ashanti Region of Ghana took notice as a potential Division I basketball player.

The mild-mannered Agbeko was dominant at times, canning eight third quarter points as part of a decisive 17-6 run, sparking St. Joe’s past Lockport, 60-43, in the 2010 Lockport Rotary Club Tip-Off Tournament at LHS.

“It’s one my first times on a wooden floor. It was tricky getting used to,” said Agbeko, who picked up the sport on his hometown streets just five years ago.

The streets, he said, is where he’s used to playing his favorite sport.

“I tripped a little bit, but just tried to do the best that I can,” Agbeko said. “I want to play at the highest level of basketball someday — the NBA. That’s my dream.”

Agbeko’s best was pretty good for any high school junior with a similar background. He finished with a team-high 16 points and added eight rebounds for head coach Mark Simon’s Marauders (1-0).

Due to winter weather, the Rotary tourney was cut down to just one game. Two of the invited teams from Buffalo could not attend. As a result, there will be no additional games played today.

Trailing 6-0 at the start, the Lions went to the outside with three-pointers from Shaun “Smiley” Allen and Larry Carson to get back into it. A gigundous Agbeko dunk had the Marauders up 8-3, but Andrew Bailey drove down the lane for two, then Agbeko earned his second quick foul and was taken out of the game until the third quarter.

A late bucket by senior Keith Louie gave the Maurauders a 17-15 lead after one.

Carson drained his third tre in the second quarter as the Lions out-scored St. Joe’s 15-13 to tie the game at halftime, 30-30.

From there it was all downhill offensively for the Lions (0-1), who were out-scored 30-13 in the second half.

“We couldn’t put the ball in the basket. We just shot lousy,” said Bailey, who finished with 10 points and six rebounds. Carson led all scorers with 18 points, including three tres. Smiley finished with nine points.

Senior forward Connor Rehbaum added 15 points and junior forward Chad Kelly added five blocks for St. Joe’s.

“We just didn’t have an answer,” said LHS head coach Dave Gilson of the Marauders’ third quarter run.

“I thought our kids held their own underneath, but then they just killed us in the second half with two or three shots at a time. You can’t give a team that many opportunities to score because they’ll beat you, like St. Joe’s did tonight.”


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