Potomac (Va.) senior boys basketball player Jernavis Draughn is not revealing the workout he goes through in his family basement every night. All that is apparent is that it works--as Draughn's game-high 32 points showed in the Panthers' 74-61 victory over Potomac (Md.) in Oxon Hill last night.
Draughn scored 11 points in the first quarter to help the Panthers to a 23-12 lead. The Braves (2-2) closed to 52-49 entering the final quarter, but Draughn took over again, scoring 12 points in the quarter--eight in the period's first four minutes--to lead the 11th-ranked Panthers (2-0).
"I do a footwork drill in my basement just about every night," Draughn said. "Most of it my father got from a scout at UCLA when I was in the eighth grade. I will not tell anyone about the drill or what I do. It is a secret. All I know is it makes me better and gives me confidence."
Draughn, a 6-foot-5 forward, is the leading returning scorer in the Virginia AAA Commonwealth District, averaging 14.9 points last season. He is the only returning starter from the Panthers's 17-8 squad from last year.
He is integral enough that not even Potomac (Va.) Coach Kendall Hayes's substitution patterns apply to him. Hayes used 10 players in the first quarter and 14 by game's end. But Draughn only left the game for a couple minutes, once for a break and once after he picked up his third foul late in the second quarter.
"We need [Draughn] on the floor," Hayes said. "He is tremendous with both hands and did some great work inside."
Hayes is hoping his team learned something about holding leads. The Panthers took a 28-13 lead early in the second quarter following a Draughn basket. But Potomac (Md.) eventually tied the game at 47 on Keven Davis's field goal with 55 seconds left in the third quarter.
But Panthers junior Mark Cunningham hit a three-pointer to give Potomac (Va.) a 50-47 lead with 40 seconds left, setting up Draughn's fourth-quarter heroics.
Kiel Butler and Bernard Lowndes led the Braves with 10 points each and Davis added nine points.