Updated: Aug 9, 2022
PINE HILL - For Overbrook’s Devon Johnson, the third time’s the charm.
Or maybe 28 is just the magic number.
The junior notched a game-high 28 points in a 60-54 win over Pemberton on January 20. Five days later, he set a new career-high with 29 points in a 71-49 victory over Glassboro.
The Rams’ leading scorer found a way to do it again on Wednesday night.
Johnson’s 28-point outburst helped Overbrook top Clearview, 71-54, in a Tri-County Conference interdivisional matchup. The victory netted 47 power points for the hosts as Overbrook jumped up to fifth in South Jersey Group 2.
“I think it was a great team win,” Johnson said. “We played hard from start to finish. It really started on defense, turning our defense into offense.”
Johnson scored nine of his game-high 28 in the first quarter and helped the Rams jump out to a 9-2 lead to open the contest. Clearview responded with a 10-3 run to tie the game at 12-12 with 2:55 left in the period before Overbrook closed the frame with a pair of baskets to hold a two-point advantage.
A pair of 3-pointers by Nic Johnson helped extend Overbrook’s lead to 11 before the Pioneers concluded the first half with a 10-5 run. The Rams took a 6-point lead into halftime.
After the break, Johnson poured in 10 points in the third quarter and helped ignite a 22-9 run to open the half. Overbrook led by as much as 21 on two separate occasions in the third period and proceeded to outscore the visitors 36-25 over the final two quarters.
“We were just told to (apply) pressure,” sophomore Jaylan Hornsby said. “We knew that they couldn’t really handle the ball like that. Our biggest thing was pressuring the ball so they could get it up and we can go because our bread and butter is in transition.”
Hornsby, the reigning South Jersey Sports Zone Rookie of the Year, contributed 15 points in three quarters of work. The sophomore threw down a vicious two-hand slam dunk in the third quarter to send the student section into a frenzy. Hornsby’s athletic ability has been highlighted through his play with New Jersey Scholars Elite on the AAU circuit and on the gridiron with his earning of two Division I scholarships from Temple and UConn.
“Playing with Scholars, it helped me a lot,” Hornsby said. “It just helps playing at the best level of basketball. Hard work is paying off.”
The Rams improved their record to 9-4 on Wednesday and have now won four out of their last five games. Overbrook’s only setback during the stretch was a 41-40 loss to Haddonfield in which the Bulldogs’ Daire Roddy sank a buzzer beater from halfcourt to earn him a spot on ESPN SportsCenter Top 10 Plays.
The trickiest obstacle for the Rams entering the season was filling the void left by Damian Rawls’ exit. Rawls, a 2021 Overbrook graduate, was an All-South Jersey selection and collected over 1,000 career points.
Replicating the production of an All-South Jersey caliber player always proves to be a daunting task.
However, through experience and adjustments made by players like Johnson, the transition has been smooth.
“I had to learn how to play on the ball as well as off the ball,” Johnson said. “Improve my shot, score on all three levels of the floor. I think it’s our chemistry on and off the court that really gets us to play hard together like that.”