JM speeds on after speed bump

Fred Jeter | 1/18/2024, 6 p.m.
Don’t worry, John Marshall High fans. The basketball still has plenty of air in it on the North Side.
Aiden Argabright

Don’t worry, John Marshall High fans. The basketball still has plenty of air in it on the North Side.

Despite losing two of the state’s top players to graduation and facing a brutal road schedule, John Marshall High stills eyes a championship season.

“Nothing has changed. We still have the same goals we started the season with,” said JM Coach Ty White, in search of a third straight State Class 2 crown.

JM went 28-0 last season and was ranked first nationally by MaxPreps.com.

This season with alumni Dennis Parker Jr. playing at North Carolina State and Jason Rivera-Torres at Vanderbilt, JM started 9-3 with the most recent loss Jan. 5 at St. Christopher’s, 53-50.

It was the Justices’ first setback to an area team since Feb. 2019 against L.C. Bird.

“It was a great atmosphere,” White said of the overflowing partisan crowd. As a coach and player, you live for moments like that.

“It was almost like we were playing at Duke. It was humbling for our guys, but it’s made us focus on what we must do.”

The taste of defeat was short lived. On Jan. 12, at Bowie State, Md., JM topped powerful Mt. Zion Academy, Md., 67-61 to improve to 10-3. Mt. Zion was 20-2 entering the contest.

JM improved to 11-3 Jan .13 with a 72-61 win over previously 10-2 Alexandria City. Damon “Redd”

Thompson led the Justices with a career high 39 points.

White has three returning starters this season, senior guards Thompson and Dominique Bailey, and 6-foot-8 sophomore center Latrell Allmond.

New to the opening quintet are 6-foot junior Aiden Argabright and 6-foot-9 junior forward Marcus Jackson. In family moves, Argabright transferring from St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes in Alexandria and Jackson from Edmondson High in Baltimore.

Marcus Jackson

Marcus Jackson

Both are making an impact.

Argabright is second on the team in scoring (behind Thompson) at 15.5 per game and leads JM with 44 percent shooting behind the arc and 89 percent at the foul line.

“ Aiden ’s cat quick,” said White, “and he’s a light’s-out shooter … when he’s hot he can hit four or five in a row.”

Argabright made a recent recruiting visit to the University of Virginia along with Allmond.

Jackson ranks second (behind almond) in rebounding with 7.1 per and leads in blocked shots with 2.2 an outing. He’s fourth in scoring at 7.7.

“Marcus is extremely athletic with a ceiling (of potential) through the roof,” said White. “He’s one of the most athletic kids I’ve ever coached.”

JM has a long bench, too. 6-foot-6 junior Desmon Rose and 6-foot-4 senior Ashaun Moore would likely be starters anywhere else.