Some of the toughest competition Josiah James has ever faced came on the court in his front yard against his older brother, K.J.
The tears shed in those games to 21 have washed away. But the scars of fouls left uncalled still tell the legends of heated battles that K.J. is sure he won more often than not. Basketball, video games, swimming, the two competed in nearly everything they did growing up.
So when the scorer’s table alerted the Porter-Gaud bench that Josiah, who’d already exited the game with the Cyclones comfortably ahead, was just one point from the school’s scoring record — a record that belonged to K.J. — Cyclones coach John Pearson didn’t need to look for Josiah. He was already headed to check back in.
Josiah James set Porter-Gaud’s single-game scoring record with 45 points in the Cyclones’ 84-49 region win at Northwood Academy Friday in Summerville.
Josiah’s new mark is one point better than the school’s previous best of 44 points, set by K.J. during his senior year in 2014.
“I’ve definitely learned a lot from my brother as a person and also as a basketball player,” Josiah said.
“It’s not fair anymore though,” he added with a smile. “I destroy him. He can’t guard me anymore.”
Josiah scored Porter-Gaud’s first eight points of the game with a pair of early three-pointers. He poured in 17 more in the second quarter, scoring the Cyclones’ final eight points of the half.
Porter-Gaud broke the game open in the third quarter with its outside shooting. Five Cyclones hit at least one three-pointer. Josiah scored 13 in the third quarter and added a quick seven in the opening minute of the fourth before heading to the bench.
He appeared to be done for the night until a scorekeeper told Pearson how close he was to the Cyclones’ records, his brother’s record. Josiah checked back in and with a quick basket added to an already decorated legacy before sitting back down. He complimented the scoring spree with 13 rebounds, eight blocks and five assists.
It’s the second time this season that the McDonald’s All-American has scored more than 40 points.
“We were definitely always competitive growing up. For sure. I used to abuse him,” K.J. said through a laugh. “But I’m just really proud of the man he’s become. He’s accomplishing stuff that we’ve talked about for years. We’ve really been blessed with this game we love. You just try not to take it for granted.”
Porter-Gaud improves to 15-8 overall and, at 2-1 in SCISA Region 1-AAA, remains just a game off of first-place First Baptist. Porter-Gaud and First Baptist will meet for the second time this season Tuesday on James Island. The Hurricanes took the first game, 81-72, two weeks ago in Charleston.