HYATTSVILLE – Despite missing several returning starters from last year’s varsity basketball team, DeMatha Catholic High School had no problems dismantling a short-handed Bethesda-Chevy Chase squad, defeating the Barons 102-42 during Capitol Hoops Summer League action on June 15.
The Stags (5-1), comprised of role players, junior varsity talents and upcoming freshman, were able to dominate possession with ease even though they were missing the likes of Hunter Dickinson and Earl Timberlake Jr. Against B-CC (1-7), DeMatha converted several of their early scoring opportunities, establishing an early 19-0 run.
Much of their first half success came off the back of rising sophomore Tyrell Ward. The guard excelled in scoring in transition while being the only Stags player to score three 3-pointers. Ward scored 12 of his final 15 points in the opening half.
According to Ward, the goal the DeMatha coaching staff established for the B-CC game was to continue building the team chemistry that had been established without their core players.
“We really wanted to play and even in the second half, we did not want to take things for granted,” Ward, who was on the varsity roster last season as a freshman, said. “We had to maintain the same intensity and use this as practice when we play the bigger teams in this league.”
DeMatha continue its offensive assault, finishing the first half up by 45 points and expanding their lead further early in the second half. After B-CC scored the period’s opening two baskets, the Stags punched back with a 21-0 run, creating the majority of their points off of turnovers and quick transition play.
Rising junior Bobby Hill terrorized the Barons with his post play, collecting rebounds at will and restarting DeMatha’s quick transition play. Coming into the summer league, Hill expressed his desires of being promoted to the varsity team after spending time with the JV and freshman squads during his time with the school.
He finished with a game-high 16 points and 13 rebounds, a double-double performance that will hopefully attribute to more playing time in the future.
“I just want to have a role on the team this year, knowing we are going to have a big schedule this year,” Hill said.
For the rest of the game, DeMatha continued scoring but continued its rotation of players to assure everyone had a chance to play. They emphasized moving the ball around before scoring a shot on their opponents as they completed 24 assists. At one point, DeMatha’s pass-happy offense created four consecutive slam dunk plays that caused the crowd in Hyattsville to celebrate the lopsided victory.
“It feels good to see everyone get a chance to play and perform and show what they can do,” Hill said.
The Barons, who have 15 players listed for summer league participation, only had seven players available to take on their Washington Catholic Athletic Conference foes. Assistant Coach Justin Carter said it was hard to focus on the team’s development with so many players missing.
However, it was good to see the play of center Omar Gharib. The rising junior finished with a double-double performance of 11 points and 10 rebounds which was an encouraging sign and something to relay to Head Coach Sean Tracy as the Barons look to improve from their 10-win season from last year.
“It is going to be important to make sure he gets more playing time because he definitely stepped up against one of the best teams we will face all year,” Carter said.
DeMatha capped off the victory with six players scoring in double-figures with everyone playing significant minutes throughout the game. Moving forward, they will look to continue to pressing forward with their dominating play during the summer months, including during the NCAA-sanctioned games, which start on June 21.
While it is important to show their skills in front of college coaches for the opportunity to be recruited, the players were reminded to stay composed during their next couple of games. The coaching staff told them it is important to not let the extra attention get to their heads as they continue improving for the real test, the start of the regular season.
“They told us to be ready and not to shy away from any competition,” Ward said. “No matter who we play, we are going to be same and shoot the same and go out and play. And whoever they put in front of us, we are going to whoop them.”