HYATTSVILLE – DeMatha Catholic High School’s basketball program is known for having future Division I players roam the court, and this year is no exception. Star forward Earl Timberlake chose to go to Miami and 7-foot-2 center Hunter Dickinson committed to Michigan on Dec. 20.
But the prospects do not stop there. Guard Jordan Hawkins is currently No. 78 overall in the 247 Sports Composite and showed why on Dec. 27. The junior scored a game-high 21 points and hit four 3-pointers in DeMatha’s 84-41 win Canterbury School in the Stags’ first game in the DeMatha Christmas Classic.
“Jordan is a very capable defender and is a tremendous athlete who can shoot the ball as well,” DeMatha Head Coach Mike Jones said. “What he can do for us defensively is elite, and what he can do for us offensively is elite as well.”
Hawkins brought energy early, hitting three 3-pointers in the first quarter. After the third triple, he poked the ball away, which led to an easy layup by junior Elijah Hawkins on the other end. That personified what DeMatha (6-2) did throughout the game, as it harassed Canterbury’s guards to try to get easy shots in transition.
The Stags led 23-12 after the first quarter and were still shaking off some of the rust from the holiday break. Canterbury (5-3) also hit three 3-pointers in the opening frame, but once DeMatha adjusted, it began to dominate the Fort Myers, Florida-based school.
With 2:57 left in the second quarter, the Cougars Jovan Kojic hit one of two free throws to cut DeMatha’s lead to 33-20. It would be the last basket Canterbury would score for nearly seven minutes. During that time, the Stags reeled off 24 straight points, turning a what was a comfortable lead into a decisive blowout.
“We just kept getting on the defensive end and getting easy buckets,” Elijah Hawkins said. “Feeding our post and getting open shots.”
Jordan Hawkins was right in the middle of it, scoring 10 straight points in the run during the third quarter. After knocking down a 3-pointer to increase their lead by 23 points, Hawkins stole the ball passed it ahead to Elijah Hawkins and trailed behind him before finishing the sequence with a layup.
“My defense is a big part of my offense as well,” Jordan Hawkins said. “I feel like defense gets your offense going, so I try to play a big part on defense.”
Jordan transferred to DeMatha after spending his freshman and sophomore years at Gaithersburg High School. He has quickly adjusted to the increased competition and playing on a team with scorers all over the roster.
“People have to understand our league is tough, and I almost want to say our league is territorial,” Jones said. “When you come in, guys aren’t going to move to the side on our team or the other team.”
While Hawkins had a nice run at the beginning of the third quarter, DeMatha also made an effort to get Dickinson the ball in the post. He got touches in the first half, but all his points came off of second chances. Dickinson was fouled on a turnaround jumper to start the quarter, and his dunk was the final bucket of a 24-0 run.
“Hunter is so good and so unselfish, but I’m sure it’s as frustrating for him as it is for us sometimes that we don’t involve him more,” Jones said. “Obviously, going forward to be the best team we can be, we have to ultimately while not sacrificing other guys games either.”
Dickinson finished with 14 points and was one of five DeMatha players in double figures. Along with Dickinson and Jordan Hawkins, Elijah Hawkins added 15, and Timberlake and Tyrell Ward both chipped in 11. Chase Garrett led Canterbury with 11 points, while Abedola Adebayo, Alan Cedeno and Kojic all finished with 10.
DeMatha is using this tournament to help prepare for what it hopes is three games in three days at the Washington Catholic Athletic League Tournament. They defeated Charlotte Christian 94-46 on Dec. 28 and were victorious over St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes, 72-63, in the championship on the following day.
Senior Earl Timberlake was named Tournament MVP after a triple-double performance in the semifinals and scoring 13 points in the championship win over the Saints.