Com­ing to­gether

With­out lead­ing scorer Beale, Spar­tans boys surge past Lackey for sev­enth straight win

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By AJ MA­SON aj­ma­son@somd­news.com

Even with­out its big goto player, the St. Charles boys bas­ket­ball team found a way to keep on win­ning on Fri­day night.

The Spar­tans were with­out lead­ing scorer Shiloh Beale, who had to sit out the con­test with a face and wrist in­jury stem­ming from an awk­ward fall 48 hours prior in a 43-38 win over host McDonough.

Some big shoes to fill con­sid­er­ing the 6-foot-3 se­nior guard Beale leads the team in three dif­fer- ent cat­e­gories: points per game (17.9) re­bounds per game (5.9) and steals per game (1.7). He also is sec- ond in the team in as­sists at 2.4 per game.

On se­nior night, Beale’s fel­low se­niors took charge to de­feat vis­it­ing Lackey, 55-41 in a South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con- fer­ence Po­tomac Divi­sion re­match. Lackey won the first meet­ing at home 6859 on Jan. 18.

It was the sev­enth straight win in a row for St. Charles (15-5, 7-3 SMAC Po­tomac), which is sched­uled to take on host West­lake (16-4, 9-1) at 7 p.m. Wed­nes­day. The Wolver­ines are cur­rently

atop the divi­sion stand­ings with just two reg­u­lar sea­son games re­main­ing.

“We had a solid game plan and the guys ex­e­cuted it,” St. Charles head coach Brett Camp­bell said. “Shiloh leads us across the board in sta­tis­tics and even though he wasn’t on the floor just hav­ing him for sup­port gave us a lift be­cause it was se­nior night. We have guys that can play and they were ready. We did a re­ally good job on the in­te­rior.”

St. Charles took a 13-7 lead af­ter the first quar- ter, and took dou­ble-digit leads in the sec­ond and third quar­ters, but Lack- ey (15-5, 7-4) was able to cut the deficits to sin­gle dig­its, time.

How­ever, in the fourth quar­ter with a sound of­fense and pres­sure de­fense, the Spar­tans outscored the Charg­ers 15-5, al­low­ing just two field goals dur­ing that span en route to the win.

The Spar­tans were led by se­nior Mer­wan Mour­taj with a game-high 16 points. Se­nior guard Der­rick Carter added 14 points, while se­niors Cameron Sul­li­van and Mar­shawn Hall col­lected seven each.

“Two years ago we start- ed off [0-12] and now we are one of the top teams in the con­fer­ence,” Mour­taj said. “We just trusted the process and kept work- ing, so for us to go out and get a win on se­nior night against a team that al­ready beat us is spe­cial for us.”

Lead­ing 24-20 at half­time, St. Charles ex­tended the lead to 40-25 with 2 min­utes 55 sec­onds to force a time­out from Lackey head coach Sean Fox.

“We wanted to get the win for Shiloh be­cause he was out. A lot of peo­ple doubted us, so we had to get this one for our brother,” said Sul­li­van, who had to back-to-back bas­kets to help spur the team’s third-quar­ter run.

Fol­low­ing the time­out, Lackey re­sponded with an 11-0 run that was capped by a bank shot off the back­board by sopho­more guard Rasheed Coo­ley to cut the Spar- tans’ lead to 40-36 at the end of the quar­ter.

“We hadn’t matched their energy up un­til that point and we did it in spur ts,” Fox said. “Against a good team like that half energy is not go­ing to win the game. We got the shots that we wanted, we just didn’t shoot the ball well. We have to work on that in prac­tice to get out the funk.”

St. Charles opened the fourth with a 5-0 run to push the lead to 45-36, even­tu­ally seal­ing the win.

Lackey, which is sched­uled to travel to Calvert for a non­di­vi­sion con­test at 6:30 tonight, had just one player in dou­ble fig­ures as se­nior guard Ha­keem Everett fin­ished with 11 points. Twit­ter: @aj­ma­son301

PHOTO BY JERRY BALLENGEE

St. Charles se­nior for­ward Mer­wan Mour­taj goes up for a layup in Fri­day night’s 55-41 win over vis­it­ing Lackey in a SMAC Po­tomac Divi­sion boys bas­ket­ball game. Mour­taj fin­ished with 16 points and eight re­bounds.

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