Knights tripped up by Stags
The St. Mary’s Ryken Knights were facing a tall task Wednesday night when the boys basketball team faced the defending Washington Catholic Athletic Conference champions from a year ago, the DeMatha Stags, at St. Mary’s College of Maryland’s Michael P. O’Brien Athletics and Recreation Center arena.
St. Mary’s Ryken (2-2, 0-1 WCAC) kept the game competitive for much of the first half, before DeMatha (3-0, 2-0) pulled away for an 81-47 victory.
“I thought we competed re- ally hard for about 16 minutes and then fell apart a little bit in the second half. Give DeMatha credit,” Knights head coach Walter Booth said. “There is a reason they are a top team in the country and the WCAC champions from last year.”
DeMatha’s experience is evident up and down the roster as 15 of the 17 players are upperclassmen compared to just 8 of 13 players being upperclassmen for the Knights.
“We return all five of our start-
ers from last year,” Stags head coach Mike Jones said.
Early on, St. Mary’s Ryken was able to keep its fans engaged and excited with a barrage of three-pointers to prevent the DeMatha lead from reaching double digits in the opening quarter.
The Stags’ largest lead in the first quarter was nine points at 17-8 before the Knights cut the
deficit to six at 17-11 heading to the second quarter.
After the Knights connected on three-pointers by senior wing Louis Tang and sophomore combo guard Devin Ceaser, St. Mary’s Ryken only trailed the defending WCAC champions 26-23 midway through the second quarter.
It did not take long for the Stags to begin to assert their dominance and the visitors led 40-29 at halftime.
“They return a lot of experience, and I think for us we just got to mature and learn how to
play for two halves and a full 32 minutes,” Booth said.
DeMatha senior Justin Moore, a Villanova commit, scored the first five points for the Stags to start the third quarter.
After an extended 21-9 run spanning from the end of the first half into the beginning of the third quarter, DeMatha’s lead grew to 47-32.
Booth called a timeout to try and stop the run, but DeMatha’s experienced team began to build upon its lead and made a Knights comeback more unlikely.
“I liked the fight the kids
showed and I like that we are growing through it. For us that was just game 4 and we got a lot of new pieces,” Booth said. “Everyone is in a new role, so I think the more they adjust to the speed of the game and playing with confidence the more we can show.”
St. Mary’s Ryken was held to just 18 second-half points after going cold from beyond the arc.
Junior shooting guard Jules Bikoy led the Knights with 12 points, all of them coming in the first half which also included two three-pointers. Tang was
the only other St. Mary’s Ryken player to score in double figures with 10.
“Our biggest thing is just trying to be great everyday. I don’t really get into wins and losses too much,” Booth said. “I think if our guys are just trying to be great everyday at practice, workouts, and games, then the results will take care of themselves.”
St. Mary’s Ryken is slated to be back in action with a home game on its own campus versus Bishop O’Connell (Va.) at 3:45 p.m. Saturday.
St. Mary’s Ryken sophomore Aaron Jasper dribbles the ball up the court in the first half of Wednesday night’s game against DeMatha played at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. The Knights fell 81-47.