Knights tripped up by Stags

The Enterprise - - Sports - By JOHN NISWANDER jniswan­[email protected]­news.com

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.

STAFF PHOTO BY JOHN NISWANDER

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.

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