Before DeMatha took on Bishop O’Connell in its third Washington Catholic Athletic Conference game of the season, head coach Mike Jones told his players to go out and take the first punch.
The Stags (7-0, 3-0 WCAC) did that and more during their 16-0 run in the opening minutes of the first quarter, which led to a 73-53 victory over O’Connell on Friday evening.
“We played hard on defense,” sophomore center Hunter Dickinson said. “We played together and shared the ball and took unforced shots.”
DeMatha was locked in defensively, making it hard for the Knights to generate offensive rhythm. O’Connell (5-2, 1-2 WCAC) senior guard Xavier Johnson, who averaged 20 points per game prior to the game, was held to eight points. Guard Matt Becht tallied six points on a pair of three-pointers.
“We have that ‘It’ factor about us on defense, which let’s us strap up teams,” Dickinson said.
The Stags had three players score in double figures. Junior guard Justin Moore and transfer Earl Timberlake finished with 15 points each. Dickinson tallied 14 points, while controlling the glass on both ends of the floor.
“During the beginning, I was rebounding the ball more. My offensive game wasn’t there,” Dickinson said. “Towards the end of the first half and into the second half, it started to come for me.”
DeMatha junior guard Carson Kogelnik scored eight points and went 2-2 from deep. Jahmir Young registered eight points as he got most of his shots in transition.
Bishop O’Connell juniors Charles Weber and Ayan Teel were the primary scorers for the Knights. Weber had 11 points, while Teel chipped in 15 points and made a couple of three-pointers.
DeMatha came into the season filled with new faces on the roster. However, the Stags quickly formed a chemistry that’s helped them become the top team in the area.
“Even with the new faces, we have a strong chemistry,” Dickinson said. “I think everyone plays together. No plays for themselves.”
DeMatha will travel to Myrtle Beach for its next game against Lone Peak (UT) on Dec. 27. O’Connell will compete in the Torrey Pines Holiday Invitational in San Diego.