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Smith helps No. 2 Gaels return to form

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St. Joe routs No. 5 Mount Carmel, 80-52 (VIDEO INTERVIEWS HERE)
smithAfter being the No. 1 preseason team in VSN’s Top 20 boys basketball teams and then holding the top spot all season until a 79-67 loss to No. 14 Calvert Hall demoted Mount St. Joseph to No. 2, the Gaels have been on a mission to regain their former lofty status.

On Wednesday night at the school’s Smith Center in Irvington, Mount St. Joseph look a major step in that upward direction by pounding fifth-ranked Our Lady of Mount Carmel, 80-52.

The Cougars were hardly the ideal team to vault the Gaels back to the rankings’ summit, considering that the visitors from Essex had been on a six-game tear of late themselves.

Included in the winning streak were victories over the only two teams to beat Mount St. Joseph this season — the aforementioned Calvert Hall and St. Maria Goretti, which will make an appearance in the Smith Center on Friday night for a Baltimore Catholic League showdown.

Yet Mt. Carmel was never really in Wednesday’s battle, falling behind, 23-7, in the first quarter and making few inroads against the deficit thereafter in a game that also counts in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference standings.

“We can talk about playing back-to-back games,” Mt. Carmel coach Hakim Hibbert said, noting his team beat Calvert Hall on Tuesday night. “But you still have to step it up, and we just didn’t come ready to play.”

The Gaels were ready, willing and able to pounce, getting stellar efforts from 6-foot-9 junior center Jalen Smith (20 points, 8 rebounds) and Maryland-bound swingman Darryl Morsell, who eclipsed the 1,000 point mark of his career while producing 16 points.

Mt. Carmel was paced by junior forward Brandon Watson, who was the only Cougar to reach double digits (12 points).  Senior guard Terry Nolan, Jr. and junior forward Jordan Jones added nine points each for Mt. Carmel.

Silky smooth sophomore guard James Bishop matched Morsell by scoring 16 points for Mount St. Joseph, which was playing without injured 6-foot-5 senior forward Nigel Jackson, who is normally a big contributor for the Gaels (25-2, 14-0 A Conference, 10-2 BCL).

Mount St. Joseph coach Pat Clatchey said that the combination of 6-foot-5 players Tim McDonald and Jaden Robinson helped to lessen the blow of Jackson’s absence against the Cougars (14-7, 8-4, 6-4).

“We miss Nigel, but both of those guys do a nice job,” Clatchey said.

The way his team was playing, it didn’t seem to matter who was on the court.

“Calvert Hall’s a very talented team, but we didn’t play a typical St. Joe game,” Clatchey added. “It starts with effort and energy, and we did that tonight.”

The star of the contest for the Gaels was Smith, whose perimeter game is beginning to match his dominating maneuvers in the low post.

“He’s becoming more and more versatile,” Clatchey said. “I thought he made a lot of great passes tonight, too.”

Morsell said that the loss to Calvert Hall will help his team “refocus” for the rest of the season.

“We had to come out and play hard, and we did that from the jump,” said Morsell, who had al least three crowd-pleasing slam dunks in the game.

OLMC 7   20   6   19  —  52
MSJ   23  30   7   20  —  80
Brandon Watson 12, Terry Nolan, Jr. 9, Jordan Jones 9, Will Thomas 6, Christian Evans 5, Dwight Felton 3, John Kent 3, Team 2. TOTALS: 19 11-16 52.
Jalen Smith 20, James Bishop 16, Darryl Morsell 16, Jaden Robinson 9, Tyree Myers 8, DeJonte July 5, Tim McDonald 4, Albert Jackson 2 12. TOTALS: 28 19-25 80.

Last Updated (Thursday, 02 February 2017 11:02)



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