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DMV Tip-Off Classic: DeMatha edges North Point, St. John’s holds off Roddy Peters and Suitland in thriller

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As DeMatha senior Jairus Lyles burst toward the basket at full speed late in the fourth quarter on Saturday night, a North Point defender took position in the lane, expecting contact.

In a quarter filled with turnovers and poor decisions by the fourth-ranked Stags, Lyles appeared headed for another. This time, however, the VCU-bound guard hopped to a stop, rose and dropped in a short jumper to staunch a dwindling lead.

After holding a double-digit advantage into the final minutes, DeMatha ultimately needed every basket in a 60-57 win over No. 8 North Point in the finale of the inaugural DMV Tip-Off Classic at Wise. Lyles provided most of them in the second half, scoring all 16 of his points after halftime.

“We just had to bring it in together,” Lyles said. “We weren’t going to win if we didn’t step up — stop turning the ball over and making stupid mistakes.”

DeMatha took control early, never trailing after the game’s opening minute. Behind a strong burst to begin the second half from Lyles and senior center Beejay Anya (13 points, 15 rebounds, six blocks), the Stags (2-3) led by 17 late in the third quarter. But North Point (3-1) closed strong, frustrating the young Stags with its pressure defense.

The Eagles — who were led by 18 points from senior Naim Muhammad — pulled within a point twice in the closing minutes and had a chance to take the lead with less than 30 seconds left.

The Stags couldn’t relax until a final three-pointer from the right wing clanked off the back of the rim.

“We’ve got to just keep playing,” DeMatha Coach Mike Jones said. “It wasn’t the plan to put the brakes on, even though it kind of looked that way. . . . I’m proud that we persevered and withstood a lot there.”

In another thriller earlier Saturday, St. John’s junior Tre Campbell helped pressure Suitland senior standout Roddy Peters into a turnover on the final possession and No. 13 St. John’s escaped with a 65-64 victory.

The Cadets (6-1) seized control thanks to 13 three-pointers, then defended Peters, a University of Maryland recruit, just well enough in the last minute to hold on against the 19th-ranked Rams.

“That’s a matchup I’ve been waiting for a long time,” said Campbell, a 6-foot-1 guard who scored a game-high 26 points.

“I gave him what I had to do.”

Down by four heading to the fourth quarter, St. John’s exploded into the lead with a three-point barrage. The Cadets scored on their first six offensive trips, hitting all four attempts from behind the arc. They finished 7 of 10 from the field in the final quarter.

Suitland (2-2) trailed by nine points with less than two minutes left but scored eight in a row to pull within one on a three-pointer by junior Savon Walker. The Rams then had four possessions in the final minute with the chance to tie or take the lead.

Peters, who plans to have season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder on Dec. 21, was the only Suitland player to attempt a shot during that time. The 6-4 guard converted a layup through a foul with 12 seconds left but then missed the game-tying free throw attempt.

St. John’s knocked the miss out of bounds, giving the Rams a final chance. Peters (19 points) passed to an open teammate in the corner but quickly got the ball back. By then, Campbell, who holds six Division I scholarship offers, had enough help to surround Peters and prevent a shot.

“I like that matchup,” St. John’s Coach Sean McAloon said. “Tre’s a competitor. We wanted to put him there and see what he could do.”

In Saturday’s other games, Princeton Day knocked off No. 5 Riverdale Baptist, 65-62, as senior guard Aquille Carr scored 11 of his game-high 23 points at the free throw line. It was the second loss of the day for Riverdale Baptist (6-6), which began Saturday morning at the DMV Elite Holiday Classic in the District where it lost to Christian Faith (N.C.), 64-56.

Douglass beat Wise, 56-54, behind 14 points from senior guard Saquan Epps-Walker, and No. 14 National Christian improved to 5-0 with a 74-69 win over Quality Education Academy of Winston Salem, N.C.

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