After defeating St. John's in its Metro Conference opener, Good Counsel looked to a victory over DeMatha at home as an exclamation point signifying its place among the area's elite boys basketball teams.

But top-ranked DeMatha showed the Falcons just how far they are from the top by dismantling them yesterday, 67-44. The rout effectively denied a standing-room-only Good Counsel crowd the celebration it had been anticipating since snow forced Tuesday's scheduled game to be postponed.

"Neither team had played in ten days, so I don't think anybody knew what to expect," said DeMatha Coach Morgan Wootten. "I think our kids just played fantastic defense and that's what won it for us, because we missed some easy shots. We rebounded well and we go a little deeper than they do."

DeMatha (13-0, 2-0 in the Metro) held a 15-13 lead after one period. Then the Stags stepped up their defensive pressure and held the Falcons (11-2, 1-1) scoreless for the first four minutes of the second quarter while building a 21-13 lead that soon swelled to 29-17.

"We switched to a zone and we played either three-quarter court or half court, and that kind of spun things open for us offensively," said Wootten. "When you get a team that has a couple of great players and you want to keep their scoring down somewhat, a zone trap is a good way to do it, because it gets the ball out of their hands and makes some other guys handle it."

The swarming Stags defense, keyed by Ted Ellis, limited the production of high-scoring Kurt Small (21 points) and Nii Nelson-Richards (11).

"It was the pressure," said Nelson-Richards, who made four of 13 shots. "They came at us hard."

A lot of Nelson-Richards's difficulties could be attributed to the man who was guarding him -- Ellis, who had 13 points and 10 rebounds to go with 5 assists and 6 steals.

Vaughn Jones led DeMatha with 17 points. Duane Simpkins had 16.