Jordan Collins and Billy Edelin were well aware that each needed to play a larger role for the top-ranked DeMatha boys basketball team this season. The Stags lost two All-Met players to graduation, meaning the scoring and leadership load fell to Collins and Edelin, a pair of juniors who played key roles last year.
In last night's 87-62 victory over No. 16 McNamara (10-5, 1-1) in a Washington Catholic Athletic Conference game, Edelin, a 6-foot-2 guard, scored 28 points and Collins, a 6-10 center, added 20 points to lead a balanced team effort.
"Me and Billy have had to step up together," said Collins, who made 10 of 14 shots but played only 17 minutes because of foul trouble. "I've been on the varsity since my freshman year, and now it's my turn to step up. It's been more of a team effort this year. Last year, people would watch Joe [Forte] and Keith [Bogans] do their thing."
Forte, now playing at North Carolina, was All-Met Player of the Year; Bogans, now at Kentucky, was first-team All-Met.
While Collins and Edelin have led DeMatha (14-1, 2-0), the Stags have benefited from their balanced attack all season. Ten players scored in the Stags' 66-43 win over Good Counsel in their WCAC opener on Friday; last night, eight players got in the scoring column.
Both Collins and starting forward Robin Wentt (eight points, nine rebounds) were in foul trouble, which meant sophomore Travis Garrison and junior Leonard Smith had to contribute. Garrison responded by scoring 17 points.
"We had to go to our bench tonight, and those players really came through," DeMatha Coach Morgan Wootten said. "We needed it tonight. Our entire front line had two or three fouls, so we played six different players at two positions.
"Our depth is why we've been doing so well," Wootten said. "When you lose guys like Bogans and Forte, you can't replace them. If you have excellent depth, you can cut your losses."