DeMatha forward Jerai Grant felt like he had the flu Monday, but his mother refused to let him stay home from school because Grant had missed some classes when the Stags played in California last weekend. Instead, she nursed Grant back to health with five boxes of TheraFlu.
That remedy proved invaluable for No. 2 DeMatha last night, as Grant had enough stamina to score 12 points, grab four rebounds and block two shots in the Stags' 90-61 Washington Catholic Athletic Conference victory over 10th-ranked Carroll in Northeast.
"It was tough to take it all down," Grant said with a glowing smile.
The victory was DeMatha's fourth straight against Carroll. The Stags (3-0, 1-0) went undefeated in regular season conference play last season, but duplicating that accomplishment was far from Coach Mike Jones's mind after winning this season's conference opener.
"It's definitely the way we want to start, but to go undefeated in the league is rare. It's not something that we're trying to do," Jones said. "Our league is way too tough for a team to go 18-0 this year."
Carroll suffered a significant size disadvantage because 6-foot-8 forward Jamar Samuels -- the Lions' only player listed as taller than 6-4 -- missed the game for violating team rules, Coach Bill Howze said. Howze would not disclose the rules violation.
Grant is one of three DeMatha players listed at 6-9, and he took advantage of Carroll's smaller lineup.
"Nobody on their team was really that tall," Grant said. "I knew one of us was going to have to take care of the other when one of us got in trouble."
Grant came through when 6-9 sophomore Chris Braswell, a transfer from Suitland, was sidelined with foul trouble. Braswell played sparingly after picking up a pair of fouls in the opening minutes of the first and third quarters.
"We're going to need Chris Braswell to play some big minutes for us this year," Jones said. "Tonight, a lot of other guys were able to pick up what he wasn't able to do."
Howze insisted DeMatha's size advantage wasn't the reason the Lions (1-1, 0-1) lost.
"The size advantage was difficult, but we could have done things to help abate the size advantage," he said, "like boxing out and playing better defense on the ball."
DeMatha led 40-28 at halftime and put the game away in the third quarter thanks to Grant and guard Nigel Munson. Grant scored seven points in the quarter, four on a pair of two-handed dunks.
Munson scored eight points in the quarter. He found his stroke from the outside and drained two three-pointers off inbound plays.
"When I score and step up my game, our team feeds off that," Munson said. "I think that really picked up the momentum in the game."