In the marquee matchup of a day full of them at DeMatha, No. 4 Montrose Christian and No. 1 Paul VI Catholic featured lineups filled with future Division I players. That bounty of talent didn’t disappoint, as the teams combined for a high-flying, high-quality game filled with SportsCenter-worthy dunks and seemingly impossible finishes.
But while the Mustangs matched the Panthers’ flash, they couldn’t counter Paul VI’s offensive patience and defensive discipline. The Panthers’ pesky press stymied the Mustangs in the second half and helped them turn a four-point halftime deficit into a 75-58 statement win at the National High School Hoops Festival in Hyattsville.
“They were trying to dictate the game,” said Georgetown-bound Paul VI forward Marcus Derrickson, who turned in a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds. “So we put pressure on them, tried to speed it up on them.”
The Panthers (5-0, 3-0 Washington Catholic Athletic Conference) outscored Montrose Christian (4-1) by 21 points in the second half and held the Mustangs to six field goals in the final two quarters. As its press forced the Mustangs to play on the run, Paul VI exercised patience on offense, running the shot clock down on several occasions and rarely settling for a panicky shot. The Panthers shot 52 percent from the floor in the second half and hit four of five three-point attempts. Just as No. 2 St. John’s did in the Panthers’ previous game earlier this week, the Mustangs wore down.
“Coach likes to run pressure all the time, press, press, press,” said Paul VI point guard Kevin Dorsey, who finished with 20 points and four assists. “They couldn’t handle the pressure, so we like to run teams out like that.”
Few teams can successfully match up man-to-man with No. 3 Potomac’s quick and talented backcourt duo of Walter Broddie and Dion Wiley. Few teams even try. But No. 2 St. John’s — which features a surplus of talent — never considered an alternative approach.
Playing man “is all we do,” St. John’s Coach Sean McAloon said. “We’re not backing down from anybody. We’re just as good as anybody else.”
The Cadets validated that confidence, earning an 81-67 win against Potomac (Md.) in an earlier game at DeMatha.
St. John’s (3-1, 0-1 WCAC) held Wiley, a Maryland commit, to 10 inconsequential points, three from the free throw line and the others on baskets late in the game when the outcome was firmly decided. Broddie fared only slightly better with 12 points. St. John’s held what many regard as one of the area’s best backcourts to 8-of-26 shooting from the field and 1-of-9 shooting from three-point range.
“I’ve been here two years,” McAloon said. “I’ve never seen those two shoot like that.”
The Cadets didn’t just frustrate Potomac’s backcourt. St. John’s hands filled seemingly every passing lane and forced 22 Wolverine turnovers.
“I think it was a good defensive effort,” said St. John’s guard James Palmer, who scored 16 points and grabbed eight rebounds. “We played our best. We tried to deny Wiley and Broddie. They’re very good players. We just tried to deny them the ball as much as we could.”
The Cadets’ offense made sure Potomac (3-1, 3-0 Prince George’s 3A/2A/1A) couldn’t survive an off-day from its backcourt. Despite shooting 42 percent for the game as a team, five Cadets finished with double-digit point totals.