By ANDREW FEATHER
FORESTVILLE, MD - DeMatha was strong on both sides of the ball, playing stingy defense and practically scoring at will as the visiting Stags beat McNamara 86-59 on Wednesday night to send the sellout crowd home disappointed.
A trio of Stags combined to score 59 points as DeMatha jumped out to an early lead and never hit the brakes on their way to the big win.
Down 37-26 at the half, the Mustangs were desperately trying to get something going, but no matter what it did, DeMatha had an answer.
For many on DeMatha, it was personal. Last season, after leading by three at halftime, the Stags let McNamara slowly chip away at its lead until the Mustangs managed to pull off the upset victory.
“It was something [Coach Mike Jones] focused on,” DeMatha guard Nate Darling said. “He said ‘you know that feeling we had last year,” so we didn’t want that to happen and we blew it open today.”
This time around, DeMatha never gave McNamara the chance to get back in it.
“Everyone on the team that was here last year told all the freshmen and the newcomers what happened last year,” DeMatha’s Markelle Fultz said. “At halftime we said we didn’t want that to happen again so we came out and didn’t take our foot off the pedal.”
Every time McNamara seemed like it would get something going, DeMatha would always bounce right back. The Stags would force a turnover, or knock down a momentum-killing 3-pointer.
“Every time they tried to get momentum we could cut in and get a stop, score, get a big stop, just do whatever we had to do,” Fultz said.
The Stags dominated inside, as the duo of Christian Dyches and Josh Carlton kept the Mustangs offense hitched in the post, combining for 10 blocks and nearly two dozen rebounds on the night.
Up 61-46 at the end of the third quarter, DeMatha did not hold back. The Stags scored 25 of the 38 fourth quarter points and improved to 7-0 in emphatic fashion.
Fultz and D.J. Harvey scored 20 points apiece and Darling, an Alabama-Birmingham commit, added 19, including a dunk in the fourth quarter where he faked a 3-pointer from the top of the key, got past his man, and threw down a two-handed jam on Drexel commit Sam Green, something he said was a first for in-game action.
“That was my first in-game dunk,” Darling said. “It was a good feeling. It was just another play trying to get momentum for the team and it sucked the energy out of the crowd we were able to feed off of it.”
Junior guard Jamir Moultrie did all he could to keep McNamara in the game, scoring a game-high 23 points, including five 3-pointers, but in the end it wasn’t enough as DeMatha’s talent shone through and the Stags got the blowout victory.
McNamara senior Jamar Watson, a Kentucky football commit, added in 10 points in the loss, including his 1000th career point.