UPPER MARLBORO – Jerami Grant said his quick starts weren’t by design, but they still proved to be the difference.
The DeMatha Catholic junior swingman scored seven points in the first quarter and 10 in the third en route to a game-high 17 as the Stags picked up a 61-44 victory over Mount St. Joseph on Saturday at Riverdale Baptist.
“I know for our team to be successful, everybody has to play hard,” Grant said, “so I just wanted to play as hard as I could to start off the game. Ishould have been playing as hard as I could the whole time, but I just let up a little bit.”
The whole team seemed to early on. The Stags (2-0) jumped out to a 16-9 lead after one quarter, but were outscored 15-8 in the second as the Gaels rallied back to tie the game up at 24-24 heading into halftime.
The drama was short-lived, though, as the Stags opened the third quarter on an 8-0 run and were never threatened again. They forced eight turnovers and outscored Mount St. Joseph 21-3 in the period.
“Everybody just started playing as a team and just started going hard,” Grant said. “We got a little talking-to in the locker room, and just had a different mentality when we came out. I think we let up after we came out on them 10-2, and we just had to get back to playing the way we were playing at the beginning of the game.”
The 6-foot-7 Grant – the son of former NBA player Harvey Grant – was the catalyst. He opened the second half with a jumper, then and added another one, three fouls shots and a three pointer as the Stags opened up their lead.
Grant – who plays his AAU ball with Team Takeover – has two older brothers currently playing Division I basketball in Jerai (Clemson) and Jerian (Notre Dame), and currently has scholarship offers from Marquette, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia and Virginia Tech. He and junior guard James Robinson are rated four-star prospects by Rivals.com.
“He’s coming around,” DeMatha coach Mike Jones said of Grant. “He had a kind of up and down preseason – he’s working really hard – but he’s kind of coming into his own because he’s playing on the wing pretty much full-time now. So, he’s growing into that, but today, I think, is what we can expect to see from him, if not better.”
Grant’s size provided a formidable mismatch for the Gaels’ wings, as he was able to simply shoot over smaller defenders.
“I actually had the pleasure of coaching Jerami and James Robinson during the summer at the Nike Hoops Jamboree,” Mount St. Joseph coach Pat Clatchey said. “They’re both very nice young me, and I enjoy coaching them a lot more than coaching against them.”
DeMatha sophomore guard Jairus Lyles made three 3-pointers and finished with 13 points, while junior guard Marcellous Bell chipped in nine off the bench. David Windsor led the Gaels (3-1) with nine points.
MOUNT ST. JOSEPH
Windsor 1 6-6 9, Stephenson 2 1-1 5, Garrison 1 3, Nordolilo 1 3, Martin 2-5
2, Lawrence 2 4, Bartnik 2-2 2, Williams 3 6, Clinton 3 0-2 6, Long 2 0-1 4.
Totals: 15 11-18 44.
Grant 6 4-5 17, Lyles 4 2-2 13, Bell 3 2-2 9, Hopkins 3 1-2 7, Robinson 3 6,
Anya 2 1-2 5, Schuler 2-4 2, Kelley 1 2. Totals: 22 12-17 61.
Mount St. Joseph 9 15 3 17 – 44
DeMatha 16 8 21 16 – 61
3-Point Goals—M 2 (Nordolilo, Windsor), D 5 (Lyles 3, Bell, Grant).
Fouled out— None. Total Fouls— M 16, D 14.