BY CHRIS MCMANES — If DeMatha’s opponents focus too much attention on its major Division I recruits, they do so at their own peril. Teams would also be wise to prepare for senior point guard Ryan Allen.
Allen, a University of Delaware signee, scored a career-high 27 points in the Stags’ 73-71 victory over the Bishop O’Connell Knights on Tuesday night in Hyattsville. His shot arsenal featured an assortment of pull-up jumpers and 3-pointers.
“He had a good game shooting the ball,” DeMatha Coach Mike Jones said.
The victory was the No. 2 Stags’ fifth straight. They improved to 12-1 overall and 6-0 in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference.
DeMatha will play Las Vegas power Bishop Gorman in the Spalding Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass., today. The Gaels (12-5) are led by 6-foot-6 senior Charles O’Bannon, Jr., who has committed to USC. Gorman is the second-ranked team in Nevada.
You can watch the game live at 4:30 p.m.
Allen scored 13 straight points to close the first quarter. DeMatha went into halftime with a 40-34 advantage after leading by as many as 11 points. The Stags built sizable leads in the second half, too, but weren’t able to put away the No. 11 Knights (10-6, 4-3).
Allen hit a trey off the dribble for his only points of the third quarter. With 5:53 left to play in the game, the lefty’s mid-range jumper gave DeMatha a 60-50 lead.
Josh Carlton, a 6-foot, 9 ½-inch Connecticut recruit, dropped in a finger roll with 1:36 left before fouling out 10 seconds later with the Stags up by seven. After Matthew Becht sank a 3-ball to bring O’Connell to within four points, D.J. Harvey restored the lead to seven.
Facing full-court pressure, Justin Gielen — who stars on the DeMatha soccer team — threw a long inbounds pass to Harvey. The Notre Dame recruit hit a driving layup, was fouled and converted the free throw. The Stags were up 73-66 with 20.7 seconds remaining.
Then things started to unravel.
A layup and another triple from Becht following a DeMatha turnover brought the Knights to within two points. They fouled Allen, who missed the front end of a one-and-one. O’Connell rebounded the ball, and James Madison signee Matthew Lewis’ shot from half-court would have counted had it gone in.
Jones said he wasn’t pleased with his squad’s late-game performance. It was a “lack of focus. Just chalk it up to that,” he said. “That’s the baseline for anything that we had there at the end. Lack of focus.”
Jones said he is looking for 32 minutes of intensity Saturday.
“We need to correct some things for a lot of games beyond Bishop Gorman,” he said. “Any time you go into a season, you want to be able to get better every day. We clearly have a lot that we can get better at going forward. That will be our goal.”
Allen a Future Blue Hen
Delaware is coached by Martin Ingelsby, who spent the past 13 years under DeMatha grad Mike Brey at Notre Dame. Brey coached the Blue Hens before he took over the Fighting Irish. Corey McCrae, a Stags’ assistant coach the past six seasons, is on the Delaware coaching staff.
Ingelsby said he is pleased Allen decided to join him.
“Ryan is a talented lead guard who comes from one of the best high school basketball programs in the country,” Ingelsby said in a Nov. 9 news release. “His basketball IQ and ability to score from all levels will make him an immediate impact guy for us next season. I love what he will bring to our basketball program over the next four years.”
Jones said he is happy with what Allen is doing for his team this season. The 6-foot, 2-inch, 185-pounder’s previous season high was 17 points in DeMatha’s 68-58 victory over St. John’s.
The Stags return home next week to face WCAC foes St. Mary’s Ryken (Tuesday) and Archbishop Carroll (Thursday). Game time at the Looney Convocation Center is 7:30 p.m. … Third-leading scorer Justin Moore is out for the season with a torn ACL in his left knee. The sophomore had successful surgery Thursday. … One highlight of DeMatha’s annual trip to Springfield, Mass., is a visit to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Former Stags Coach Morgan Wootten and his star player Adrian Dantley are enshrined in the hall. Wootten is one of only four high school coaches so honored. … Wootten and his wife Kathy attended the O’Connell game. Their son, Joe, coaches the Knights … DeMatha junior Justin Gielen and senior manager Mekhi Vance were inducted into National Honor Society on Wednesday.