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Bishop McDevitt’s team effort enough to slip by Germantown Academy

CHESTER >> Bishop McDevitt’s mood was markedly better leaving Widener on Monday night than it had been on Saturday.

The Royal Lancers had won both games, but it was all the matter of how they had played in those wins that caused the change. Monday, McDevitt finally got the all-as-one team effort it had been looking for this season on both ends against Germantown Academy.

Between a committed defense and balance offense, the Lancers were able to stave off the Patriots for a 45-42 win at the Pete and Jameer Nelson Play By Play Classic.

“We knew this would be an intense game, we were going up against one of the best players in the state,” McDevitt senior Robert Smith said. “We took the challenge and tried our best to win every possession and every minute of the game.”

Smith was one of a handful of defenders to guard GA’s Jordan Longino during the game and gave no quarter, which might have been a surprise to anyone who saw them before tip-off. Smith and Longino are friends who played on the same AAU team this summer and during an earlier game on the schedule, the two and Lancers forward Jamil Manigo were joking around with each other.

Once it was go time however, all bets were off. Longino had a game-high 21 but he and the rest of the Patriots had to work very hard against an engaged McDevitt defense to get their looks. The Lancers were chatty on defense, working each other through screens and trying to wall off every attempt at a drive.

“He’s a good player, he’s my friend and I love him to death,” Smith said. “But when we step on this court, we aren’t friends. We’re there to take on a challenge.

“We play five against three on each side, so if anyone comes into the middle, they’re going to come into the help. That’s when we get steals, turnovers or bad shots.”

GA closed the first quarter on a 6-0 run and held a lead for a majority of the second and third quarters, taking a 32-30 advantage into the final frame. Manigo took charge early in the fourth, bullying his way down low to put his guys in the lead.

The senior swiped the ball from GA under the basket and scored through contact to open the final quarter, then got fouled on another drive, hitting both free throws for a 35-32 lead.

“They were smart in the second half to throw it in to the big guy,” GA coach Matt Dolan said. “He’s physical, a first-team all-league guy, probably the heart of the team. On top of that, (Smith) got to the rim a lot, which we did a first job of in the first half but the second half, they put a war on us.”

Dolan felt his team wasn’t as aggressive as McDevitt in the second half in terms of creating contact and getting to the line and when the Patriots did get to the line, they missed some chances to put points up. At the same time, the first-year coach was proud of his team’s effort and believed it was a game GA could get better from.

“McDevitt is an excellent program that I think will contend for the top of the Catholic League so for us, I thought we came out and proved a point that we belonged,” Dolan said. “We were physical, we were strong, we were tough and we played together. Now we have to take that and do it against Shipley then go to Episcopal.

“We have to keep improving and keep getting better.”

GA wasn’t going down without a fight on Monday either. Jake Hsu made a tough pass with a defender leaping in his face to find Longino in the left corner for a three that cut McDevitt’s lead to 36-35 with 4:28 left in the game.

McDevitt needed an answer and got one from another of its senior stalwarts. Off a feed from Shamir Mosley, Glen Smith buried one of the biggest shots in the game with a right-wing trey with 3:54 to go, putting the Lancers ahead 39-35.

“I saw the defense move, I got open for a shot and just hit it,” Glen Smith said. “Our coaches emphasized ‘one more pass’ so we all looked to move the ball and get the best shot possible.

“We feel a lot better, the last two games, we hadn’t been playing well so we definitely feel better playing the way we did tonight.”

Longino attracted a lot of attention late, but the junior used it to his advantage. After he got inside the arc, drawing in McDevitt’s help defense, he kicked out to Lacey Snowden for a corner triple that got GA within 43-42 with about 40 seconds left.

Robert Smith split a pair of free throws, then the Patriots got two quality looks from deep, the first from Longino and the second from Casey Traina, that just wouldn’t go as McDevitt held on.

“You learn a lot about your team when you play teams who can exploit what you’re not great at,” Dolan said. “You hope you can then go and clean it up the next week or so before league play starts, because that’s when it really matters.”

McDevitt gets right back to PCL competition on Friday when it hosts La Salle. The Explorers are coming in winners of four straight after a buzzer-beating victory over Abington on Monday, so the Lancers will again have to step up to the challenge.

“That’s what we’ve been trying to do every game so far, play defense and let the offense come,” Glen Smith said. “We just want to keep playing defense and win as a team.”

The Lancers got a taste of success last year but had to learn to play with expectations this season. It’s taken a little time, but Monday was a big step in the direction they need to head as January begins.

“It’s motivation,” Robert Smith said. “We came here with a mentality to win this game and we go back into the PCL with the mentality to win again.

“It’s all mentality, man, now we know we’re getting hunted. Last year, we were hunting people but now they’re hunting us so we have to step up and take the challenge from anybody that’s coming our way and knock them off.”

BISHOP McDEVITT 13 8 9 15 – 45
BM: Glen Smith 2 4-7 9, Robert Smith 6 3-6 15, Shamir Mosley 0 2-4 2, Jamil Manigo 3 7-10 13, Quin Gilyard 1 0-0 2, Alassare Amadou 1 2-2 4. Totals: 13 18-29 45.
GA: Jake Hsu 3 1-2 8, Jordan Longino 7 3-4 21, Casey Traina 2 0-1 4, Zach Anderson 1 0-0 2, Lacey Snowden 2 0-0 5. Totals: 15 4-7 42.
3-pointers: BM – G Smith; GA – Longino 4, Hsu, Snowden.

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