There’s nothing strange about a high school athlete coming down with a case of jitters before his first varsity game.
But Boys’ Latin freshman forward Brandon Murray had no such problem Tuesday night against Gerstell Academy.
Murray scored 18 points off the bench — including 14 points in the second half — to power the Lakers past Gerstell, 74-61, in Roland Park in a Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association non-league game.
He also finished with seven rebounds in the Lakers’ season opener.
“I thought Brandon was phenomenal,” Boys’ Latin coach Cliff Rees said. “He didn’t show any sign of nerves. He just went in there and banged and battled. To see him come in and play that way is huge for us.”
Boys’ Latin had trailed 35-31 with 6:40 remaining in the third quarter when Anthony Carpenter sank two free throws.
The Lakers, however, took the lead for good with a 12-4 run over the next three minutes as Murray had a layup and a pair of free throws during that stretch.
Boys’ Latin pushed its lead to 50-41 on Connor Walsh’s layup before the Falcons cut the margin to four points by the end of the quarter.
But the Lakers quickly put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter.
They opened the period on a 20-4 run as Murray shined again. He made three consecutive layups to spark Boys’ Latin.
“We had too many turnovers and didn’t shoot the ball particularly well,” said Gerstell coach Ben Thompson, whose team opened the season Saturday with a 72-65 loss to McDonogh School. “And Boys’ Latin played with an intensity in that fourth quarter that was different than the rest of the game. They really brought the intensity in the fourth quarter.”
Gerstell committed five turnovers in the first five minutes of the first quarter as Boys’ Latin built an 18-13 lead.
The Lakers led by as many as six points early in the second quarter before the Falcons rallied to make it 31-31 at halftime.
Gerstell’s Brad Witt led all scorers with 10 points in the first half and he finished with a team-high 17 points while grabbing eight rebounds. Teammate Anthony Carpenter chipped in 11 points and Tyler Tillery added eight.
Boys’ Latin senior point guard Brandon Bradsher totaled 16 points and four assists and Lakers’ junior guard Connor Walsh also scored in double figures.
Jaylin Andrew added eight points and six rebounds for the winners.