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Jalen Bryant leads way in fourth quarter as John Carroll basketball gets past Boys’ Latin, 70-62

As one of the leaders of the young John Carroll boys basketball team, junior guard Jalen Bryant already knew he had to take the initiative when the No. 9 Patriots faced a close game in the fourth quarter Wednesday against visiting Boys’ Latin.

Coach Seth Goldberg made sure Bryant knew what to do as the Patriots were coming out of the huddle.

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“Coach told me to keep bringing the energy, and I just smiled. ‘I got you coach.’ I got back on the floor, and that’s what I did,” Bryant said.

Bryant brought more than energy.

He started the final quarter with the Patriots’ first seven points — with a tough steal under the basket sparking the run — and finished with 12 of his 24 points to help the home team pull away for a 70-62 win.

John Carroll, which also got 26 points from freshman forward Jeannot Basima, improved to 19-8 and 10-5 in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference Red Division.

With the Patriots holding on to a 49-46 lead to start the fourth quarter after mustering only seven points in the third, Goldberg saw what he has seen much of the season as his team continues to grow.

“What makes our team special is that our goal is to go into every game and be together and be tough. And when things may go wrong, how do we stay together and how do we continue to enjoy playing during those tough moments? I think today was a great example of that,” he said. “BL does a great job — they’re physical and they’re tough and they make shots. I was really proud of our guys that when we needed them to, they really stayed together and they were tough for each other and they made some winning plays.”

After Basima carried much of the Patriots offense earlier in the game, helping them get to a 42-32 halftime lead and hitting a couple key baskets in the third quarter, Bryant followed orders in the fourth.

His 3-pointer with 6:27 to play provided a 56-49 lead, and another 3 a couple minutes later pushed the advantage to 67-55 with 3:49 left.

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The Lakers, who had four players reach double figures in a balanced scoring performance, clamped down on defense and scrapped for points. Boys’ Latin went on a 7-0 run with Lorenzo Donadio’s putback cutting the lead to 67-62 with 1:39 left.

It was Bryant who stopped the run, making two free throws with 51 seconds left. Bryant cherishes the responsibility of being a team leader on a roster filled with underclassman.

“It feels good,” Bryant said. “It shows coach has a lot of trust in me and he allows me to go out there and play my game and it’s just fun."

After enjoying an eight-game winning streak, the Lakers (11-11) have dropped five straight to fall to 8-7 in the MIAA A Black Division. Against just about every opponent, they are smaller and have less depth, leaving little margin for error.

Coach Cliff Rees said his team wasn’t very sharp defensively in the first half, particularly in the second quarter, when they yielded 28 points. And despite opening the third quarter with 10 straight points to tie the game, some costly turnovers kept them from taking the lead.

“I thought we played really hard in the second half,” Rees said. “We got sloppy with some turnovers and I think we can be a little more aggressive at times, but I think our kids fight and scrap every night so I can’t knock them for our effort at all.”

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Donadio led the Lakers with 16 points, while Kendall Walker sparked the third-quarter comeback with 10 of his 15 points.

Both teams return to action at 7 p.m. on Friday when John Carroll hosts Glenelg Country and Boys’ Latin travels to Archbishop Spalding.

BL – Donadio 16, Spencer 5, Walker 15, Green 10, Schell 14, Stout 2. Totals: 24 8-15 62

JC – Jakubowski 6, Tchilombo 2, Bryant 24, Commander 10, Basima 26, Long 2. Totals: 24 15-18 70

Half: JC, 42-32

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