The Mount Saint Joseph basketball team beat Loyola Blakefield, 55-45, on Monday night for its 11th straight victory.
Gaels forward Jason Edokpayi is normally known as an inside presence on both ends of the floor, but he put pressure on Loyola with his outside shooting, making four 3-pointers and finishing with a game-high 20 points.
“I feel like I’ve been working on my jump shot,” Edokpayi said. “It’s just something that I’ve always had since high school, but I was feeling it today and got into the gym early. I was just getting a lot of shots up before the game because I had a bad game against Mount Carmel where I didn’t really wake up until the fourth quarter.
“So, I just locked myself in the gym all weekend and I was in the gym after school today. I was just making sure that it was available for me tonight.”
Tyler Brelsford and Edokpayi are the usual top scoring options for the Gaels. D’Angelo Stines joined that group Monday, taking over in the second half to score 14 of his 16 total points.
“I feel like I can always score, but I kind of do what my team needs,” Stines said. “I play defense and if it’s there, I take the open shot. I definitely feel like I can be that third scoring option, but I just want to do whatever my team needs me to do for the win — if it’s scoring or playing defense, rebounding, whatever — I’m just here to contribute.”
The Gaels finished ended the first quarter with a 13-7 lead, led by Edokpayi’s eight points. Loyola’s Mitch Fischer had four.
It continued to be the “Jason Edokpayi Show” in the second quarter, with the big man going down low, blocking shots and hitting another 3-pointer as the Gaels took a 27-17 lead at the half.
Mount Saint Joseph began to pull away in the third quarter behind Stines, who had two thunderous dunks that got the student section in an uproar. Gavin Walsh added four points for Loyola as the Dons cut their deficit to 44-29.
The fourth quarter had several ups and downs on the defensive end for the Gaels, as the Dons cut a 15-point lead down to 10. However, it just wasn’t enough for Loyola as Mount Saint Joseph pulled away under the guiding hand of Brelsford.
“Tyler has been through this league a few times and he’s had a really good senior season,” Mount Saint Joseph coach Pat Clatchey said. “He needs to keep doing that if he wants his senior season to end the way he wants it to, which is with a championship.”
Loyola was down 15 early on in the fourth quarter, but the Dons showed some fight down the stretch. Loyola coach Josh Davalli liked the late-game push.
“We fought to the end and didn’t give up on each possession,” Davalli said. “I’m certainly proud of that. I think that throughout the game, we just weren’t able to execute the things that we needed to execute. Credit goes to Saint Joe because they can take you out of some things that you want to do.
“I think that overall we gave a good effort and certainly that’s got to be there against Mount Saint Joe first and foremost. Because if you don’t do that, then you’re already behind in the game.”
MSJ (22-3, 15-2): J. Edokpayi 20, D. Stines 16, T. Brelsford 10, S. Carr 4, A. Crawley 3, C. Sapienza 2
LB (15-10, 8-7): G. Walsh 10, J. Dixon 8, M. Fischer 8, C. Smith 7, J. Moore 7, R. Gardner 5
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Half: 27-17, MSJ