One could hear a loud yell from the St. Frances boys basketball team’s bench at the beginning of their Monday night matchup against Calvert Hall.
“Get ’em out of here early,” a player said.
That St. Frances did, walloping host Calvert Hall, 106-45, to stay unbeaten this season. The Panthers (9-0) enjoyed 14-point outings from four players: seniors Julian Reese, Elijah Davis and Khyrie Staten, along with freshman Derik Queen.
Entering the game with 2:40 left in the first quarter, Reese backed down Calvert Hall forward Keaton Eyring on an inbounds play. He received a pass from Jahnathan Lamothe (12 points) and spun around for a hook shot for his first two points of the game.
The Maryland signee lifted and crafted his game during the offseason. He already could outjump the majority of his competition, but he wanted to be able to punish opponents physically as well.
“I tried to add that to my game,” Reese said. “During the offseason, I just wanted to get stronger to be able to compete at the next level. I feel like playing against these good guys is going to prepare me for Maryland. I feel like I’m going to be ready when the time comes.”
Reese also showed that he could bring up the ball throughout the game. He had several plays in which he collected a rebound, pushed up the court and passed to an open shooter.
“I just want to have that in my arsenal if I need to, but I probably don’t need it right now,” Reese said. “At Maryland, sometimes I may need to bring it up just to push the floor, so I won’t have to wait for a guard.”
Davis’ bench scoring was essential to setting the tone. The Mississippi Valley State signee made all four of his 3-point attempts — and even made a 3-pointer after the final buzzer that didn’t count.
It’s just part of the confidence that the experienced East Baltimore squad plays with.
“This year, we know we’re better than everybody,” Davis said. “So, we just want to set the tone and let people know that they don’t belong on the court with us. We have a lot of depth. We [practically] have six starters. That really helps a lot.”
Ironically enough, his 3-point shooting isn’t something that other teams around the Baltimore Catholic League believe is a strength of his.
“The scouting report in the league is that I can’t shoot and I’m mostly a driver,” Davis said. “I’ve been finding my rhythm a lot lately and I’ve been showing teams that I can shoot the ball too. I’m trying to get ready for Mississippi Valley State next year.”
St. Frances outpaced Calvert Hall in the first quarter 22-8. Then, they pushed out to 50-11 lead at the half as St. Frances’ Byron Ireland (13 points) punctuated the run with a 3-pointer. By the third quarter, the Panthers had a 79-28 advantage, allowing them to empty their bench in the fourth.
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