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Brelsford’s 24 points help Mount Saint Joseph basketball bounce back, beat MIAA rival John Carroll

On Friday, the Mount Saint Joseph basketball team lost to Boys’ Latin in overtime. After licking their wounds, bouncing back was of utmost importance for the Gaels on Sunday against John Carroll, and they responded with an 89-63 win.

For Mount Saint Joseph senior Tyler Brelsford, the difference Sunday was simply the will to win. The Gaels also dealt a blow to their Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association Red Division rivals.

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“We just wanted it more,” Brelsford said. “We came into practice hungry, like we had to make a statement, and we just played together and we got the big win. It’s a big game, a league game and a home game and it could come down to end of the season for home-court advantage.”

In recent seasons, Mount Saint Joseph (12-4, 6-2) has had the likes of current Maryland stars Jalen Smith and Darryl Morsell to step up and score. This year, the Gaels have had to rely on several scorers to get the job done.

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John Carroll's Jalen Bryant, left, tries to save the ball from going out of bound in front of Mount St. Joseph's Will Sykes in the second quarter.
John Carroll's Jalen Bryant, left, tries to save the ball from going out of bound in front of Mount St. Joseph's Will Sykes in the second quarter. (Kenneth K. Lam)

Brelsford set the tone for the Gaels, scoring a team-high 24 points. The George Washington commit was joined by Jason Edokpayi (14 points), Ausar Crawley (13) and Cam Sapienza (10) as the players in double figures for Mount Saint Joseph. Ten players scored for the Gaels.

“It’s a different team for us,” Mount Saint Joseph coach Pat Clatchey said. “We don’t have the likes of a Jalen Smith or a Darryl Morsell or James Bishop, so it’s got to be more balanced — balanced scoring and more opportunities for other guys.

“We’ve got to share the ball, we need to attack from the perimeter, but we also have to have some action on the interior as well. Today was a good example of that.”

On the offensive end, the Gaels scored from all three levels of the court, scoring on nine 3-pointers and Edokpayi’s two thunderous dunks in the second half. Edokpayi also stepped up on the defensive side, blocking three layup attempts.

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“He played well — he played well on both ends,” Clatchey said. “Probably the play that I was most proud of was when he turned and looked and threw the pass to the 3-pointer. He normally doesn’t have that type of vision or feel for the game, but that was really a big time play and it pushed us out with the lead.”

John Carroll (10-3, 3-1) sophomore Tyson Commander led the way for all players with 27 points. Despite trailing by more than 20 for much of the second half, the young guard found ways to get to the free-throw line, where he scored 11 of his 27 points.

The Gaels got out to a 16-14 lead at the end of the first quarter with Edokpayi scoring six and Sapienza hitting two 3-pointers. Commander had 10. In the second quarter, Brelsford scored 11 of his 24 to give Mount Saint Joseph a 40-35 lead at the break.

Mount Saint Joseph did the majority of their damage in the second half with Edokpayi, Brelsford and Crawley scoring a combined 23 in the third quarter. The Gaels continually imposed their will by scoring inside the paint.

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