With a roster filled with sharpshooters, the Boys’ Latin basketball team constantly encourages making the extra pass.
The extra pass provides a little extra time, and the No. 7 Lakers make sure to cash in.
With Boys’ Latin visiting No. 1 Mount Saint Joseph on Wednesday, Cameron Spencer was the recipient of that patience in the second quarter, and Sam Grace had his turn in the third.
Spencer scored 13 of his game-high 29 points in the second quarter and Grace scored all 15 of his on five 3-pointers in the third. The efficient production gave the Lakers control of the game, and late free throws thwarted the Gaels’ fourth-quarter rally as Boys’ Latin claimed a 69-61 win in Irvington.
Jake Nichols played strong inside to finish with 14 points for Boys’ Latin and Cameron Watts added 11 while helping limit Mount Saint Joseph star James Bishop to 18 points.
The Lakers, a senior-laden team that reached the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference championship game last season, are 19-3 and 6-0 in league play. Mount Saint Joseph fell to 14-4 and 7-1.
“We’re definitely having a lot of fun — it’s a special year,” Grace said. “We didn’t come up on the winning end in the championship game last year, but we’re definitely making a push to be on top this year.”
That’s been the Lakers’ approach all season — execute the game plan and find the open man. More proof that they are the best shooting team in the area came against the Gaels as they connected on 11 3-pointers and made 12 of 15 free-throw attempts.
A jumper from Spencer at the halftime buzzer gave the visitors a 30-26 lead. In the third quarter, Grace, who missed three straight 3-point tries and didn’t score a point in the first half, found his spots. He hit three straight 3s to open the quarter two more later in the frame to push the advantage to 50-42. When Spencer hit a 3 at the third-quarter buzzer, the Lakers had their first double-digit lead at 53-42.
“I got to credit my teammates because we always preach on finding the one more guy and it happened to be me in the third quarter,” Grace said. “We trust everybody to do the right thing.”
The Gaels, who also got 14 points from Tyler Brelsford and 12 from Ausar Crawley, raised their intensity to make one final charge, getting as close as 62-58, but Spencer made four straight free throws and Nichols hit three more to seal the win.
“They deserved to win,” Mount Saint Joseph coach Pat Clatchey said. “I thought they played harder than us, I thought they better played than us. Spencer set the tone for the whole game. He’s a really good player and I think they feed off his energy.”
Said Spencer: “I think we executed our game plan pretty well tonight. We were trying to slow down Bishop at the other end and I thought Cam Watts did a great job of it and we tried to help him out as much as we could. And then we just executed at the offensive end like we have all year. I know we’re the underdog, but we don’t feel that way. If we execute our game plan, we feel we can beat anybody at any time.”
BL — Spencer 29, Grace 15, Watts 11, Nichols 14. Totals: 22 12-15 69
MSJ — Crawley 12, Bishop 18, Brelsford 14, Brown 2, Hamlin 2, Chairs 5, Johnson 8. Totals: 22 8-9 61
Half: BL, 30-26