The John Carroll boys basketball team prides itself on its defense and resiliency. It needed both Friday night at No. 7 Boys' Latin.
The fourth-ranked Patriots (9-2, 5-2 Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference) survived a few early runs from the host Lakers (7-2, 2-2), and the ejection of one of their best players and their coach, to earn a tough 84-62 win.
Kentucky-bound senior Immanuel Quickley led John Carroll with 29 points. Jaylin Andrews led the Lakers with 19 points.
"We stuck together on offense and made some key stops in the first half," said Patriots coach John Zito, who was ejected from the game with 3:47 remaining. "We used our defense to set up our offense. After we strung together a few stops, we did well."
The Lakers kept the game close for much of the first half. After Cameron Watts' free throw cut the Patriots' lead to 22-20, it looked as if Boys' Latin were primed for a run.
Then the Patriots showed why they're one of the best teams in the area. John Carroll went on a 9-1 run over the next 1:34 to take a 31-21 lead, forcing Lakers coach Cliff Rees to call timeout with 4:32 left in the half.
With 2:45 left in the half, Patriots senior Montez Mathis drew contact. When no foul was called, the Rutgers signee voiced his displeasure to an official, who assessed him a technical foul.
The Lakers managed to cut the lead to 35-30 after the altercation, and entered halftime trailing 39-32.
The Patriots came out of intermission with more defensive intensity, scoring the first seven points to take a 46-32 lead just 1:07 into the half. After scoring on a layup with 6:53 left in the quarter, Mathis celebrated. That led to his second technical foul and an automatic ejection.
The Lakers got two free throws from Cameron Spencer and a jumper from Chris Bates to cut the lead to 10 at 46-36 with 6:11 left in the third quarter, but the Patriots' Quickley and Gultekin each scored seven points in a 21-6 run to end the quarter that blew the game wide open.
After a defensive lapse with 3:47 left in the game, Zito called a timeout. As the teams were going to the bench, someone from John Carroll used an obscenity. Under MIAA rules, Zito also was ejected from the game. When asked about the officiating after the game, Zito gave an emphatic "No comment."
The dynamic Quickley, who played the entire game, said the Patriots are still very much a work in progress.
"We've had some great games and we've played well, but we are nowhere near where we will need to be in March," he said. "We're coming along slowly, but we're not there yet."
As for Boys' Latin, the loss was disappointing.
"Turnovers killed us," Rees said. "They have a phenomenal team, but you can't turn the ball over 19 times against them and expect to win. We played hard, but they killed us on the offensive glass."
John Carroll 84, Boys' Latin 62
JOHN CARROLL — Craig 9, Quickley 29, Haughton 8, Gultekin 24, Mathis 10, Ismail 4. Totals: 30 15-22 84.
BOYS' LATIN — Lee 1, Lewis 11, Watts 9, Hardway 8, Grace 6, Andrews 19, Bates 6, Spencer 2. Totals: 20 16-29 62. Halftime: JC 39-32.