Mount Saint Joseph senior standouts James Bishop and Jalen Smith can safely say they’ve been there before.
Their experience showed big in the pivotal stretches Tuesday night against emerging Boys’ Latin.
The No. 4 Gaels used an 11-0 run at the end of the third quarter to take hold of a tight game, as Bishop, a guard, and Smith, the Maryland-bound forward, were the biggest factors at both ends in closing out a 70-57 road win over the No. 6 Lakers.
Bishop finished with a game-high 26 points — 10 in the fourth quarter — and Smith scored 19. Mount Saint Joseph won its eight straight game to improve to 17-3 and 7-1 in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference’s Red division.
Boys’ Latin, which had won six in a row, fell to 14-3 overall and 5-3 in the league’s Black division.
Trailing 44-41 with under two minute to play in the third quarter, the Gaels turned it up to take charge with Smith and Bishop accounting for nine of the 11 points. From there, the senior duo made sure the Gaels would pull away — Bishop hitting two 3-pointers and Smith finishing off a dunk.
“Coach just telling that we needed to lock in on defense and that’s what we did, we came together as a team and pulled together,” Bishop said. “I’ve been in this position multiple times, so I know at some crucial moments the team is going to need me and I’m going to need them, so I just try to do whatever I can to help the team get a win.”
When Bishop hit a jumper with 2:24 left in the first quarter, the Gaels had the biggest lead of the first half at 13-6. But the Lakers quickly showed they would be sticking around. They answered with an 8-2 run — getting two baskets from Kenny Lewis and a 3-pointer from Cameron Spencer to get the game tied at 15 with 5:34 left in the half. The teams would exchange lead four times the rest of the first half before the Gaels claimed a 31-29 lead at the break — Smith blocking a shot at one end before taking a feed from Kendall McMillan and dunking in transition for their final points.
In the third quarter, the Lakers scored the first seven points with a 3-pointer from Cameron Watts providing a 36-33 lead with 5:35 left. The home team would lead 44-41 when the Gaels made their run with 1:20 to play in the third. Lewis scored a team-high 17 points for the Lakers, who also got 15 points from Jaylin Andrews and 13 from Watts.
“We missed some assignments and they’re just too good,” Boys’ Latin coach Cliff Rees said. “Bishop is too good and [Smith] when he gets in the paint you’re just not going to stop him. They did the right stuff, adjusted to our defense and they’re a good team.
Varsity Highlights Newsletter
Get the latest high school sports stories, photos and video from around the region.
“It’s been a great season and I’m very pleased with the effort the kids are giving and the wins we got. We’ve got to prove we can hang with the Mount Saint Joes and the John Carrolls of the conference and we haven’t yet. But we’re going to. The guys are going to keep working, I’m proud of the effort, so we’ll just make the adjustments we need to make and see what comes up next.”
MSJ — Myers 13, Bishop 26, J. Smith 19, McMillan 5, McDonald 4, Crawley 3. Totals: 26 11-14 70