DeMatha WCAC Mid-Season Basketball Fitness Report & National Title Push

DeMatha has an active team defense where everybody chips in.

Darren Harvey isn’t afraid to get down on the floor against SJC.  Links to the Washington Post article. Washington Post photo credit.

The DeMatha Stags baskebtall team has finally played every other team in the prestigious Washington Catholic Athletic Conference at least once, and they remain undefeated at 15-0.  Now DeMatha comes to the hard part.  The Stags will have to face a strong Bishop O’Connell team seeking revenge when they come into Hyattsville (today) and then win on the road at Bishop McNamara (2/13) -and then finally, again, at Paul VI (2/16).

There are no easy wins in the WCAC, and those three teams don’t have many years to research before they find evidence of their successes against DeMatha Catholic High School for Boys.  The Stags are always the most important game of the year for most opponents but with a #4 ranking in the USA Today poll the target on their backs has gotten bigger for WCAC teams looking to make late-season noise.  Right now all the clamor is for a DeMatha bid at an undefeated regular season in the toughest conference in America.

With an overall record of 24-1 the Stags have played great defense at times and despite some sporadic sloppy play on offense they have always managed to do enough since suffering their only loss to Sierra Canyon.  Their uptempo style can lead to unforced turnovers but so far, all of the risks have been outweighed by the rewards in WCAC games.  Terrell Allen has been masterful at times by improving his finishing touches while, somehow, still managing to find easy buckets for big man Thomas Bruce routinely.

When DeMatha is clicking in the half-court offense baskets in the paint are plentiful because Markelle Fultz, Darren Harvey, and Nate Darling all have a knack for keeping defenders off-kilter around the perimeter.  All of the WCAC defenses have succumbed to running DeMatha’s core players into their strengths which is why the Stags have dominated, so far.  Fultz and Harvey have been particularly generous in sharing the basketball and their prolific passing has allowed new Stags like Darling to get up to pace.

Even speedboats need an anchor and senior Jaelin Grant has been an unsung hero by neutralizing the toughest assignments in a conference loaded with national talent.  Grant was instrumental in both regular season wins against Gonzaga and is also a steady presence on the boards.  If the last of the Grant brothers can advance the inside-out mentality along with the rest of the Stags, their aggressive and attacking style on both sides of the ball will be hard to beat.

The DeMatha Stags’ basketball team also has to be mentally tough in order to deal with the pressure of playing for a conference championship that includes a single-elimination tournament after the regular season.  By clinching the regular season the Stags have also earned a berth in the Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament which could likely have them facing-off against top seeded WCAC teams for a fourth time along with other regional powers.  The winner take all rule is in full effect for this relatively young DeMatha basketball team and they will surely be in the National Title conversation should they remain undefeated for the remainder of the WCAC and extended season.

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