Winning is contagious at King’s Christian Academy and it continued Tuesday night.
The Eagles made quick work of Grace Christian Academy in a Metro Independent Schools Athletic League boys and girls basketball doubleheader in Waldorf as D’Angelo Tull put up 31 points in a 67-43 win for the boys to remain undefeated at 13-0, while the girls started the evening with a 61-26 victory, its seventh straight.
Tull, a St. Mary’s Ryken High School transfer, had 21 of his points by halftime. Dee Barnes added 17 on the night.
Although not a season high for Tull, King’s boys head coach Blaine Somerville said Tull and Barnes are always the leading scorers on any given night.
“They are my No. 1 and No. 2 scorers every night,” Somerville said. “Energy, effort and tempo. That’s all I really care about. I don’t care about all the other stuff and they did that tonight. Sometimes our offense sticks a little bit; I like the ball to move around until we have a good shot and then I want them to work on taking a better shot. A lot of times, we take a good shot but we don’t always take the best shot.
“I love playing Grace, because I know the coaching staff and I know a lot of the players, so the challenge here is it’s hard to play against guys you like. That’s the main challenge, just keep the boys focused.”
Grace’s Quintin Butler tried to contain Tull, but was unsuccessful and Barnes was left wide open on the perimeter as the two combined to hit five of the team’s six three-pointers.
Tull and Barnes, who are great friends, said they’re enjoying the chance to play ball together.
“If we start game off good and keep it going, we’ll get better results for sure,” Tull said. “It was a quick adjustment for me here [at KCA] and I love it here. I just need to continue to improve for the next level and always think ahead.”
The Eagles led 25-10 after the first quarter and 39-21 at halftime.
“As long as we keep hustling and keep the tempo up, we’re fine because a lot of teams can’t run with us,” Barnes added. “We just executed and played good defense and D’Angelo did a good job scoring for us. We’re pushing to really have a winning season.”
Grace was led by Rashid Ellis, who finished with 13 points and Kevin Saunders added nine.
“KCA has a very strong team this year, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to compete against them, Grace boys head coach Brian Deschaine said. “We had good contributions from Rashid Ellis around the basket and Kevin Saunders slashing to the basket. We’ll continue to work hard to get better and look forward to the challenge of playing them later in the season.”
King’s (13-0, 6-0 MISAL) is scheduled to host Prince George’s County’s Lanham Christian at 7 tonight, while Grace (7-8, 3-2) is slated to be at St. Andrew’s Episcopal of Montgomery County at 3 p.m. Saturday.
On the girls side of the action, King’s jumped out to a 28-11 halftime lead and never looked back. The Eagles were just two days removed from playing in the Rose Classic Prep Jam in Brooklyn, N.Y., defeating Fenway (Mass.) on Saturday and Midwood (N.Y.) on Sunday.
KCA was led Tuesday by freshman Jalen Douglas with 14 points and senior Asia Bonefont had 13 points. Emma Vezzosi, a steady presence on the court, also finished with 13 points. Ana Allen led Grace with 12 points.
King’s girls head coach Toyja Somerville said the team’s defensive effort impressed her.
“We came in wanting to work on our 3-2 jump defense and I thought we executed it pretty well,” Somerville said. “By losing Tanasia Miles [due to injury], our freshman have really stepped up in a big way for us.”
Douglas said it’s a rush to get the start as a freshman.
“It’s exhilarating,” she said. “It’s a good opportunity for me. Today we definitely played as a team and stuck together even when things were going wrong, we were able to pull it back together. We’ve been working on our layups in practice in case we got that fast break and needed easy buckets. Today we were able to put pressure on them and cause them to turn the ball over. We wanted to anticipate and steal the ball.”
Bonefont, who’s transitioned from playing post to now playing wing, agreed that it took defense to get the win and that included containing Allen.
“She’s [Allen] a very good player and it was challenging, but we did what we had to do,” Bonefont said. “I think we’re doing very well as a team, so we’ll pull through. It’s going to take energy, defense, offense, playing together as a team and when you mess up, getting the ball back and moving on to gets wins this week.”
King’s (11-5, 4-0) was scheduled to play Capitol Christian of Prince George’s County on Thursday and is slated to host Lanham Christian at 5 p.m. today. Grace (5-7, 1-4) was scheduled to play Takoma of Montgomery County on Thursday and next slated to play at Barrie of Montgomery County at 5 p.m. Tuesday.