No. 5 Cougars knock off No. 3 Gaels by 10

by James Peters

Deon Perry is the basketball equivalent of the perfect dual-threat quarterback. Instead of masterfully executing the Run-Pass-Option (RPO), the senior guard flawlessly runs the “DPD,” as in drive, pull up, and dish.

Facing a long and athletic Mount St. Joseph’s team Tuesday evening in Essex, Perry displayed all of those skills as did his equally quick backcourt mates Andrew Dixon and Tjay Beckles to power the fifth-ranked Cougars to a 65-56 home victory over the No. 3 Gaels in a Baltimore Catholic League contest.

Deon Perry scored 16 points, including several in clutch moments, to help No. 5 Mount Carmel top No. 3 Mount St. Joseph, 66-56, on Tuesday.

Perry paced four Mount Carmel players in double figures with 18 points on a combination of dribble drives to the basket, pull-up jumpers or runners in and around the free throw lane, and eight of nine shooting from the free throw line.

He also helped big men Allen Mordi and Luke Bambgboye score 11 points each with penetrating drives that finished with nifty dishes and uncontested layups. Perry’s efforts helped Mount Carmel improve to 12-1 overall and 3-1 in BCL play.

“I think it was based on practice; how we prepared for the game throughout the week,” said Perry, who will play for Loyola University next season.. “It took a lot of time during the week to go over their plays. We just played hard. We knew the game would come down, to who had the better defensive play and who played the hardest throughout the game.”

Perry’s sidekicks in the backcourt, Dixon and Beckles, combined for 19 points in the win. Dixon, like Perry, helped set up Mordi and Bambgboye for additional comfortable looks inside the paint while Beckles knocked down a pair of 3-pointers for 11 points.

The second of those triples came from the deep left wing, and it stemmed a quick 7-2 run by the Gaels (10-3, 3-2 BCL) to start the fourth quarter that trimmed a 47-36 disadvantage to six points with 6 minutes, 27 seconds left in the game.

“Our point guard, he’s really experienced, tough, quick,” said Cougars coach Trevor Quinn of Perry. “Then we have a lot of depth, so we feel like we can kind of play in waves and all of the guys are more than capable of putting the ball on the ground, attacking the basket and making plays for others.”

Perry and Dixon did just that in the final minutes of the contest as Dixon found Bambgboye for a layup for a 60-54 lead with around three minutes to play and Perry drove and dished to Mordi for a layup and a 62-56 advantage shortly thereafter. Dixon then helped seal the victory with a runner in the lane with under a minute to play for an eight-point advantage.

“They’re a good team: a lot of good talent (and) a lot of good athletes,” Gaels coach Pat Clatchey said. “Deon’s one of the better players in the league, and he’s a hard guy to stay in front of. He got into the lane, he scored, he got to the line. He’s a good player.”

Led by versatile junior forward Amani Hansberry’s six straight points, the Gaels got off to a fast start after the opening whistle, but a pair of pull-up jumpers and two free throws by Perry and a hustle rebound, and layup by Omarion Reid gave the Cougars a 12-10 lead after one quarter of play.

Mount Carmel, despite being torched for 15 first half points by Hansberry (game-high 23 points and 10 rebounds), extended that lead to 10 points, 32-22, by halftime behind seven points from Beckles on a pair of runners and a late 3-pointer from the right baseline, and a driving layup and two free throws as the result of another dribble drive from Dixon.

Perry supplied Mt. Carmel’s final six points of the third quarter on a jumper, a driving layup and two free throws to help push his team’s advantage to 11 points heading into the final frame. Hansberry and the smooth-shooting wing Bryson Tucker (15 points) combined for 13 fourth-quarter points to get as close as four points twice before the back-to-back assists from Dixon and Perry and Dixon’s runner in the lane put the game out of reach.

“We believed when this team came together, that we had a good team,” Quinn said. “We’re 12-1 now. We’re just trying to build for the next one.”

No. 5 Our Lady of Mount Carmel 65, No. 3 Mount St. Joseph 56

Mount St. Joseph – Hansberry 23, Tucker 15, Valentine 8, Clark 6, Mess 4. Totals 21 11-16 56.

Mount Carmel – Perry 16, Beckles 11, Bomgboye 11, Mordi 11, Dixon 10, Reid 4, Kalu 2. Totals 22 19-28 65.

Mount St. Joseph 10 12 14 20 – 56

Mount Carmel 12 20 15 18 – 6