Sean McBryan (@SeanMcBryan)
The notion that St. Joe’s Prep’s youth will catch up to them was temporarily dispelled Friday night.
Sophomore Olin Chamberlain Jr. scored 14 points and junior Tristen Guillouette had 11 as the young Hawks continued their strong start in the Philadelphia Catholic League with a 49-48 victory over Devon Prep in the Tide’s raucous home gym.
“I think it all trickles down to experience,” Chamberlain said of this year’s success. “Last season we were all underclassmen and for a lot of us it was the first time playing varsity basketball, first time playing in the PCL.
“Now we've got a few games under our belt. We know how to play with each other. We know how to win games now. In tough situations, we trust each other to pull out the win.”
St. Joe's Prep sophomore Olin Chamberlain scored 14 points in Friday's win over Devon Prep. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Junior Jalen Harper got a steal and fed junior Matt Gorman for the deciding layup with 47.3 seconds left as the Hawks (5-1, 11-2) gutted out the victory over the defending PIAA Class 3A champion Tide (2-4, 9-6) with their leading scorer and sophomore Jaron McKie held to only four points.
Harper announced he picked up an offer from Drexel after the game; Dragons head coach Zach Spiker was in attendance.
After falling behind by five at the end of the first quarter, Chamberlain Jr. — the great nephew of Wilt — provided the scoring spark in the second with seven points. Fellow sophomore Jordan Ellerbee hit back-to-back 3s in the quarter and it was tied 24-24 going into the break. Earlier this week in an overtime win over West Catholic, Ellerbe sent the game into overtime and hit a pair of big shots in OT.
Chamberlain Jr. has been more of a facilitator throughout the season and many times is the fifth or sixth scoring option behind McKie, Guillouette, Harper, Gorman, and Ellerbee. Friday was his night to change the game with his scoring; he had 10 points at halftime while Guillouette and Ellerbee each had six and McKie had two.
“The main thing I’m trying to do is make my teammates better and most of all just win the game,” Chamberlain said. “Shots weren’t falling early for my teammates; they were just falling for me today I guess. I tried to get to my spots and get open shots. But the most important thing to me is to just win the game.”
The focus was to get Guillouette more involved in the second half and he immediately got to the stripe, hitting one of two, to begin the third as the Hawks took their first lead at 25-24 since being up 3-0 to start the game.
“It was our focus to get him involved at the beginning of the game,” St. Joe’s Prep head coach Jason Harrigan said. “We had been shooting the ball pretty well, but I don’t think we shot the ball that well today.”
It’s just hard for any opponent to keep the big man under wraps for an entire game.
“It’s always going to be ‘Get Tristen the ball.’ He’s a dynamic player,” Harrigan added. “He passes the ball really well, scores really well. They didn’t have a big guy per se to slow him down so I thought that was a good opportunity there.”
Devon Prep 6-4 wing Zane Conlon made him work despite giving up about five inches, but the 6-9 Guillouette scored five of his 11 points in the third.
Shane Doyle then drilled back-to-back 3s for the Tide before Gorman answered with a deep ball for the Hawks. Guillouette’s drop-step pirouette tied the game at 30.
Lucas Orchard hit two 3s and Devon Prep went on a 10-4 run, but Gorman’s steal and assist to Chamberlain for a layup at the buzzer had the teams knotted 40-40 to conclude the third quarter.
The fourth quarter saw five lead changes. Gorman scored the first points on a nice cut to the basket, Orchard and Harper exchanged 3s, Conlon made a reverse layup, and McKie hit a midrange pull-up. St. Joe’s Prep held a 47-45 lead with 2:34 left.
Ty Mishock hit his only field goal of the game on Devon Prep’s next possession when he drilled a 3 to regain the lead for the Tide with 2:02 remaining. Chamberlain went down with an apparent shoulder injury on the play — leaving Mishock wide open — and the game was paused after the 3 went in.
“It wasn’t that serious of a dislocation,” Chamberlain said. “It’s happened before. It hurt a little bit but I wanted to be out there for my team.”
No worries for these suddenly veteran Hawks; Chamberlain returned, Harper grabbed the steal and fed Gorman for the deciding score on a layup with 47.3 left and St. Joe’s Prep held on for the one-point win. Mishock’s 3 and Conlon’s tip-in attempt narrowly missed at the buzzer for Devon Prep.
St. Joe’s Prep has won five PCL games in a row after a league-opening loss to Archbishop Carroll at the beginning of the month. The Hawks opened some eyes Monday when they beat West Catholic, which went 12-1 in the PCL last season. They last won the PCL in 2004.
“People say that we’re young but now it’s January,” Harrigan said. “It’s time to grow up. I think that’s what they’re doing. It helps to be winning while you’re doing it.”
It’s even more impressive that the Hawks went 2-11 in the PCL and finished 8-13 overall last season.
Devon Prep: 12 | 12 | 16 | 8 || 48
St. Joe’s Prep: 7 | 17 | 16 | 9 || 49
Devon Prep: 19-40 FG (9-22 3PT), 1-2 FT
St. Joe’s Prep: 21-38 FG (6-16 3PT), 1-2 FT
Devon Prep: Orchard 14, Holloway 11, Doyle 11, Conlon 5, Scarpulla 4, Mishock 3.
St. Joe’s Prep: Chamberlain Jr. 14, Guillouette 11, Harper 7, Gorman 7, Ellerbee 6, McKie 4.