25-game winning streak ends for Smyrna at Slam Dunk to the Beach

 

Smyrna’s Jaymeir Garnett, left, and Nalik Veasley, right, put pressure on Nazeron Reid of Roselle Catholic at the Slam Dunk to the Beach Tournament held at Cape Henlopen High School on Thursday.
(Special to the Delaware State News/Chuck Snyder)

LEWES — Smyrna High saw something few boys’ basketball teams in Delaware have a chance to see on Thursday afternoon.

The Eagles had their shot against a nationally ranked team and a handful of top recruits.

No. 20 Roselle Catholic out of New Jersey proved to be too much for the Eagles. Smyrna suffered an 87-69 defeat in its final game of the Slam Dunk to the Beach tournament, hosted by Cape Henlopen.

It marked the end of a 25-game winning streak for Smyrna — the defending Delaware state champions.

Despite that streak, Smyrna knew it was in for one of the toughest tasks it will see. Roselle Catholic has three recruits ranked by ESPN and another already committed to play Division I basketball.

“Nobody gave us a shot but I thought we went out there and played hard,” said Smyrna senior shooting guard Caleb Matthews. “Obviously we didn’t shoot the ball great, we had to come out and play a pretty flawless game to beat them, but I thought we played hard. The shots didn’t fall and some things didn’t go our way.”

Matthews and junior Jaymeir Garnett ended as Smyrna’s leading scorers with 19 points apiece. Garnett was one of two Smyrna players with a double-double as he recorded 19 points and 12 rebounds.

Junior Nalik Veasley also had a double-double with 14 points on a 5-of-6 shooting performance from the floor to go along with 10 rebounds.

Garnett and Veasley’s performances inside were done trying to contain Roselle Catholic’s star Naz Reid. Reid (6-foot-11) is committed to Louisiana State and is considered the 18th best prospect in the senior class according to ESPN.

“I knew in my head I had to still fight and compete no matter what,” Garnett said. “No matter how much of a mismatch it was, no matter what their size is, all I know is to compete no matter what level it is.”

“It’s a Division I level and high competition,” Garnett added. “We stayed positive and competed. At the end of the end, it’s a good experience. No regrets.”

Reid finished with a double-double of his own, scoring 16 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.


Delaware Gov. John Carney (center in blue) visited the Slam Dunk to the Beach as Smyrna High School played Roselle Catholic from New Jersey on Thursday. The Eagles fought hard but were out-sized by Roselle Catholic. (Special to the Delaware State News/Chuck Snyder)

Roselle Catholic was also led by junior Kahlil Whitney who was the game’s top-scorer with 26 points and went 10-of-15 from the floor. Whitney is the 38th ranked player in his class by ESPN.

Ithiel Horton, who is committed to Delaware, scored 13 points for Roselle Catholic.

Matthews said dealing with Roselle Catholic’s height was the hardest part of the game.

“Their size from one through five, you could tell each guy was a couple inches taller and a couple pounds heavier,” Matthews said.

Senior point guard Greg Bloodsworth was the only other Smyrna player in double figures with 13 points.

“We had to play a mistake-free game and even then we needed certain shots to fall,” said Smyrna coach Andrew Mears. “With that being said, we were down 14 points at half and in the fourth quarter it was still a 14-point game. Our guys had tremendous fight and at no point were they intimidated or scared. They wanted to go out there, enjoy the moment and leave it all out there.”

 

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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