Garnett, Matthews pace Smyrna to Slam Dunk win

LEWES — Jaymeir Garnett got himself going and Caleb Matthews got himself a triple-double.

The Smyrna High boys’ basketball team cruised to a 86-53 victory over Howard in the opening game of the Slam Dunk to the Beach tournament on Wednesday afternoon, hosted by Cape Henlopen High. Smyrna remained unbeaten and improved to 7-0 overall.

Garnett, a junior, scored a game-high 30 points in the victory. Matthews, a senior, followed with 24 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds.

Garnett was Smyrna’s second-leading scorer a year ago but had not broke the 20-point barrier in any of Smyrna’s previous six games this year. Before Wednesday his high this season was 17.

“If you feed him early, he gets hot,” Matthews said. “We fed him and he was hot so we kept feeding him. We have a good chemistry together.”

Garnett was an efficient 12-of-21 from the floor including a 2-for-3 mark on three-pointers. He was one rebound short of a double-double with nine and also contributed five assists.

It was clear how hot he was in the third quarter when he had 11 points, including a pull-up three-pointer just before the buzzer sounded from way beyond the arc.

Garnett said he does not have any college scholarship offers yet so he was excited for the chance to play in front of college scouts at the showcase tournament, which is entering its fourth year since it restarted.

“I know there were a lot of scouts and a lot of people watching here,” he said. “I’ve been patiently waiting to show what I can do.”

It was Smyrna’s first win at Slam Dunk to the Beach. The Eagles debuted in the tournament last year, but dropped both their games, the only two contests they lost all season.

“We were excited to get out there and redeem ourselves,” Matthews said. “We didn’t have the best performances last year.

Greg Bloodsworth also finished in double figures for Smyrna with 10 points. Nahshon Sylvester and Nalik Veasley added seven points apiece for the Eagles who jumped out to a 7-0 advantage and never trailed.

“We played our brand of basketball,” said Smyrna coach Andrew Mears. “Howard can run up and down but we controlled possession and took care of the basketball. When both Caleb and Jaymeir get rolling, it’s a tough matchup for the other teams. It’s a credit to them. I’d love to say it’s coaching but they’re just unselfish.”

Smyrna’s second matchup in the tournament will be much tougher.

The Eagles play Roselle Catholic of New Jersey today at 2 p.m. Roselle Catholic is ranked No. 20 in the nation and four three-nationally ranked playes in the respective recruiting classes.

Roselle Catholic is led by Nazreon Reid, a 6-foo-11 commit to Louisiana State and ranked 18th in the senior recruiting class. Senior Khalil Whitney is No. 38 among juniors while point guard Josh Pierre-Louis is the No. 31 point guard in the junior class.

Rosselle Catholic also has Ithiel Horton who is committed to Delaware.

Despite all these accolades, Mears does not think his Smyrna squad will be intimidated.

“The thing we tell our kids is that they’re high school players too,” Mears said. “You just see them on Youtube a little bit more. But they’re in high school just like us.”


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