Smyrna downs St. Georges at Rumble by the River

Brandon Smith scored 21 points for Smyrna on Saturday.

MIDDLETOWN — Andrew Mears preached all week to his Smyrna High boys’ basketball team — don’t be fooled by St. Georges Tech’s record.

The Smyrna coach did not want his Eagles thinking all they had to do was show up to win. They were still facing a program who has been to numerous state semifinals in the last several seasons.

The Eagles took care of business on Saturday.

Brandon Smith netted a game-high 21 points to lead Smyrna to a 72-57 victory over the Hawks in the final game of the Rumble by the River showcase, hosted by St. Georges.

Smyrna improved to 3-2 on the season while the Hawks dropped to 0-5 overall.

“I had to remind our guys that St. Georges is better than their record,” Mears said. “They’ve played some really tough teams. We didn’t want to take them lightly for sure. But also we wanted to get back in the win-column so I’m glad our guys were able to slug through that thing and get a win.”

Smyrna led 33-27 at halftime and quickly stretched that lead to double digits after a 6-0 run.

Smith scored back-to-back layups on the second and third possessions of the third quarter. Olumuyiwa Salako added another layup to make it a 41-27 lead for Smyrna.

“I felt like it was a must-win,” Smith said. “I thought we came out slow a little but we finished strong. We had to come out and play our A-game because any team can lose on any night.”

The closest St. Georges was able to get was within 60-52 in the fourth quarter.

Izaiah Credle sealed it with a deep three-pointer, the Eagles’ only three of the day, to push Smyrna ahead 63-52. St. Georges only scored two more times in the contest.

Smyrna bounced back after a loss to Caravel during the week. The Eagles will have a pair of games at the Governors’ Challenge in Salisbury, Md. over break, beginning with a 3:15 p.m. matchup against Walt Whitman (Md.) on Friday, Dec. 27 at Wicomico High in Maryland.

So Mears was pleased to improve to 3-2 headed into winter break.

“Any win you’ll take but to get back over .500 is nice,” Mears said. “Especially against a program that has a lot of history and a lot of success.”

Smith made 10 field goals and was 1-of-1 from the free-throw line for his 21 points. Three other players also finished in double figures, led by Nahshon Sylvester’s 13 points.

Salako contributed 12 points whole Robert Wiley added 10. Credle followed with a nine-point performance.

Kevin Paden paced St. Georges with 16 points.