Smyrna starts hot but cools off in 52-49 loss at Slam Dunk to the Beach

LEWES — Against an unfamiliar opponent, Smyrna High started out hot.

But adjustments were made and the Eagles couldn’t find a way to reignite their scoring touch.

Bishop McNamara of Maryland used a dominant second quarter to take the lead and held off Smyrna 52-49 in the first game of the three-day Slam Dunk to the Beach tournament at Cape Henlopen High on Tuesday afternoon.

“They started to figure us out early in the second quarter,” said Smyrna junior guard Caleb Matthews. “We started to force some shots and I think we could have played better down the stretch. They adjusted well and I don’t think we made the adjustment to move the ball very well.”

Bishop McNamara outscored Smyrna 22-9 in the second quarter. Smyrna had led by as much as nine in the first quarter but only shot 3-of-14 from the floor in the second.

“We got decent shots early but we fell in love with the jumper,” said Smyrna coach Andrew Mears. “When that doesn’t go in, they’re out and running. We got away from working the ball inside which is who we are. We want to work the ball inside and have an inside-out game and I think we got away from that.”

Smyrna did have a late chance to tie the game after Bishop McNamara missed a free throw with 19 seconds left.

D’ymere Richardson missed a tying three-pointer from the left corner but the Eagles were able to grab the rebound. After not being able to find an open look from three, Mears called timeout with 2.9 seconds left on the clock.

Matthews was the inbounder and lobbed a soft pass into Jaymeir Garnett near the left corner. Matthews tried to curl behind Garnett to receive the ball for another three-point attempt but fumbled the exchange and the ball fell out of bounds.

“I just bobbled the ball and dropped it,” Matthews said.

With .8 seconds remaining, all Bishop McNamara had to do was throw the ball into the frontcourt to run out the clock.

Matthews and Garnett were the Eagles’ leading scorers with 13 apiece. Richardson chipped in 12 while Zubi Nwankwo netted eight points on 4-for-4 shooting.

Bishop McNamara’s Garrett Kirkland was the game’s top scorer with 21 points. He buried five three-pointers, three of which came during the decisive second quarter.

Smyrna was out-rebounded 28-22 in the contest.

“It started there and it just kind of continued throughout the game,” Mears said. “We were giving them too many second shot opportunities. To their credit, they work hard on the boards. We had a hot start, they settled in and it was competitive until the very end.”

Smyrna has one more game left in the tournament. The Eagles play Sanford School at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday.


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