It was barely a few minutes into the second quarter when the fan in the all-black getup began his bleacher coaching.
“He is a shooter! Don't leave the shooter!” he pleaded over and over again.
But there would be no stopping St. Andrew's Episcopal's (3-0) Marcus Adkinson on Monday night at Our Lady of Good Counsel's Kane Center for Robert Churchwell's coaching debut with the Falcons. The junior guard tossed in six threes en route to a game-high 29 points, and his teammates poured in four more in the 60-45 rout against Good Counsel (0-1). To the best of coach Kevin Jones' memory, the win marked the Lions' first-ever victory over a Washington Catholic Athletic Conference school, and they will get a chance at a second on Wednesday with Archbishop Carroll.
“The WCAC has some good basketball programs and that's why we're scheduling them,” said Jones, who led St. Andrew's to its most wins in nearly two decades last year with 15. “We want to play good teams, teams that we think are better than us so yeah, just proud of our guys, they really stepped up to the challenge.”
Adkinson and backcourt partner, Cedric McFadden, combined for three more points than Good Counsel's entire team, and they did so with crushing efficiency. It took just 19 shots for Adkinson to run his point total up to 29, finishing 6-of-11 from deep, while McFadden (19 points), a senior, shot just shy of 50 percent, going 6-of-14 and added a pair of threes to Adkinson's six.
“I can drive but it's easy to check me if I can't shoot,” said McFadden, who estimated he hoisted up around 150 shots a day over the off-season to improve his jumper. “I had to work hard this summer on my jump shot.”
With that backcourt, Jones wasn't shy in saying that his team would be an up-tempo, three-point slinging one this year. Half of the Lions' made field goals came beyond the arc, shooting at a 50 percent clip, while the percentage from inside dipped to below 40, a nod to their lack of height and a true inside presence. To wit, every single one of their 15 third-quarter points came off of a three.
“We just drive and find the open guy,” Adkinson said. “We work hard for it, starting from the summer all the way up.”
And there was plenty to be said about their defense, too. The overwhelming speed led to 10 steals — five for Adkinson, three for McFadden — which begat points the other way. Good Counsel's only field goal in the fourth quarter came with less than a minute remaining, the game already well out of hand, and the Falcons managed just three in the second quarter.
“That's what we're going to bring this year,” Jones said. “Last year we were a bit more of an offensive team and this year we're defense. We're playing defense in the half court, we're playing defense full court, we're going to use that to play our offense.”
Afterwards, Churchwell was quite candid in summing up his team's opening performance.
“Well,” he began, “we didn't play good defense, we didn't play good offense, we did not communicate. We didn't play well at all. We got a whole lot to work on, a whole lot to work on.”
St. Andrew's 60, Good Counsel 45
St. Andrew's 13 17 15 15 — 60
Good Counsel 9 6 19 11 — 45
St. Andrew's (3-0, 0-0): Marcus Adkinson 29; Cedric McFadden 19; Gheorge Muresan 4; Myles Law 4; Tyler Stewart 3; Jacob White 1.
Good Counsel (0-1, 0-0): Curtis Williams 22; Shane Eberle 8; Nick Gittings 6; Ayinole Ely 3; Ian Krishnan 2; Kyle Turner 2; Erron Onyekwere 2.