Twelve days removed from their last game, a seven-point loss to powerful Georgetown Prep, the Episcopal boys basketball team wanted a shot at someone else. A Valentine’s Day matinee with cross-town rivals St. Stephen’s / St. Agnes turned out to be just the tonic they needed.
Behind a combined 58 points from their Big Three senior David Kagulu-Kalema, junior Sadiq Abubakar and sophomore Arnaud Adala-Moto the host Maroon feasted on the less-polished Saints for a 73-43 win.
The sour taste that comes with sitting on two straight losses for close to a fortnight? Gone.
“After almost two weeks of not playing anybody and being snowed in, that was a good win,” said Kagulu-Kalema, who finished with 16 points. “We were ready to just play someone else and just get after it.”
When the teams first met late last month, it was Kagulu-Kalema’s two free throws with less than 20 seconds left that sealed the one-point victory. This time around, it was a dominating first half from Abubakar and a solid all-around showing by Adala-Moto that did the trick.
Abubakar led all scorers with 28 points including 16 of the Maroon’s 31 first-half points while the 6-foot-5 Adala-Moto added 14 points to go along with 11 rebounds and three blocks.
Leading by 11 after two periods, the Maroon came out of halftime with a stylish 17-6 run that was all Abubakar and Adala-Moto. The sophomore big man capped the effort with a two-handed dunk on a nifty back-door feed from Kagulu-Kalema with 2 minutes 30 seconds left in the third quarter.
“That was a play we’d been trying to run the whole game, but it kind of got screwed up along the way,” Kagulu-Kalema said. “That time, as soon as he looked at me, I knew he was going back-door.”
The second-half burst and the Big Three proved too much for a rusty Saints team that had practiced just once since their last game on February 4, according to head coach Kevin McLinton.
“All three pose different challenges for you and they’re three different players, so what you have to do is match that,” McLinton said. “The first game we did a good job but today, obviously, we didn’t.”
With the win, the Maroon (11-5) maintained third place in the Interstate Athletic Conference standings ahead of the fourth-placed Saints (10-10). The conference tournament begins Saturday night.
Episcopal (12-19-24-1973) Abubakar 28, Kagulu-Kalema 16, Adala-Moto 14, Deriggs 8, Gibbons 5, Jones 2.
St. Stephen’s / St. Agnes (8-12-13-1043) Lindsey 10, Pastorino 9, Hamilton 8, Ryan 6, Williams 4, Bond 3, Tillman 2, Shields 1.