by: Dr. Richard Midcap
McHENRY – Four generations of family members made the trek from Dumfries, Va. to see Ely Camp begin his collegiate basketball career. Camp responded with an MVP performance, leading the Garrett College men's basketball team to a pair of wins in the McDonald's Basketball Tip-off Tournament.
"My mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, four sisters, one brother, and my grandfather were all here," said Camp, who didn't let family expectations make him nervous. Camp came off the bench to score a game-high 29 points in Friday's season-opening, 112-52 romp over Butler County Community College and added 15 more in a reserve role Saturday afternoon as GC pulled away from CCAC-Allegheny, 76-63.
"Ely gives us that great boost of speed and energy off the bench," said Garrett head coach Dennis Gibson, who has only three players back from last year's 24-6 squad. "He definitely gives us a different look."
"I feel comfortable around my teammates," Camp said of his seemingly easy transition to the college game. "My teammates make it really easy, not only with basketball but with school and life. It's a good group."
Two of Camp's backcourt brethren, Ariel Watson and Ray Hinton, played featured roles at a critical juncture of Saturday's win over CCAC-Allegheny. Garrett opened the second half with a 12-0 run, the final eight points by Hinton. Watson, meanwhile, started the spurt with a driving layup and assisted on a pair of Hinton's hoops as the Lakers built a 49-26 lead.
"I thought Ariel was really good for us in both games," said Gibson of Watson, who finished with 10 points and 9 rebounds Saturday while joining Camp on the all-tournament team. "Our starters played really good defense in that run to start the second half and Ariel was a catalyst. He's really tough to guard."
The 12-0 run put Garrett in command after CCAC-Allegheny stayed within contact of the Lakers through most of the first half.
"At halftime, we said we were going to do the little things in the second half – pay attention to details, capitalize on our opportunities and share the ball," said Hinton, who scored all of his points during that 12-0 surge while finishing with 6 assists.
Garrett built an early 13-5 lead as Simun Kovac (19 points, 11 rebounds) scored nine points in the first 5:13, including a 3-pointer from the top of the key to finish the spurt. Blake Carpenter buried a 3-pointer to pull CCAC within 13-8, but Camp's transition layup capped a 6-0 run that stretched the Lakers' lead to 19-8.
Kazjur Redwood's 3-pointer from the corner pulled CCAC within 25-16, but a Flagrant 1 foul on Carpenter allowed Garrett to pull off a four-point possession. David Walls hit both free throws after the Carpenter foul and Kovac – who had 13 points at the break – put in an offensive rebound on the ensuing possession for a 29-16 cushion.
While happy to be 2-0, Gibson had other reasons to be pleased about playing two games in two days.
"You're playing this time of year to see what you really need to work on," said Gibson, who likes the way his squad is interacting with one another. "I'm really proud of our team for their togetherness. They seem to be very connected."
Garrett 112, Butler CCC 52
McHENRY – Ely Camp scored a game-high 29 points Friday night as the Lakers overwhelmed Butler County in Garrett College's first game of the season.
Camp scored 17 second-half points as Garrett exploded for 62 points after the break. The Lakers already had a 50-26 lead at intermission as Ariel Watson (16 points) and Jermaine Samuel (13 points) combined for 19 in the first half.
Simun Kovac (10 points) was the fourth Laker in double figures. Liutauras Repsys and Ray Hinton each contributed 9 points while Cross Steplowski and David Walls chipped in 8 apiece. Marin Lisica, Malik Tilman and Nelson Richardson each scored 4 points as all 11 Lakers scored.
Joel Stutz and Brendon Record led Butler with 14 and 12 points, respectively, but no other Pioneer cracked double digits.
Notes: Allegany College of Maryland (4-0) also rolled to easy wins over Butler County and CCAC-Allegheny in the tournament.
The Lakers take on the visiting Alderson Broaddus University junior varsity squad Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. before hosting the David K. Martin Classic November 17-18.