The defending Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Associatoin “A" Conference and Baltimore Catholic League champions are off to another hot start at 8-2. But the chemistry building is far from complete.
"Sometimes when you have a team and you start the season you're ready to jump on the beltway and start playing," said Mount St. Joseph Head Coach Pat Clatchey. "I think, with this team, we need to drive around the block a few times."
The Mount St. Joseph Gaels are young and trying to replace the losses of key pieces Jaden Robinson, Nigel Jackson and Darryl Morsell. Morsell is now with the University of Maryland Terrapins.
This year Joe’s is led by power forward Jalen Smith, who will be following in his buddy’s footsteps next year. The senior four-star recruit committed to Maryland over the summer.
"My other top schools were either Villanova and University of Virginia. And then there was Maryland. As a hometown school they had the most pull on me. It was close to home for my parents. It made it an easier drive. Then they also got my former teammate, Darryl," said Smith.
"He has proven that he is legitimately one of the best players in the country and he's off to a great start," said Clatchey about Smith.
Next up for the Gaels they visit Catonsville on Saturday for a game that's about a little bit more than just basketball. The two teams are raising money for the Horch family and 12-year-old Keely Horch, who is paralyzed after suffering a stroke.
"The money from the gate and donations go to help out some people who are less fortunate," said Clatchey.
"It's a great opportunity for us to go out there and give the fans a show. But also to help and give back to the community that helped us," said Joe's guard James Bishop.
"It's very special. It's a lot bigger than basketball," added Smith.
Tip-off Saturday at Catonsville is set for 2pm.