Saint Stephen's & St. Agnes' Xavier Lipscomb (20 points) prepares to feed the ball into Charles Thompson (10 points).

SSSA defeats Episcopal for second time this season

After losing big to conference rival St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes 89-54 in December, Episcopal looked to get a redemption win at home in a rematch on Tuesday night. Although the Maroon put up a much better fight this time around, St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes pulled out a gritty and impressive 71-62 road win.

Episcopal trailed at halftime 40-26, but came out firing in the third quarter with a quick three ball from sophomore Darius Johnson and a layup from junior Tymu Chenery, which caused an early timeout from Saints head coach Mike Jones. But that didn’t stop the Maroon’s run, as they cut the lead down to six to start the fourth.

Episcopal's Jack Fitzpatrick drains a three in front of the visiting SSSA fans.
Episcopal’s Jack Fitzpatrick drains a three in front of the visiting SSSA fans.

Despite this comeback effort, St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes was able to weather the storm.

“We did a really good job of keeping our composure, we knew they were going to make a run. They’re a very good team with very good guards, but we executed well down the stretch,” said Coach Jones.

They did indeed. The Saints (2-0, 11-2) were led by junior point guard Xavier Lipscomb, who finished with 20 points and was phenomenal handling the ball all night. “He’s a big-time guard, in my opinion one of the best guards in this area,” Jones said. “Down the stretch, I’m very comfortable with him making plays, attacking the basket, and making the right reads.”

SSSA Coach Mike Jones puts Lipscomb with the best guards in the region.
SSSA Coach Mike Jones puts Lipscomb with the best guards in the region.

Senior Charles Thompson was also a big contributor for the Saints, as he finished with 10 points, including a breakaway dunk late in the fourth quarter.

Episcopal (0-1, 5-5) was led by the Johnson brothers, Xavier and Darius. Xavier, a senior and George Mason commit, had 14 points, 10 of which were from the free throw line. And Darius finished with 15 points, including four threes.

The Saints attempt to trap Episcopal's Darius Johnson (15 points).
The Saints attempt to trap Episcopal’s Darius Johnson (15 points).

The Maroon battled hard, as they cut the lead to just two at 62-60 after a Darius Johnson three-ball with a little under four minutes left in the fourth. But after turning the ball over with a chance to tie in the final two minutes, St. Stephen’s St. Agnes hit several clutch free throws to put the game on ice.

“I was impressed with what we did defensively. We got some key stops in the last two minutes. We’re trying to win a championship, and to do that we have to set the tone on the defensive end,” said Jones.

After a tough road win like this one, St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes certainly looks like a championship-caliber team.

–Mark LeDuc