SPRINGFIELD, Va. — The 2021 season was never going to be easy for the Bishop Walsh Spartans, but they haven’t let the tough schedule early on intimidate them. The Spartans have played four games in five days, two against members of the top four in the MaxPreps Top 25 rankings, and are off to an 0-4 start after a 56-39 loss to No. 4 Oak Hill Academy on Tuesday at The St. James National Interscholastic Basketball Conference Invitational.
Camryn Carter led Oak Hill with 18 points and Jalen Ricks added a double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds.
The Spartans kept it close throughout, trailing by five (13-8), seven (24-17) and nine (40-31) after the first three quarters before Oak Hill doubled up BW, 18-6, in the final period.
Ismail Habib led a spread-out offense by the Spartans, getting nine points on 3 of 6 shooting, 1 of 2 from beyond the arc, and 2 of 4 from the free-throw line. Jalen Miller added eight points and Ryan Prather tallied seven points and seven boards.
On Sunday, Miller, Habib and Travis Roberts all reached double figures, but it wasn’t enough as No. 9 Wasatch Academy overcame a 35-33 halftime deficit to take down the Spartans, 74-64.
Miller finished with 17 points, five rebounds and three assists, shooting 5 for 12 from the floor, including 2 for 2 from three-point land, and 5 for 8 from the free-throw line. Habib tacked on 15 points on 5 of 11 shooting, including a 3-pointer, and a perfected 4 of 4 from the charity stripe. Roberts was even more efficient, shooting 5 of 9, with 4 of 6 falling from beyond the arc, for 14 points while Malik Bowman fell just shy of a double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds.
Fousseyni Traore led Wasatch with 26 points on 10 of 18 from the floor and 6 of 7 from the foul line — he also had 11 rebounds and four blocks in a double-double performance. Nolan Hickman added 21 points and Rickie Isaacs had 14 for Wasatch, who outscored BW 22-15 in the third quarter and 19-14 in the fourth to claim a 10-point victory.
The Spartans fell to 0-2 on the year with a 45-37 loss to No. 20 La Lumiere on Saturday. Bowman led with 11 points off the bench and Miller tacked on 11 with four assists. Vincent Iwuchukwu led the Lakers with 19 points and Chisom Okpara added 12.
Bishop Walsh opened NIBC play with a 77-39 loss to No. 1 Montverde, who has now won 37 games in a row dating back to last season, on Friday. Roberts led BW with nine points and Miller, Habib and Mady Traore had six apiece. Jalen Duren, the No. 2 ranked junior by ESPN, led the nation’s top team with 23 points and 14 rebounds.
The Spartans will have a few days of rest before play picks back up in Springfield — Bishop Walsh plays Hamilton Heights on Friday, 1:45 p.m., and Legacy Early College on Sunday, 1:30 p.m.