A Blue Out Blowout!

Colonels Men’s Basketball Defeat Romans 68-46


Photo credit: Sam Forst

Men’s basketball celebrates their win against Latin at DePaul’s Sullivan Athletic Center.

On Friday January 27th  in “The Blue Out” at McGrath-Phillips arena on the DePaul University campus, the Colonels buried the Romans under an avalanche of threes, defeating them 68-46. The Colonels took an early lead and never looked back, dominating on both sides of the ball. Parker has now beaten Latin twice this season, sweeping the season series, and the contest on Friday left no doubt who is the better team.

In the first quarter, the Colonels held the Romans to under 10 points by playing stifling defense, by recording three blocks and two steals. The defense was led by Owen Stepan who had two blocks in the first quarter alone. Stepan finished the night with two steals and three blocks. Parker outscored Latin 17-8 in quarter number one. 

In the second, the Colonels exploded offensively, shooting three after three. Parker shot 75% from beyond the arc in the second quarter, with threes coming from Payton Pitts, Caleb David, and Owen Stepan. Stepan in particular showed off his ability to shoot the long ball as he went 2-2 when shooting triples in the first half. Historically, Stepan has been a more defensively focused player, but on Friday, he showed his ability to be an incredibly effective scorer. After the game, Stepan was asked about what made him so comfortable when it came to shooting the basketball. “Honestly, I think it came from the defensive end, after I gained a little bit of momentum from a few blocks,” said Stepan. “The ball happened to go in the hoop once, and then I was like let me shoot it again, and it went in!” 

Stepan scored ten points on the night with nine coming from beyond the arc, and he was perfect from three. At the half, the Colonels led the Romans by thirteen, 32-19. 

The biggest story of the night however, was Payton Pitts scoring the 1000th point of his high school career. At the 1:15 mark of the second quarter, teammate and fellow senior Evan Sato fed Pitts who pulled up from way beyond the arc, knocking down the triple to get him over the threshold. At the next stoppage of play, Pitts received recognition from the in-stadium announcer, a standing ovation, and the numbers 1-0-0-0 in huge font, in the hands of the Parker student body. When asked about what he was feeling and what was going through his mind at that moment, the senior co-captain said, “It’s been something I’ve been looking forward to for a while. I didn’t have a sophomore season so it was a little harder to get.” 

The significance of this moment wasn’t lost on anyone, as Pitts was able to achieve this milestone in his final regular season game against his team’s biggest rival. In discussions with Colonel’s head coach Jarrick McGee after the game, he mentioned how proud he was of Payton, and how incredible it was that he was able to reach this milestone, not to mention reaching it in the “Blue Out.” Pitts finished the night with twenty points, five assists, two blocks, three rebounds, and he shot 56% from the floor.

To start the second half, the Colonels continued to dominate offensively, and shoot well from beyond the arc. On the night, Parker shot 50% from the floor and 30% from three. Parker also continued to play stellar defense in the second half, headlined by Owen Stepan and Gray Joseph. Joseph showed his defensive prowess in the final two quarters of the game, drawing charges on back to back Latin possessions, and playing stellar on and off the ball defense. Joseph finished the night with five rebounds and a steal, as well as those two drawn charges. The little things are what separates good teams from great teams, and Parker has a player in Joseph that does those little things. When asked about how he felt stepping into the role of his team’s so-called “scrapper,” Joseph said, “I love it. I just know that I gotta play hard for my boys.”

In the fourth quarter, it was just more of the same. The Colonels continued to dominate on both sides of the ball, as Latin struggled all night both offensively and defensively. The Romans missed fifteen free throws on the night shooting just 40% from the line. Additionally, Latin’s inability to stop Parker’s shooters from getting clean looks proved to be their undoing. After the game, Roman’s head coach Aubrey DeNard spoke out about his team’s struggles. “We missed free throws, and if we make those free throws we stop the runs. But we missed them so the runs kept going.”

Even though it was a very tough night for the Romans, junior Ryan Mbouombuou had an excellent outing, leading the Romans with nineteen points and gathering nine rebounds. 

In the postgame, when asked what was next for his team, and how they can continue their success moving forward, Caleb David said, “Next is just winning every game. We got a big game against Northridge this week that we gotta win, and if we beat Northridge that will give us a good chance to win the ISL [sic], and for us, that would be big. We’d get our name up there.”

David finished the night as the Colonel’s leading scorer with 22 points. He also picked up five assists, six rebounds, and four steals.

The Colonel’s victory was buoyed offensively by significant contributions from sophomore Miles Johnson who had six points and previously mentioned Evan Sato who had seven points, shooting 100% from three. Defensively, the Colonels got great support from junior Calan Scherer, and senior Lucas Daskal.

The Colonels are currently sitting in second place in the ISl and are one game out of first, with a conference record of 8-1, and an overall record of 15-8. The Romans are in fifth place in the ISL with a conference record of 4-5, and an overall record of 14-12.