As No. 7 Curie works to find a new voice in the post-Cliff Alexander era, Josh Stamps has been a constant. He fuses the past and present. He is a known commodity, the one to bank on.
The 6-5 senior wing drilled six 3-pointers and scored 15 of his game-high 24 points in the first half as the Condors showcased a devastating perimeter game with a strong influx of young talent in smashing host Westinghouse 82-57 on Saturday.
Stamps drilled back-to-back 3-pointers during a first-quarter blitz as Curie (4-1) built an early 24-14 advantage. Junior Devin Gage (eight points) came off the bench as a dynamic counterpoint in drilling his own 3-pointer and scoring seven quick points.
Stamps scored 11 points in the first quarter. His shooting forced Westinghouse to tighten up its defense, and that just opened up other avenues of his game. Stamps also recorded five rebounds and four steals.
“I was able to hit a couple of shots, and then they had to come out and start guarding me on the wing and that let me go out and do some other things like drive to the basket and create for others,” Stamps said.
On a talented though largely inexperienced team, Stamps is the facilitator. “I have to step up because we don’t have Cliff or my brother Joe like the last couple of years,” he said. “With Cliff we just threw it into him and he was double or triple teamed and that opened up my game.
“I have to handle it more and create my shot off the dribble.”
Curie also unveiled another emerging star in athletic 6-3 sophomore point guard Elijah Joiner. He scored 18 of his career-high 22 points as Curie turned the game into a rout, building on the 41-28 lead at the break. Stamps’ fourth 3-pointer, a bomb from the right wing in the closing seconds, punctuated his first-half run.
Joiner scored 11 points in the third quarter on a variety of drives and pull-up jumpers. “My coach, Mike Oliver, just told me to be aggressive with the ball,” Joiner said. “They were turning their heads [defensively] and I was able to get into the gaps.”
Ten different Curie players scored. The Condors hit nine 3-pointers. Another standout sophomore, 6-5 Terry Smith Jr., contributed 10 points and seven rebounds for the Condors.
Westinghouse (5-5) played well in spurts behind the young combination of Ayo Dosunmu (16 points, four rebounds, four steals) and Kube Dosunmu (14 points, three 3-pointers, four assists).
Curie’s depth and the outside game of Stamps combined with the drive-and-kick game of Joiner proved too difficult to contain for the Warriors. Josh Roberts added nine points and Coreyon Rushin contributed seven points.
Curie coach Mike Oliver likes the early developments and how quickly the team has developed around the leadership of Stamps. “This is only our fifth game, and we’re a young team, mostly sophomores,” he said.
“I’m really happy with how far we’ve come. I thought at this point, early in the season, we’d be struggling to find our identity. Our identity is going to be pressure defense and strong guard play. If Stamps continues to score like this, we’re going to open some eyes and surprise some people.”
After two separate shoving incidents, the game was called with 1:04 to play