Three games, three different leading scorers.
Three victories, too.
"Everybody on this team can score," Rancocas Valley senior forward Darnell St. Clair said after the visiting Red Devils' 63-55 victory over Highland in a non-league boys' basketball game Friday night.
Everybody can score. Everybody must defend.
"Defense is No. 1," St. Clair said. "Our offense comes from our defense."
St. Clair scored 12 of his 15 points in the second half and junior guard Jayvon Laster made four three-pointers on his way to 18 points for Rancocas Valley (3-0), the No. 8 team in the Inquirer Top 25.
The Red Devils' sluggish start and occasional defensive lapses in the second half bothered veteran coach Jay Flanagan, but the team climbed aboard the bus for the trip back to Mount Holly with a perfect record.
"Three-and-0 is better than 0-3," Flanagan said. "I just didn't think we were focused. But this is a great group of kids. They're unselfish and they like to play with each other."
Senior forward Damola Dairo led Highland (3-2) with 24 points to go with 12 rebounds and three steals, and senior swingman Dante Masino made a trio of three-pointers en route to 13 points.
"I've been trying to get them to realize that if we play 32 minutes as hard as we can and as poised as we can that we can play with anybody," said Scott Kupersmit, Highland's first-year coach.
Highland should get a boost in the next couple of weeks with the return of senior guard Zafir Brower, who is recovering from a broken foot. A top ball-handler and floor general, Brower averaged 17 points as a junior.
"He'll make a big difference," Kupersmit said.
Highland missed Brower's ball-handling against Rancocas Valley's pressure defense, especially when Masino was forced to the bench for a stretch with foul trouble.
Making three-pointers at the offensive end and picking pockets at the other, the Red Devils broke the game open with a 20-10 advantage in the second quarter.
"There were stretches there where I liked the way we play defense," Flanagan said.
St. Clair and Laster were joined by seniors Kadian Dawkins, Curtis Bright and Naair Campbell, and sophomore Javonte Jones, as the Red Devils scrambled all over the court to disrupt the Tartans' offense and force turnover after turnover.
"Our offense comes from our defense," St. Clair said.
If the Red Devils weren't scoring on run-off turnovers, they were burying three-pointers as Laster made two from beyond the arc and Bright and sophomore Damilola Mosaku each made one in the decisive second quarter.
Campbell was the team's leading scorer with 25 in the season-opening win over Middle Township. Dawkins set the pace with 12 in the victory over Willingboro.
On Friday night, it was Laster and St. Clair in double figures for the balanced Red Devils.
"For us, it's all about defense," St. Clair said. "We all know we have to play with intensity and energy on defense. As long as we do that, the offense will come."
Rancocas Valley 10 20 15 18 – 63
Highland 10 10 16 19 – 55
RV: Kadian Dawkins 4, Darnell St. Clair 15, Jayvon Laster 18, Naair Campbell 7, Javonte Jones 9, Damilola Mosaku 5, Curtis Bright 5.