The first quarter belonged to Derrick Jones, who was throwing down dunks.
The second quarter was dominated by the speedy Josh Sharkey. The sophomore guard penetrated the lane and hit jump shots.
As for the third period, pick any of the Archbishop Carroll boys' basketball players - they spread the ball around. And the fourth, that's when the Patriots' defense shined.
The who didn't necessarily matter Friday night for Archbishop Carroll, The Inquirer's top-ranked team in Southeastern Pennsylvania. It was the what. From the start, what the Patriots did was manhandle host Lower Merion, 79-43, in the Kobe Bryant Scholastic Play-By-Play Holiday Classic.
Jones set the tone early for the Patriots (8-1), scoring eight of his game-high 20 points in the first quarter. From his first dunk just minutes into the contest until he was subbed out of the game in the fourth, Jones was a force on both ends, grabbing 10 rebounds and blocking five shots.
"Every time we get a dunk - from anybody on the team - it gives us momentum," Jones said. "It gets the intensity going, and everybody plays a lot harder."
Often, Jones was fed by Sharkey, who finished with 14 points but whose presence also was felt on defense.
"It's fun. Derrick makes my job easier," Sharkey said. "All I have to do is throw it up there and he is going to go get it. He's a great player. He's fun to play with."
Carroll's defense frustrated the Aces (2-5), as Lower Merion couldn't get a streak going and struggled with shooting from all spots on the floor.
Next up for the Patriots is a game Thursday against No. 2-ranked Neumann-Goretti. The two likely represent the best of the Catholic League this season.
"We don't care about the rankings; we just go out and play basketball," Sharkey said.
Archbishop Carroll 20 22 17 20 – 79
Lower Merion 9 13 13 8 – 43
AC: Derrick Jones 20, Josh Sharkey 14, Joe Mostardi 11, Armand Sorrentino 7, Dave Beatty 7, Ernest Aflakpui 6, Dion Theroulde 4, John Rigsby 3, Nysier Brooks 2, Austin Tilghman 2, Quadere Allen 2, Ryan Daly 1.
LM: Nick Jones 11, Steve Pendleton 9, Jule Brown 8, Corey Sherman 5, Justin McFadden 4, KJ Helton 3, JaQuan Johnson 3.