The Roman Catholic basketball team doesn't have much in the way of height, so when the public-address announcer introduced senior forward Allen Betrand at 6-foot-3, Betrand couldn't let it stand.
"I'm 6-foot-4," Betrand said with a smile as he made his way to the scorer's table. "Don't cheat me."
Betrand used every inch Wednesday evening in blocking four shots and providing a much-needed defensive lift in the Cahillites' 60-49 Catholic League victory against visiting Bishop McDevitt.
"That's exactly why," Betrand joked after the game. "We don't have a lot of height. You can't mark mine down!"
Junior forward Seth Lundy led Roman (8-6, 4-2) with 17 points and 12 rebounds, while junior wing Hakim Hart dropped 16 points and 7 rebounds, and sophomore guard Lynn Greer III added 14 points and 4 assists.
Offense, however, isn't what second-year coach Matt Griffin needed against the feisty Lancers.
"I think defensively there was a much better effort in the second half," Griffin said.
The Cahillites led 33-31 at intermission despite having shot 13 of 19 overall (68 percent) and 4 of 8 from the three-point line.
McDevitt's guards, led by first-year coach Will Chavis — the former standout at Engineering and Science alongside Greer's father — penetrated at will and kept the Lancers (11-5, 2-5) close.
In the second half, Roman's defensive intensity picked up, thanks in part to Betrand's ability to erase shots.
"My role on defense is to guard the other team's best guy, keep them out of the lane," he said. "I like taking away points. I like seeing people not score. That's my job. I love it."
Lundy took care of the offense. The junior scored 10 points in the decisive third quarter, which saw Roman take the game's momentum, and a five-point edge into the final frame.
The sophomore-laden Lancers had their chances but shot just 1 of 6 from the foul line in the third quarter and finished 7 of 13, while Roman hit 14 of 15.
Sophomore wing Robert Smith led the Lancers with 13 points.
On Friday, Roman travels to Archbishop Carroll (11-4, 5-1) for an important matchup with the Patriots, led by star sophomore guard AJ Hoggard, likely to be Betrand's defensive assignment.
"Kid's a warrior," Griffin said of Betrand. "He's been our leader all year."
Later, Griffin added: "Allen makes big plays, protects around the basket and gets loose balls. I don't know what we're going to do when Allen Betrand graduates."
Roman Catholic 20 13 12 15 — 60
Bishop McDevitt 13 18 9 9 –| 49
R: Seth Lundy 17, Hakim Hart 16, Lynn Greer III 14, Allen Betrand 8, John Kelly 5.