There's a reason why guard formerly resembled a four-letter word in DC Gaitley's basketball world.

Throughout his childhood, he played one-on-one against his brother, Dutch, and participated in the same kinds of drills, and he figured someday he would also be sniffing the rarified air available to those within a whisker of 6 foot, 10 inches.

"I always wished I'd have a growth spurt and get up there close to my brother at, say, 6-8," Gaitley noted. "And, hopefully, I'm not finished yet.

"On my [youth teams], I was always one of the tallest kids, but not the tallest, so I did get to play some guard. As I got older, my dad [Frank] kept saying I had to work on those skills more and more. I did that and now things are working out pretty nice."

Both on a personal level and for Episcopal Academy, which Daniel Cole Gaitley serves as a 6-2, 190-pound senior point guard.

After looking barely worthy of varsity play in their Jan. 8 Inter-Ac League opener, which produced a 54-35 loss to Germantown Academy, the Churchmen of first-year coach Craig Conlin are now 3-2 (with GA as one of the victims). The latest triumph, 47-45, came Saturday over host Chestnut Hill Academy, and Gaitley was prominent.

With perfect shooting therein (4-for-4, two treys, 3-for-3 at line), he scored all 13 of his points in the second half. He also notched all three of his steals, dished three of his four assists and converted a one-and-one with 7.5 seconds left to break a 45-45 tie.

Then, with help from sub Matt Angelos, Gaitley helped to prevent Billy Dooley (18 points), after a three-quarter-court drive, from sticking an in-the-lane, 12-foot jumper that would have forced overtime.

"I definitely expected him to take that shot," Gaitley said. "I knew he wanted it. I thought there would be a screen, so I was waiting for it. Matty stepped in and played great defense."

Did Gaitley expect the shot to connect?

"I was hoping it wouldn't," he said. "And was glad it didn't."

Gaitley acknowledged the Churchmen were indeed embarrassed by their first-game performance vs. GA.

"We're so proud of what has happened since," he said. "We got so much tougher. We all stepped it up. We weren't scared against GA, but we were tentative. Not anymore. We have a bunch of guys making contributions."

Of his own outing vs. CHA, he said, "I try to let the game come to me. If I don't score but we win, no biggie. But when they were leaving me open, I knew I wanted to shoot . . . When I saw the ball going through the net, I got a lot of confidence. We built on that because they were really keying on Taylor Wright [12 points] and Dan Mengel [11]."

Dutch "Big Suburbs" Gaitley, a product of Archbishop Carroll, is now on Temple's roster as a grad student after playing for Monmouth. The boys' mother, Stephanie Gaitley, is Monmouth's women's coach and formerly was the gals' boss at Saint Joseph's University.

"She wasn't here today, but actually she's our good-luck charm," said DC, who intends to hit the prep-school trail for 1 year. "We've won every game she's been to."

Mom's body of work is not exactly extensive, he then laughingly acknowedged.

"She saw us win the Christmas tournament, and the second GA game; that was her birthday. So, she's only 2-0."

To boot, Stephanie Gaitley is the matriarch of what is likely one of the nation's few families with a center and point guard.