Host Mount St. Joseph pulled off the season's first major upset by defeating No. 4 Walbrook, 82-75, in a Maryland Scholastic Association Division I basketball game yesterday.
Senior guards Patrick Young (25 points) and Darrin Jones (20 points) led the Gaels (4-3, 1-1). No. 1 Dunbar is favored to win Division I, and many had conceded second place to Walbrook, but the Gaels served notice yesterday that they will have a say in the division, in which the top two teams make the playoffs.
"I don't think it was their day," said Mount St. Joseph junior guard Ryan Clark. "We were never afraid of them, even though they were ranked No. 4."
Senior center Stevie Thomas paced Walbrook with 16 points, but 12 came in the second half after Mount St. Joseph had raced to a surprising 40-26 lead. Walbrook (3-1, 2-1) never got closer than four points in the second half. Junior forward Shamar Bass added 14 for the Warriors, senior forward Eric Herbert had 13 and junior guard Rodney Beasley had 12.
"We just couldn't get into the flow of the game," Beasley said. "They outplayed us. It just goes to show you we are human."
Walbrook out-rebounded Mount St. Joseph, 42-37, but St. Joe forced the Warriors to rely on their outside shooting by double-teaming Thomas, who is 6 feet 7.
"We just came down and felt if we made the less mistakes and spread the floor, we would have a chance to win," said Gaels coach Pat Maggio. "The kids did a good job. We knew if we played the boards well we could have a chance to win. It was a good win for us. Any time they went inside we pressed them and forced them to shoot the ball outside."
The teams played to a 15-15 tie after one period, then Jones hit a jumper with nine seconds gone in the second quarter giving St. Joe the lead for good at 17-15. The Gaels used an 18-4 run later in the quarter to turn a one-point lead into their commanding 40-26 halftime advantage. Young paced that run with seven points and junior guard Bobby Bush had five.
Walbrook rallied in the fourth quarter, cutting the Gaels' lead to 65-60 with 4:45 left but consecutive turnovers cost the Warriors an opportunity to get closer.
Jones hit two free throws at the 3:52 mark to put the Gaels ahead, 67-60. Walbrook rallied again to get within 69-65 but Gaels sophomore guard Sharif Butler scored on a layup to make it 71-65 and Young hit a three pointer at 2:34 to push it to 74-65.
"I just didn't think we executed on defense," said Walbrook coach Gus Herrington. "We just didn't get to where we had to be. Hopefully, this will make us wake up and prepare us for our next game. They [Mount St. Joseph] came ready to play. They didn't have anything to lose."