Senior center Devin Gray took advantage of a smaller Cardinal Gibbons team and the inexperience of Crusaders junior center Mike Soitsman, scoring 30 points and grabbing 15 rebounds, as visiting and No. 16 St. Frances upset No. 7 Gibbons, 73-64, last night.
The victory broke a two-game Catholic League losing streak for St. Frances (8-5, 3-2) and put it back in the running for the league title. Gibbons dropped to 10-6, 2-2.
St. Frances, with Gray at 6 feet 6 and Mike Smith at 6-6, out-rebounded Gibbons, 46-34.
"We can beat most teams on height if we relax and do what we are supposed to do," St. Frances coach William Wells said.
In addition to his scoring, Gray held Soitsman (0-for-3) scoreless.
Early on, it didn't seem that St. Frances would need an outstanding performance from Gray. Forward Eric Carroll scored 11 first-quarter points, and Gibbons made just three of 17 field goals, as St. Frances built a 21-8 lead.
Gibbons cut it to 24-19 midway through the second quarter, but St. Frances pushed its lead to 38-28 by halftime.
In the second half, Gray took over, scoring 20 points with an assortment of power moves inside. When he missed, he got his rebounds and put them in.
Gibbons rallied behind the shooting of Ross Peacock, who made up for a poor first half (four points) with 13 second-half points. Casey Musick led Gibbons with 23 points, but scored just six in the second half, as St. Frances turned its defensive efforts toward stopping him and Quintin Moody with a triangle-and-two defense.
A three-pointer by Peacock early in the fourth quarter cut the lead to 54-52, but Gray scored four as St. Frances got six of the next eight points to boost its margin to 60-54. Gibbons got within three, but never any closer.
"Once we got within three, instead of us rattling them, we fell apart," Gibbons coach Ray Mullis said.