No. 9 Calvert Hall, trailing most of the game, showed its composure down the stretch and outscored visiting Towson Catholic by 10-2 in the final three minutes to register a 49-43 victory yesterday.
The win raised Calvert Hall's overall record to 9-4 and pulled the Cardinals even with No. 11 Towson Catholic (8-6 overall) in the Catholic League at 3-1. The game also counted in Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference Division II play, where Calvert Hall is 2-3 and the Owls are 1-3.
Calvert Hall coach Joe Baker was pleased with the emotional win. "We needed a game like this to make sure we were OK," Baker said. "It's a good confidence-builder for us."
Calvert Hall fell behind by 12-5 and trailed until the Owls seemed to lose composure midway through the third quarter, when there was a shoving match that was broken up quickly by the officials. The Cardinals' first lead came at 29-28 on a free throw by Greg Metrinko after the Owls' James Burrell, saddled with foul problems in the second half, was called for a technical.
After that, the game was tied four times, the last at 41 as Brian Matz, who led Calvert Hall with 12 points, scored on a feed from Chris Wilson with less than three minutes to go.
The Owls, suffering all afternoon at the free-throw line (7-for-17), missed an opportunity to regain the lead when Sydney Johnson missed the front end of a one-and-one. Then Matz put the Cardinals ahead to stay with a drive along the baseline with 1 minute, 55 seconds remaining.
Richard Rhinehart, who led the Owls with 12 points, then missed a baseline jumper and Calvert Hall handled the Towson Catholic press perfectly, with Wilson scoring all alone to make it 45-41 with a minute left.
Two free throws apiece from Jeremy Baker and Metrinko in the closing minute sealed the victory. But the emotions overflowed again after the final buzzer, and both teams had to be separated and escorted from the court.
Towson Catholic coach Mike Daniel acknowledged that his team had lost its composure somewhat in the second half. "We got kind of excited," he said. "We wanted to win so bad. This is a big neighborhood rivalry.
"But we also missed a lot of free throws, and you can't do that on the road. Calvert Hall did a good job against the press, and the bottom line was that Calvert Hall did a real good job and deserved the win."
Elsewhere in the Catholic League:
Troy Queen scored 20, as No. 7 Cardinal Gibbons (10-7, 4-0) routed host Mount St. Joseph (5-9, 2-2), 77-44.
Steve Kraning's 37 points led No. 8 Loyola (10-5, 2-2) over visiting Archbishop Curley (0-4), 94-55. Wes Unseld Jr. added 14 points for the Dons.
Phil Dixon scored 20 and Orlando Ranson added 14, as No. 19 St. Frances (4-7, 1-3) edged host St. Maria Goretti (8-8, 2-2), 57-56.