No. 6 Cardinal Gibbons staved off a rally by No. 8 Towson Catholic with some strong free-throw shooting to remain on top in the Catholic League with a 75-68 victory last night.
Gibbons (16-8 overall) finished the first half of the Catholic
League schedule at 7-0 and dropped the second-place Owls (10-8 overall) two games behind at 5-2. In what was also a Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference Division II game, Gibbons improved its record to 3-2, while the Owls dropped to 1-4 in the MSA.
It was another big third quarter, after a poor-shooting first half, that put Gibbons into what seemed like a comfortable 54-45 lead after three quarters. That lead opened to 62-48 just two minutes into the fourth quarter.
But senior point guard Sydney Johnson, who scored 13 of his 19 points in the second half, led a TC rally that cut the Gibbons lead to 64-63 with 1 minute, 58 seconds left.
"We did two things badly when we got the lead," said Gibbons coach Ray Mullis. "We didn't play the zone worth a damn and then we turned the ball over, too."
But Gibbons hit on nine of 10 free throws after that to seal the verdict.
"We did hit some key free throws down the stretch and handled the pressure pretty well. This is a big game for us, giving us a two-game lead, but this is far from over," said Mullis.
Chucky Lee and Troy Queen led Gibbons with 16 points each and Richard Dent, Quintin Moody and Steve Wojciechowski each added 12. Wojciechowski, a sophomore guard, hit five of six free throws in the closing seconds.
The Crusaders held a 31-29 edge at halftime despite a horrendous shooting half (10-for-36) from the field, including 2-for-12 from Queen and 2-for-10 from Moody.