Both Loyola and Towson Catholic, the top two seeds, were able to raise the intensity in the final quarter to advance to today's semifinal round of the 22nd Catholic League Tournament at Loyola College.
No. 3 seeded St. Frances and Mount St. Joseph, the No. 4 seed, pTC weren't as fortunate.
No. 9 Cardinal Gibbons (19-13) used a 16-0 run midway in the second half to pull away from St. Frances (11-12) for a 67-54 victory and a semifinal meeting with second-seeded Towson Catholic today at 5 p.m. at Reitz Arena.
And in the final game of the quarterfinals No. 10 Calvert Hall smashed Mount St. Joseph, 64-44, as Chris Wilson scored 24 points and Jeremy Baker and Brian Taylor combined for 30. The Cardinals (19-10) meet archrival Loyola in the other semifinal at 7 p.m.
Earlier, top seed Loyola surged past Archbishop Curley in the second half to win 63-36 and second seed Towson Catholic outlasted St. Maria Goretti, 56-46.
Gibbons, which led 30-23 at the half, had seen St. Frances regain the lead, 38-37, late in the third quarter behind the shooting of senior Orlando Ranson, who led St. Frances with 23 points.
Then the Crusaders, who lost both regular-season games to St. Frances, took complete control, outscoring the Panthers 20-2 in a five-minute spurt sparked by senior Troy Queen, who led all scorers with 26 points, and junior Steve Wojciechowski, who scored 15.
"We got a lot of leadership in the second half," said Gibbons coach Ray Mullis. "We made St. Frances play defense and we went to the foul line."
Gibbons scored 16 of its 22 fourth-quarter points at the foul line, with Queen chipping in nine of them.
For second seed Towson Catholic, the defending tournament champion, the path to the semifinal round was even more difficult. The No. 14 Owls (18-11) found themselves even
at 36-36 with seventh seed St. Maria Goretti after three quarters.
But the Towson Catholic defense stepped forward in the early minutes of the fourth quarter. It came up with four steals while holding Goretti to just one field-goal attempt in a four-minute 10-0 run that led to the victory.
Seniors Richard Rhinehart and James Burrell each scored 14 points to lead Towson Catholic and Sharif Butler added 10. Chris Lesky led Goretti with 14.
Towson had trailed for most of the first half before scoring the last nine points of the second quarter to take a 26-22 halftime lead. But Goretti battled back in the third quarter, pulling even at 36 on Lesky's basket with seven seconds left in the third quarter.
Then Rhinehart, who scored eight of his 14 points in the fourth quarter, keyed the fourth-quarter defensive spurt by the Owls that doomed Goretti.
In the tournament's opening game, top seed and heavily favored Loyola Dons (22-8) needed more than three quarters to pull away from Archbishop Curley (3-21). Wes Unseld Jr. scored 20 points to lead the No. 8 Dons.
Leading 22-20 late in the second quarter, the Dons scored the final six points of the half to take a 28-20 lead at intermission, despite 33 percent (12-for-36) shooting in the half.
In the second half the Friars, still stayed within striking distance, trailing by only 46-36 with five minutes to play. But the Dons finally put things in order, scoring the game's final 17 points.
Jerry Hunt scored 13 for Loyola and Kevin Chinnia had 10. Dwight Byrd and Brian Schilpp combined for 25 points for the Friars.
Calvert Hall, which lost earlier in the week to Mount St. Joe (17-13), opened a 29-20 halftime lead and expanded it in the second half.