Crusaders rebound to subdue Cardinals

February 14, 1994|By Bob Clark | Bob Clark,Special to The Sun

Just when it looked as if Calvert Hall was about to take a big step forward against Catholic League leader Cardinal Gibbons, the Crusaders refused to let it happen.

Led by its trio of seniors Steve Wojciechowski, Ryan Beaumont and Jerard Rucker, No. 8 Gibbons outscored Calvert Hall 10-2 over a two-minute span late in the fourth quarter to capture a 62-59 Catholic League home victory yesterday.

"We displayed a great deal of poise down the stretch," said Gibbons coach Ray Mullis. "This was a real tough game for us."

Calvert Hall, which led throughout the first half, had fallen behind late in the third quarter and trailed 52-47 with just over five minutes to play.

But the Cardinals ran off six straight points to take a 53-52 lead on two driving baskets by Tavar Witherspoon and a baseline drive by Brian Taylor.

Then the Crusaders took over. Beaumont, who had 13 points and nine rebounds, hit a follow-up lay-in to put Gibbons ahead to stay with 2:35 to play. Beaumont then added a pair of free throws and Wojciechowski added the next four points from the foul line as Gibbons built a 62-55 lead with just 17 seconds left.

"The difference in these two teams right now is that Gibbons does the little things," said Calvert Hall coach Mark Amatucci. "They hit their free throws and they react to the pressure. The little things are keeping us from being 7-2 in the league. But the good sign is that we're not satisfied with just playing Gibbons close."

The win raised Gibbons' overall record to 18-6 and improved its ** Catholic League mark to 8-2. Calvert Hall is 13-10 and 5-4.

Wojciechowski, who led the Crusaders with 16 points, crammed eight of them into the final quarter, and controlled the ball in the closing minutes. Rucker scored 15 and had seven rebounds and three steals.

Taylor led the Cardinals with 16 and John McKay had 13.

The Cardinals started aggressively, causing several early turnovers by the Crusaders, and built a 6-0 lead in the first two minutes.

Gibbons answered that with a 6-0 run in just 75 seconds to tie the score with 4:30 left in the first quarter.

Then McKay drove the lane for a layup and knocked down a 17-footer from the baseline to start an 8-0 run by the Cardinals. Taylor fed Witherspoon for a basket inside and then McKay fed Taylor for a 14-6 Cardinals lead.

Calvert Hall hit on 60 percent of its field goals (9-for-15) in the opening quarter and held an 18-11 lead after that quarter. Gibbons, with Wojciechowski hitting on only one of seven shots from the field, managed just 4-for-14 shooting in the quarter.

"Calvert Hall was playing its kind of game," said Mullis. "They made us fight to get back in it."

The Crusaders picked up their intensity in the second quarter, cutting the Calvert Hall lead to four points twice and three points once. But a follow-up basket by freshman Gary Williams with one second left before the half provided the Cardinals with a 30-24 edge at halftime.

Wojciechowski finished the half with just five points, on 2-of-9 shooting from the field, including 0-for-4 from three-point range.

But his crisp passing (nine assists) set the stage for the third-quarter comeback and his foul-shooting was crucial in the closing minutes.

Gibbons has rescheduled its game with St. Frances, which was postponed on Friday. It will be played at Gibbons on Wednesday at 8 p.m.

St. Frances 70, Loyola 61

Freshman Mark Karcher scored a game-high 24, leading visiting and No. 13 St. Frances (8-6, 4-3) past Loyola (10-13, 2-7) in a Catholic League game.

Kevin McClain added 14 for the Panthers.

Goretti 71, Towson Catholic 57

Chris Cunningham scored 22 to lead St. Maria Goretti past Towson Catholic (2-12, 1-5) in a Catholic League game.

Junior center Konata Springer led Towson Catholic with 13 points and Evan Monroe contributed 12.

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