Gibbons, St. Frances advance to final

February 27, 1994|By Bob Clark | Bob Clark,Special to The Sun

Senior guard Steve Wojciechowski sparked No. 8 Cardinal Gibbons with a 17-point first half and the Crusaders dismantled No. 18 Calvert Hall in the second half to reach the championship game of the 23rd Baltimore Catholic League tournament with a 75-51 victory at Reitz Arena last night.

The top-seeded Crusaders (24-6) will face third-seeded St. Frances, a 60-20 victor over Towson Catholic in the opening semifinal, in the championship game at Reitz Arena tonight at 7:30.

Named MVP of the Catholic League earlier this week, Wojciechowski took full control of the game in the second quarter, scoring 13 of his game-high 22 points as Gibbons built a 40-34 halftime lead against scrappy Calvert Hall (17-11).

But the second half was all Gibbons, as Wojciechowski, who finished with nine assists, five steals and four rebounds, sparked a 20-5 run in less than five minutes of the third quarter and the outside shooting of sophomore Josh Davalli shot the Cardinals down.

Davalli scored 18 points, 14 during the telltale third quarter as the Crusaders' lead ballooned to 63-42.

"Steve had his complete game with him tonight," said Gibbons coach Ray Mullis. "He had a great deal of leadership and when we got our defense going we were really tough."

Calvert Hall was led by John McKay with 15 points and Tavar Witherspoon with 14.

Towson Catholic's quest for a third consecutive Catholic League tournament title ended in the opening game of the semifinals against third-seeded St. Frances.

The Panthers (13-7) romped into the championship game with a defensive clinic against the seventh-seeded Owls, who had shocked second-seeded St. Maria Goretti, 53-52, in the opening round Friday night.

The Owls, who were beaten decisively by St. Frances in both regular-season games, never got untracked against the Panthers this time, scoring just eight points in the first half while shooting 12 percent (2-for-16).

"Our defense tries to stop the ball from penetration," said St. Frances coach William Wells. "And tonight we really got a good overall defensive effort. That's what we strive for."

The Owls, who finished last in the regular season after winning the past two tournament titles, never scored more than seven points in a quarter and were held without a field goal in the second quarter as the Panthers' lead grew to 26-8 at halftime.

Freshman Mark Karcher led St. Frances with 19 points, including three three-pointers. Eight others scored for St. Frances, with Keon Chavez, Jason Turner and Corey Bradford each scoring eight. Chuckie Green led the Owls with six points.

The Panthers moved ahead to stay 6-5 on a scoop shot in the lane by Darryle Dantzler with 3:17 left in the first quarter. And that basket started a 10-0 run by St. Frances as Towson Catholic went more than five minutes without scoring.

After shooting just 25 percent in the first quarter, the Owls saw that percentage drop even farther in the second quarter, when they were limited to just three free throws and went 0-for-8 from the field -- finishing the first half with just eight points on 12 percent shooting.

Karcher and Corey Bradford combined for nine of the Panthers' 15 second-quarter points and St. Frances was well in control, 26-8, at intermission.

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