Mount St. Joseph advanced to the semifinals of the Catholic League Tournament, defeating visiting Cardinal Gibbons, 64-57, last night.
After winning the rubber match of the season series with the Crusaders, Mount St. Joseph (15-11) will play top seed and No. 4 St. Frances in a semifinal game tonight at 8:15 at UMBC. No. 5 and second seed Calvert Hall will meet St. Maria Goretti in the other semifinal.
Daniel Whye led all scorers with 23 points and had 13 rebounds for Mount St. Joseph, and Corey McNeill added 14. Vernon Collins led Cardinal Gibbons (18-14) with 18 points. Mike Simmons and James Urban each had 12.
Whye, who was named first-team All-Catholic earlier in the week, outdueled fellow first-team selectee Josh Davalli of Cardinal Gibbons.
Davalli, the Crusaders' leading scorer, only scored four points, shooting two of 10 from the field. And with Davalli struggling, Cardinal Gibbons' chances of repeating as tournament champions looked bleak.
Trailing by as many as 16 points in the final quarter, the Crusaders got to within 60-55 with 1:06 remaining. The Gaels missed consecutive one-and-one free-throw opportunities, but Cardinal Gibbons couldn't take advantage.
With 27 seconds left, a layup by Collins pulled the Crusaders to 60-57, but four free throws by Whye helped close out the victory for the Gaels.
Whye, who scored 24 points in a 69-66 victory over Cardinal Gibbons in their first meeting on Jan. 16, gave the Gaels a 42-25 lead with 2:53 left in the third quarter with a basket.
The Crusaders pulled to within 44-34 with 19 seconds left, then Whye hit a jumper from the left, just inside the three-point line, for a 46-34 lead after three periods.
X Whye opened the fourth quarter with a layup and that was followed a minute later by a jumper by Kyle Skinner, giving Mount St. Joseph a 50-34 lead with 6:15 left.
"We played well on the defensive end," said Mount St. Joseph coach Pat Clatchley. "At the end of the game, we didn't make our foul shots and made things interesting, but I give Gibbons a lot of credit. They played hard and didn't quit."
In the last meeting between the two on Feb. 10, Gibbons won 43-39 in a defensive struggle.
For most of the first half last night, just hitting a layup was a struggle for the Crusaders, who made only six of 27 attempts. In the first quarter, Gibbons was 2-for-14 and the Gaels had a 14-7 advantage as they went on a 10-3 run.
Mount St. Joseph continued its run in the second quarter, scoring the first six points to build a 20-7 lead with 5:39 remaining after an off-balance basket by Corey McNeill.
Two free throws by Mike Simmons ended the Gaels' run, but, at that point, Gibbons had made more free throws (five) than field goals (two).
With 4:48 remaining in the first half, Gibbons made its third field goal of the game on a basket by Simmons, ending a four-minute stretch without a field goal.
"We dug ourselves too big of a hole in the first half," said Gibbons coach Bryan Moorhouse. "But I tell you, the kids didn't quit and we had an opportunity, but couldn't get over the hump."