Crusaders own worst enemies vs. Calvert Hall

January 25, 1996|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

When push came to shove, St. Paul's didn't have a push left.

For most of the game last night, the No. 19 Crusaders kept fighting back against host Calvert Hall, but the No. 3 Cardinals finally broke free for a 62-49 victory in a Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association non-conference game.

Juan Dixon led all scorers with 23 points for Calvert Hall (14-4). Patrick Ngongba added 18. Tiano Brown led St. Paul's (10-1) with 13, all coming in the first half.

The Crusaders trailed 29-26 at halftime, before slipping behind by 14 points late in the third quarter. The deficit was seven midway in the final period, but St. Paul's went without a field goal until under a minute remained and missed several scoring opportunities.

"I told the kids it was a lot closer game than 13 points," said St. Paul's coach Rick Collins. "We out-muscled them and out-hustled them. We didn't take a backward step to anybody."

The Cardinals knew the upstart Crusaders would be trouble for them, especially after losing two of three Catholic League games last week, and a game with Strake Jesuit of Houston today at the Charm City Classic at Towson State.

Calvert Hall led 49-37 after three periods before St. Paul's went in the bonus one-and-one and closed the gap to 51-44 with over five minutes left in the game.

After Ngongba scored on a follow-up, St. Paul's failed to convert in a sequence that saw it miss three shots under the basket. A jumper by Dixon was followed by three Cardinal free throws that extended the lead to 58-44.

With 51 seconds left, Justin Singleton's three-pointer ended a drought that saw St. Paul's miss eight straight shots from the field and commit five turnovers.

"After the first three minutes, we realized that we could beat them," said Brown. "We out-hustled them, but it just caught up to us in the second half."

"When you're undefeated and get an opportunity to play us, it's going to pump you up," said Calvert Hall coach Mark Amatucci. "They came well-prepared."

Calvert Hall jumped on St. Paul's and built a 42-29 lead with 3:23 left in the third quarter. The run belonged to Dixon and Antoine Peoples, who came off the bench to score a layup and follow with a steal and another layup to complement three three-pointers by Dixon.

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