No. 3 St. Frances seeks respect with 63-47 win over Dunbar Boys basketball

January 26, 1996|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

This season, St. Frances has played in tournaments in Canada, Washington, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

And even with the area's No. 3 ranking, St. Frances still felt it

haven't received the respect it deserved in the city.

That changed last night.

In its first meeting with East Baltimore neighbor Dunbar, St. Frances ran past the No. 5 Poets, 63-47, in the Southeast bracket first-round game at the First National Bank Charm City Classic at the Towson Center before an estimated crowd of 2,800.

The Panthers will play Strake Jesuit of Houston for the bracket championship, tomorrow night at 7 at the Towson Center. Strake Jesuit defeated Calvert Hall, 75-66, in the other first-round game yesterday.

Mark Karcher led St. Frances (15-4) with 19 points and had 10 rebounds. Alfonso Jones added 13. Tommy Polley and Atman Smith each scored 10 to lead Dunbar (7-5).

The Panthers took control of the game midway in the third quarter, outscoring Dunbar, 13-2, and turning a 29-24 lead into a 42-26 advantage.

"We allowed them to get into transition," said Dunbar coach Paul Smith. "Our half-court defense was fine, but offensively, we played like we had never seen a zone defense before."

The game had been the talk of East Baltimore since the matchup was announced about a month ago.

"Winning this game does a lot for our program," said St. Frances coach William Wells. "Dunbar has a good team, and we did what we had to do to win."

And what St. Frances did was shut down Dunbar's inside game and force it to play from the perimeter, where the Poets shot only 17-for-59.

In the other Southeast first-round contest, Connecticut signee Michael LeBlanc scored a game-high 31 points, leading Strake Jesuit of Houston (24-3) past Calvert Hall (14-5).

The Cardinals were within 66-63 with 2:56 remaining when LeBlanc, who also had a game-high 14 rebounds, followed a missed layup by Jake Voskhul, starting a quick 5-0 spurt that pushed the lead to 71-63 less than a minute later.

"We didn't have good execution down the stretch," said Calvert Hall coach Mark Amatucci.

"All we had to do was to be patient, go inside and slash, and when we did that, we were getting good shots."

Calvert Hall was down by 65-53 with 4:34 left when Patrick Ngongba converted a layup. Then half-court defensive pressure by the Cardinals resulted in consecutive baskets by Juan Dixon, making it 65-59.

After a free throw by Blake Swoboda extended Strake Jesuit's lead to 66-59, a basket by Ngongba and two free throws by Dixon pulled the Cardinals to within 66-63.

Ngongba finished with 24 points and 12 rebounds for Calvert Hall. He outplayed the 6-foot-11 Voskhul, also heading to Connecticut, as he finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Dixon added 20 points and six assists for the Cardinals.

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