Jones, Karcher spark St. Frances to victory in Charm City Classic Dunbar beats Calvert Hall in consolation game

January 28, 1996|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

On Thursday night, St. Frances finally earned some respect in the city with its victory over Dunbar.

Last night, the small East Baltimore school earned some national recognition, defeating Strake Jesuit of Houston, 63-59, to win the Southeast bracket championship of the First National Bank Charm City Classic before a crowd of 3,824 at the Towson Center.

Senior point guard Alphonso Jones led No. 3 St. Frances (16-4) with 24 points and Mark Karcher added 21 points. Michael LeBlanc led Strake Jesuit (24-4) with a game-high 26 points.

It was the first tournament victory for St. Frances this season after losing in the finals of Gonzaga Tournament in Washington last month and last weekend's McDonald's Classic.

The third time proved to be the charm for St. Frances with the combination of Karcher and Jones carrying it in the final eight minutes, scoring all but three of St. Frances' 16 fourth-quarter points.

The Panthers led 58-54 when Karcher fouled out with 50.6 seconds left. Two free throws by Broderick Hicks brought Strake Jesuit to within two.

Darnell Dantzler hit one of two free throws, extending the Panthers' lead to 59-56 with 44.7 seconds remaining. Free throws by Jones and Shawn Hampton (10 points, game-high 12 rebounds) helped close out the victory.

"Once we got the lead, they had to play our game," said St. Frances coach William Wells. "I knew they [Strake Jesuit] couldn't hit the shots from outside, and we did a great job rebounding down the stretch."

Trailing by as many as 12 points in the second half, St. Frances pulled even at 49 with 6:19 left on a jumper by Karcher.

"We have been to a couple tournaments and blown the lead or been close in the fourth quarter," said Jones. "We got here in this tournament at home and weren't going to let an out-of-town team win this."

In the consolation game, No. 5 Dunbar rallied past No. 3 Calvert Hall, 53-50, in the first meeting between the two at Towson State since a 1982 triple-overtime classic won by Calvert Hall, considered by many to be the best high school game ever played in Baltimore.

Tommy Polley scored 19 points and had nine rebounds for Dunbar (8-5), and Tim Lyles added 15. Juan Dixon led Calvert Hall (14-6) with a game-high 22 points and Sam Anyan scored 10.

After falling behind for the first time since the first half, at 48-46 with 3:37 remaining, Dunbar ran off seven straight points before Calvert Hall scored at the buzzer.

"We got them into foul trouble and worked the ball inside more," said Polley, who added a team-high five assists. "We didn't do that on Thursday [63-47 loss to St. Frances], but today we were able to get some easy baskets."

Polley tied the game for the Poets scoring off of a miss by Chris Dean. After Calvert Hall failed to convert on the other end, Lyles slipped ahead of the Cardinals' defense for a layup. A free throw by Polley and two by Lyles closed out the victory.

Calvert Hall trailed 42-33 entering the final period, but went on a 9-2 run to close the margin to 44-42 with 5:37 left on a Dixon three-pointer.

With his team down 46-43, Dixon, who scored 12 points in the fourth quarter, had a reverse layup and his second three-pointer of the period, giving the Cardinals the 48-46 lead, but had three misses from the field to go with two one-and-one misses and two turnovers down the stretch.

"We just choke," said Dixon. "We had a lead on Thursday and the lead today. We're just not playing hard enough when it counts."

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