St. Frances contains Calvert Hall, 71-67 Karcher, Panthers halt Cardinals in 4th quarter

March 05, 1996|By Bob Clark | Bob Clark,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Junior Mark Karcher broke a 60-60 tie midway in the fourth quarter with six points in 14 seconds to propel top-ranked St. Frances past No. 4 Calvert Hall, 71-67, for its second consecutive Catholic League Tournament title victory before a standing room crowd of more than 2,000 at Goucher College last night.

Calvert Hall (25-8) had battled back from a nine-point deficit at the outset of the fourth quarter to pull even at 60-60 on a drive in the lane by center Patrick Ngongba.

But Karcher answered by hitting a three-pointer from the top of the key and adding a three-point play with a layup on a feed from senior guard Alphonso Jones and a free throw for a six-point lead that proved big enough for the Panthers (27-4).

"Mark was bringing the ball down, looking to go inside, but Patrick [Ngongba] backed off and he took the three," said Jones. "Thank God he made it."

"After they tied the game I just told myself we needed a basket," said Karcher, who along with Jones was named co-tournament MVP.

Calvert Hall, after leading by as many as eight points in the second quarter, saw the Panthers pull even at halftime and open a 56-47 lead after a third quarter in which Karcher and junior forward Charles Beaufort (12 points) combined for 13 of the team's 19 points.

"What hurt us late in the second quarter was that on offense we stopped moving," said Cardinals coach Mark Amatucci. "That was the turning point. In the fourth quarter, we did a good job defensively to get even, but Karcher hit those big baskets."

Calvert Hall did manage to cut the lead to 70-67 with 19 seconds left on a Juan Dixon three-pointer. But a free throw by Jones provided the final margin and the third tournament championship for St. Frances in the '90s.

"We stepped up the defense in the second half, especially on Dixon," said St. Frances coach William Wells. "We told them to step over the pick and that really helped. Everybody played hard and played well. It was a great win for us coming from behind and it was a real gutty performance by Calvert Hall."

Dixon scored 26 to lead all scorers and Aaron Herbert added 15 for the Cardinals, hitting all five of his field-goal tries in the second half.

Karcher, Jones, Dixon and Herbert were selected to the All-Tournament team, along with Josh Davalli of Cardinal Gibbons and Danny Whye of Mount St. Joseph. Keith Phoebus of Gibbons was selected as Outstanding Sportsman.

The victory by the Panthers assures them a place in the prestigious Alhambra Tournament later this month, but Amatucci thinks feels his team, which handed the Panthers their only conference loss, also deserves a berth. "I'll tell you one thing, the way we played against the No. 1 team, both St. Frances and Calvert Hall deserve to go to the Alhambra," he said.

In a first quarter that saw the score tied four times, Calvert Hall took a 17-14 lead on a three-pointer by Dixon with five seconds left.

The Cardinals built that lead to eight points (29-21) just over three minutes into the second quarter as Dixon hit a pair of short jumpers, a free throw and a three-pointer in a 12-7 spurt.

But the Panthers came back, outscoring Calvert Hall 10-2 in the final 2: 20 before halftime.

That run was started by two Jones foul shots and finished off by Karcher with a six-foot jumper in the lane that tied the game at 37-37 with two seconds left in the half.

Both teams shot over 50 percent in the half. Calvert Hall, making 15 of 28 from the field, was led by Dixon's 17. St. Frances hit on 16 of 31. , with Karcher and Jones combining for 25 points.

CALVERT HALL -- Dixon 26, Herbert 15, Peoples 6, Anyan 10, Ngongba 10. Totals 26 11-17 67.

ST. FRANCES -- Jones 17, Byrd 4, Payton 4, Wingate 4, Karcher 26, Beaufort 12, Hampton 4. Totals 31 6-15 71.

Halftime: Tied, 37-37.

Pub Date: 3/05/96

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