Seventh-ranked Mount St. Joseph held off a late rally by
visiting and No. 2 Calvert Hall to post a 60-59 victory in the Catholic League opener for both teams last night.
Aaron Bowles scored 15 points to lead Mount St. Joseph (11-2) and Corey McNeill added 14, including a free throw with 15 seconds left which proved decisive. Juan Dixon led Calvert Hall (12-2) with a game-high 21 points, and freshman Reggie Bryant added 11.
Dixon, who scored 17 in the final quarter after not playing in the first half because of a "violation of a school procedure," according to Calvert Hall coach Mark Amatucci, missed a long three-point attempt with four seconds left. Gary Williams grabbed the rebound and put the ball back in, but time had expired.
"We were supposed to get a screen up on the ball, which would have allowed [Dixon] to move around," said Amatucci. "He had no where to go."
The Gaels, who led by 17 points, held a 57-50 lead with 1: 38 remaining in regulation, but Dixon scored the next five for Calvert Hall, pulling the Cardinals to within 57-55 with 32 seconds left.
After a timeout by the Gaels, Bowles hit two free throws with 29 seconds left. Calvert Hall closed to within two points again when Bryant drove nearly the length of the court and powered in for a score and was fouled.
Bryant, who sat alongside Dixon for the entire first half and part of the second half, missed the free throw and Gary Williams just missed tipping the ball back in for the Cardinals.
McNeill was fouled quickly by Calvert Hall and he converted the second of the bonus one-and-ones as the Gaels hit three of their last four free throws after missing six of the previous seven.
"We knew they would come back and make a run," said McNeill, a senior. "We just kept our composure and played hard down the stretch."
The Gaels had a 50-40 lead with 5: 17 remaining after a jumper by Bowles. But Calvert Hall scored six straight, four from Dixon, to make it 50-46.
Three free throws by Mount St. Joseph extended its lead to 53-46, but a Dixon jumper brought Calvert Hall to within 53-48.
McNeill responded for Mount St. Joseph with a three-pointer with 2: 30 left, extending the lead to 56-48. Dixon continued his one-man assault, hitting another jumper, closing the deficit to six.
"We started playing not to lose instead of playing to win," said Mount St. Joseph coach Pat Clatchely. "We lost some aggression, especially when Juan came into the game, but we weathered the storm."
Freddie Biggs hit a three-pointer to open the scoring for Calvert Hall, but then things slow deteriorated for the Cardinals.
The Gaels ran off eight straight points and led, 12-9, at the end of the first quarter.
The second period belonged to Mount St. Joseph. The Gaels outscored the Cardinals, 23-9, to build a 35-18 halftime edge.
Pub Date: 1/04/97