Mount Zion overcomes St. Frances, 70-63 Warriors stand tall in Charm City final

February 02, 1997|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

Perhaps Mount Zion, a team rated No. 2 in the country by USA Today, and boasting a Division I prospect who expects to turn pro in June, was simply too tall an order for St. Frances.

At any rate, there would be no heroic finish by Mark Karcher, who, along with his teammates, played in their third game in as many nights, losing last night's Northwest Bracket title game of the Charm City Classic, 70-63, before 4,217 at the Towson Center at Towson State.

The Panthers (22-5), who on Thursday got Karcher's buzzer-beating three-pointer to edge St. John's Prospect Hall, 75-74, in the Charm City semifinal, and on Friday downed Catholic League-rival Loyola, kept it close against the taller Warriors (20-1).

In the end, the Panthers were done in by the Warriors' height and free-throw shooting down the stretch. They were 12-for-18 from the line.

"I thought we made some crucial turnovers. The referees helped them a lot with the kicked balls, but nonetheless, we played with them for three quarters," said St. Frances coach William Wells, whose team was 20-for-25 from the line -- Karcher going 14-for-17. "In the end, they made their foul shots and we didn't."

On the floor at various times for Mount Zion were Brian Williams and Travis Robinson, both at 6 feet 7; top scorer Tracy McGrady (29 points, four steals, four rebounds, three blocks), who stands 6-8; George Mazyck, who is 6-9; and Donald Little (four points, three blocks), who is 6-10. The Warriors also had Corey Hightower, who is 6-6.

McGrady has said he intends to skip college to make himself eligible for the NBA draft.

Behind Karcher (29 points, four assists, three steals), at 6-5, and 6-8 teammate Shawn Hampton (14 points, a game-high 11 rebounds), the Panthers, ranked No. 3 in The Sun's Top 20, battled well. Hampton's dunk, off a steal and assist from Karcher, gave the Panthers a 52-49 lead with 6: 01 left in the game.

"We were a little tired, but we fought hard and almost pulled it out," said Hampton, who led all players with five rebounds in the first half. "We knew we could play with them, it was just a matter of playing."

After J. R. Raymond's three-pointer put the Warriors up, 54-52, Karcher's three-point play -- off a steal and assist by Armondo Graham -- had the Panthers ahead, 55-54, with 3: 06 to play. After McGrady's pair of free throws, Karcher assisted Darran Byrd for a 57-56 lead, the Panthers' final of the game, with 2: 11 left.

"We had some energy left, but they did also," said Karcher, who shared the tournament's co-MVP honors with McGrady. "In the fourth quarter, they wanted the game more.

"They have a bunch of great players, but without the turnovers, it could have been a different game. They turned our turnovers into points, and crashed the boards harder than us."

A tip-in by Little and a dunk by McGrady -- his second of the night -- put the Warriors up 61-57 with 1: 52 left.

The Panthers closed to within 63-59 on a Karcher layup, but were outscored 7-4 the rest of the way.

"We didn't have good ball movement," Wells said. "We knew that they would be physical. But we stood around instead of running our offense."

Mount Zion led 19-15 after the first period, getting eight points from Travis Spivey, and a midcourt steal by McGrady -- who swiped it from Karcher -- that led to a layup.

St. Frances had four points each from Karcher, Hampton and guard David Manigault, whose jumper gave the Panthers a 14-12 lead with just over two minutes left in the first period. However, the Warriors closed with a 7-1 run, capped by Spivey's three-point play.

St. Frances, which trailed 32-31 at halftime, opened the second period with a 10-3 run, tying the game at 22 on a three-pointer by Karcher -- who had nine points in the period. The Panthers went up 25-22 when Kevin Smith completed a three-point play.

But the Warriors responded with a 10-2 run that included dunks by McGrady and Williams -- the latter giving the Warriors a 32-27 lead with 1: 53 to go in the half. Karcher went 4-for-4 at the line to bring the Panthers within one point.

In the third period, which ended with Mount Zion holding a 49-46 lead, the lead changed hands five times before Hampton, on a put-back, and Karcher, on a layup off the glass, gave the Panthers a 40-36 lead.

But the Warriors closed with a 13-6 run that included McGrady's three-pointer for a 43-42 lead with 2: 36 left in the period.

St. John's Prospect Hall 72, Simon Gratz 60: SimJoshua Merkel had a team-high 22 points, Jason Capel added 17 and two more teammates also scored in double figures as St. John's Prospect Hall won yesterday's Northwest bracket consolation game.

Merkel, a 5-11 guard, went 6-for-10 from three-point range, and ,, 6-8, 215-pound Capel, a junior, went 6-for-8 from the field, 4-for-6 from the line, grabbed eight rebounds, had two blocks and dished off four assists.

Also scoring in double figures for St. John's were 6-8, 240-pound Antxon Ituree (14 points, six rebounds) and Shike Lee (11 points).

Jarrett Kearse, a 6-6 guard, led Simon Gratz with 27 points and six assists. Shatee Cooks (6-7, 235) contributed 10 points, going 4-for-6 from the field for the Bulldogs.

St. John's led only 32-29 at the half and 47-45 entering the fourth period, but outscored the Bulldogs 25-15 in the final quarter.

Pub Date: 2/02/97

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