St. Frances tops Calvert Hall in rematch Cardinals trail from start, in 63-50 Panthers victory

February 08, 1997|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

When Calvert Hall knocked off St. Frances last month at the University of Baltimore, some thought that the Panthers' coming off a late-night victory over Lake Clifton the night before was the difference. Neither team wanted to use that as an excuse.

In the rematch last night before a standing-room-only crowd at Calvert Hall, both teams came in rested and ready to play for first in the Catholic League.

With Mark Karcher in foul trouble for most of the second half, the No. 3 Panthers (24-5, 8-1) came through with a big defensive effort, turning back No. 2 Calvert Hall, 63-50, to edge closer to a third straight regular-season championship.

Karcher led all scorers with 20 points, and Shawn Hampton added 15, 13 rebounds and five blocks for St. Frances. Juan Dixon led Calvert Hall (20-4, 5-2) with 19 points, and Aaron Herbert contributed another 10.

Dixon, possibly the area's best shooter, was covered defensively by Darran Byrd and never got into a consistent stroke, finishing 8-for-20 from the field. Neither did the Cardinals, as St. Frances led from the game's first basket.

"We knew it would be a tough game, playing up here," said St. Frances coach William Wells. "The guys really wanted this one and take a step towards winning another championship."

Calvert Hall cut the lead to 48-42 with 4: 51 left in the game. Then Karcher responded for the Panthers with a jumper that was followed by a layup from Byrd, building a 52-42 margin with 3: 40 left.

"It was an uphill climb at that point," said Calvert Hall coach Mark Amatucci. "We had a lot of momentum going at that time. If we could have gotten another stop and get it to within four, we had a good shot."

The Cardinals never could take advantage of Karcher's foul troubles. He picked his fourth with 4: 16 left in the third quarter and St. Frances holding a 40-28 lead. By the time Karcher returned with 1: 30 left, the deficit was 40-32.

Byrd and Hampton played a big part. Byrd staying with Dixon, and Hampton's rebounding inside and shot blocking made things difficult offensively for Calvert Hall.

"We struggled tonight offensively," said Dixon, who scored one basket in the final quarter. "They beat us on the offensive boards. We never had any momentum and had to play catch-up."

Byrd's inbound pass to Hampton for a layup built the Panthers' lead to 44-34 with 7: 04 left in the game. After Reggie Bryant's three-pointer cut the lead to 44-37, Karcher scored the next four for a 48-37 lead with 5: 53 left.

"Our goal wasn't to play one person," said Hampton, a 6-foot-8 junior. "Our goal was to play solid team defense and don't let them dictate to us. It was a great effort."

Karcher had problems finding his shot early, finally hitting a jumper with 1: 21 remaining in the opening period, giving St. Frances an 11-5 advantage.

Dixon followed with a three-point play, ending nearly a four-minute scoreless drought. The Panthers held a 15-9 advantage after the opening quarter.

"We were ready to play tonight," said Wells. "We were able to play well as a team today. Good passing, good rebounding and good defense helped us to win today."

Pub Date: 2/08/97

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