St. Frances makes Alhambra final Panthers win, 78-57, face D.C. team

Hall loses again

Boys basketball

March 22, 1997|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

FROSTBURG -- Among the list of things on the chalkboard of St. Frances' locker room last night, coach William Wells had a simple request at the top. It read: "Please win this one."

After winning their opener by 74 points, the No. 2-ranked Panthers continued their strong run at the Alhambra Invitational Tournament, defeating St. Thomas Aquinas, from Oakville, Ontario, just west of Toronto, 78-57, in a semifinal game at Frostburg State.

Mark Karcher, The Sun's All-Metro Player of the Year, led St. Frances with 19 points, and Kevin Smith added 17. Shawn Hampton scored 14 and had a game-high 18 rebounds -- plus seven blocks. Rodney Baptiste led St. Thomas Aquinas (42-4) with 19 points.

The Panthers (32-6) will attempt to become only the second team to repeat as Alhambra champions when they face Archbishop Carroll of Washington, D.C., at 8 tonight. Carroll defeated Hyattsville's DeMatha, 62-60, in the other semifinal game.

St. Frances played St. Thomas Aquinas at the St. Matthews Tournament in Canada to begin the season. The Panthers had to rally from an eight-point deficit in the game's final two minutes for a 69-66 triumph. But there was no such suspense last night: St. Frances built a 40-19 halftime lead.

In two tournament games, St. Frances has won by a combined margin of 95 points and has yet to be behind.

"It's hard to get a team focused for a tournament," said Wells. "My concern right now is winning the championship."

The Panthers dominated the boards, out-rebounding St. Thomas Aquinas, 49-31.

St. Thomas Aquinas, which knocked off the nation's No. 25 team, Gonzaga, of Washington, D.C., on Thursday, was able to climb within 10 at 56-46 on a three-pointer by Baptiste with 7: 09 remaining in the game.

But any hope of a rally was quickly ended when Karcher followed a miss by Smith with a basket and David Manigault added a free throw, building the Panthers' lead back to 59-46 with 6: 11 left. St. Frances led no fewer by 11 points the rest of the game.

Karcher wasn't the Panther with the hot hand in the early going for St. Frances. It was Smith, a 6-foot-4 sophomore, who scored 13 points in the first half.

His first two scores helped spark a 13-2 run that put St. Frances in front, 15-4. Smith had four three-pointers in the first half.

The Panthers continued their clinic in the second quarter -- rebounding, passing, running the floor, forcing turnovers, as the lead grew to 40-14 after a three-point play by Karcher.

"We expected a much closer game, like the one in Canada," said Hampton, a 6-foot-8 junior center. "We got a little sloppy late in the game, but we played very well."

No. 4 Calvert Hall (26-8) suffered its second straight loss at the Alhambra, losing, 68-51, to Archbishop Carroll (28-2) of Radnor, Pa., ranked No. 15 nationally in this week's USA Today.

Martin Inglesby, headed to Notre Dame, led the Valley Forge-area squad with 21 points. Juan Dixon led Calvert Hall with 14 points and Aaron Herbert added 13. The Cardinals will play Bishop Walsh of Cumberland for seventh place at 3 p.m. today.

ST. THOMAS AQUINAS -- Saulez 10, Gorham 12, Baptiste 19, Tilley 4, Sola 8, Gloger 4. Totals 24 6-10 57.

ST. FRANCES -- Karcher 19, Hampton 14, Smith 17, Byrd 13, Beaufort 10, Manigault 3, Wingate 2. Totals 31 13-17 78. Half: SF, 40-19

ARCHBISHOP CARROLL -- Carter 4, Hartman 4, M. Inglesby 21, Judge 11, Kuzniarz 20, Phillips 6, Sullivan 2. Totals 21 22-29 68.

CALVERT HALL -- Dixon 14, Herbert 13, Bryant 10, Randall 3, Williams 3, Peoples 3, Diggs 5. Totals 17 13-17 51. Half: AC, 28-24.

Pub Date: 3/22/97

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