No. 12 Mount St. Joseph is used to playing against the odds. Many in the Catholic League had written off the Gaels after their 0-5 start this season, but they came back to finish fourth in the league.
The Gaels came back again last night.
After trailing the entire game, Mount St. Joseph's Sean Johnson sank two free throws with 13 seconds left to force overtime. Teammate Torrey Butler then scored five of his game-high 27 points in the extra period, the last one coming on a free throw with two seconds left that gave the Gaels a 71-70 victory over Calvert Hall in a Catholic League Tournament semifinal at Goucher College.
Mount St. Joseph (24-8) advances to tonight's final at Goucher against second-seeded Towson Catholic, which topped Loyola in the other semifinal. Calvert Hall was the first No. 8 seed ever to beat a No. 1 seed in the tournament, which it did Friday against three-time defending champion St. Frances.
Butler came up big for St. Joe. He made 12 of 16 from the field with nine rebounds, two assists and two steals. The senior had been somewhat quiet in the third and fourth quarters and wanted to show something after Johnson's clutch free throws sent the game into overtime.
"I caught my second wind, and I felt like I had to step it up," said Butler, whose first free throw with two seconds left broke the 70-70 tie. "I've never been in a situation like that situation. I had two shots and knew I could hit at least one."
The Gaels took their first lead in the overtime. Don Brandenberg of Calvert Hall (16-16) tied the game at 70 with 29 seconds left, but missed the ensuing free throw.
Butler got the rebound and then missed a jumper with six seconds left. He was fouled on the rebound to set up his game-winning free throw.
Calvert Hall's Reggie Bryant (23 points) then barely missed a 25-foot shot at the buzzer.
Calvert Hall was up 49-40 heading into the fourth quarter. But the Gaels chipped away by going inside to their front line of Butler, Johnson (22 points, seven rebounds) and Jim Baronas (eight points, five rebounds, four assists).
"We played super tonight," said Calvert Hall coach Mark Amatucci. "We had a successful season."
CALVERT HALL -- Bryant 23, Biggs 8, Randell 20, Olkowski 10, Woodley 5, Brandenberg 4. Totals: 27 14-20 70.
MOUNT ST. JOSEPH -- Butler 27, Johnson 22, Baronas 8, Goode 9, Romanoski 2, Dotson 2, Randall 1. Totals: 29 12-16 71. Half: CH, 31-25
Pub Date: 3/02/98