No. 11 Eastern Tech loses game to Mt. St. Joe, but wins respect

Upstart Mavericks test No. 10 Gaels before dropping 67-61 decision

Boys basketball

High Schools

January 17, 2001|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Known for its football team in recent years, the Eastern Tech boys basketball team is etching its own mark these days, and nearly pulled off a huge upset in Irvington yesterday.

The visiting Mavericks gave Baltimore Catholic League power Mount St. Joseph all it could handle before bowing, 67-61, as J.J. Outlaw led the Gaels with 29 points to overcome 24 points by the Mavs' senior point guard Ricky Benson.

Eastern Tech has never been ranked as high in The Sun's top 20 than it was going into last night's game, at No. 11.

The Mavericks dropped to 11-2 with the loss - their other loss was to undefeated No. 8 Dulaney - but still may have answered the skeptics.

"I think we have to be taken for real and I think people do now," said Eastern Tech coach Todd Wade. "We're starting to make some great strides. We've improved every single year and we finally broke into the rankings ... and now we're No. 11. Our kids always think they are going to win."

The upstart Baltimore County League team sure impressed the host fans and St. Joe coach Pat Clatchey, who annually tries to schedule many of the metro area's top public school teams.

"I thought they would be a pretty good team with talent and they're pretty well-coached," said Clatchey, whose No. 10 Gaels (15-4) are one of the BCL contenders and just last week humbled then No. 3 Towson Catholic, 63-46.

"But I was disappointed with our play from the 4 1/2 -minute-mark down. We just did not play smart basketball and that's sort of been our problem all year."

After leading 34-28 at the half, the Gaels pushed their lead to 52-38 by the end of the third. Outlaw's final field goal of the night gave the Gaels a 61-47 lead with about 4:30 remaining, but the Mavericks didn't surrender.

Benson hit his second three of the final eight minutes to ignite a 10-0 run by the Mavericks. Their second-half zone designed to keep the ball away from the Gaels' 6-8 Kevin Mickens was paying dividends. Mickens scored 11 of his 14 points in the first half and did not score a field goal in the second half.

After the Mavericks got to within 61-57, the Gaels hit their foul shots to hold on, sinking six of eight in the last 50 seconds with Keon Lattimore (seven points, six rebounds, two blocks) bagging three of four.

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