St. Joe nips DeMatha, 57-56, in Alhambra

Towson Catholic falls at line

Goretti defeated

High Schools

March 16, 2001|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

FROSTBURG - Corey Copeland made four straight free throws in the final 31 seconds, and Kevin Mickens added another as No.11-ranked Mount St. Joseph stunned 17-time champion DeMatha, 57-56, last night in the the 41st Alhambra Invitation at Frostburg State University.

The Gaels (23-10) hit 11 of 15 from the foul line in the final period to spring the upset. DeMatha, coached by Morgan Wootten (1,240 wins), was seeking its fourth straight Alhambra title.

Mount St. Joseph is in its third trip to the boys basketball tournament, and, oddly, in its last trip in 1976, knocked off DeMatha in the first round, 74-71, and went on to take third place.

A surprise addition to this year's Alhambra, the Gaels saved the day for the Baltimore Catholic League. Towson Catholic and league champion St. Maria Goretti of Hagerstown both lost yesterday.

No. Towson Catholic (27-8), outshot from the free-throw line by 22-2, lost to Washington's Gonzaga, 54-47. Goretti fell, 70-60, to Philadelphia's St. John Neumann despite 26 points from BCL most valuable player Rodney Gibson.

J. J. Outlaw led Mount St. Joe with 15 points; Mickens had 12.

Mount St. Joe finished fourth in the BCL this season, and coach Pat Clatchey was more than elated when the Gaels received a berth in the Alhambra.

"We had a good season, and I was disappointed we didn't win the title. But we are appreciative to be here," he said. "We had good balance this season, and it showed tonight."

Something else showed that didn't during the regular season as the Gaels shot 20 for 28 at the free-throw line. "The line was our bugaboo all year, but tonight the kids did the job," Clatchey said.

Mount St. Joseph built a 28-19 lead at halftime as Outlaw scored 10 points, and Lionel Jennings and Mickens combined for 13.

After St. Joe led 31-21 with 6:25 left in the third, DeMatha rallied late in the third period behind nine points from Warren Williams. The score was tied at 41 and 43 in the last five minutes, but Gaels free throws built the upset win.

All five Towson Catholic starters got into foul trouble, and Gonzaga, ranked 13th in Washington, took advantage in posting the win that dropped the Owls into the consolation semifinals for the fourth straight year.

Gonzaga sank eight of 10 free-throw attempts in the final period and 22-of-24 for the game.

Eric Price, a 6-foot-1 guard with 21 points, made all eight of his free throws and three three-pointers.

Towson Catholic got to the line only eight times, making just two. Every Owl had at least three fouls; junior Carmelo Anthony had four, and Kevin Hunter fouled out.

"They [Gonzaga] didn't miss [from the line], and we never got a break," said a dejected Towson Catholic coach Mike Daniel.

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