FROSTBURG - Mount St. Joseph's bid to advance to the Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament final at Frostburg State University ended in the final minute last night.
The No. 11-ranked Gaels, the last entry into the prestigious boys basketball tournament, were downed by St. John Neumann of Philadelphia, 53-48, in the semifinals. The bitter loss came one night after the Gaels had upset defending champion DeMatha.
Neumann (20-7) meets Gonzaga (27-7), a 77-42 semifinal winner over Roman Catholic, at 8:15 tonight in the championship game. The third-place game, between Roman Catholic (21-6) and Mount St. Joseph (23-11), is at 7 p.m.
J. J. Outlaw, who led the Mount with 18 points, hit a free throw to tie the score at 39 with 5:25 remaining; a tap-in by Keon Lattimore (12 points) gave the Gaels the lead for the last time at 41-39.
Neumann's Chris DelBrocco hit a three for a 42-41 lead. Ahead 48-45 with a minute left, the Pirates sealed the outcome from the foul line.
There were three ties in the first half, with each team hitting three three-pointers. Neumann relinquished a seven-point lead midway through the second quarter, but took a 27-25 lead into halftime on a jumper by Richard Cunningham.
Earlier in the day, No. 5 Towson Catholic (28-8) bounced back from its fourth straight first-round loss to Gonzaga of Washington on Thursday for the consolation semifinal victory over host Bishop Walsh, 76-49.
Carmelo Anthony came out firing, scoring 14 points in the first period on the way to a game-high 25 points. Darnell Hopkins chipped in 16 points. For Walsh (16-16), Kevin Orndorf scored 11 and Eric Perlozzo added 10.
Towson Catholic meets DeMatha a 71-63 winner over Goretti (24-11) in yesterday's other consolation semifinal, at 4:45 p.m. today. The Owls have lost the past three consolation finals.
A 17-time champion of this tournament, DeMatha raced out on Goretti with a 22-5 burst in the first quarter and led 34-18 at halftime.
The Gaels didn't make a serious run until it was too late, getting within 67-61 with 28 seconds left in the fourth quarter on a three-pointer by Josh Carter.