Mt. St. Joe trips up St. Frances at line

Gaels make most of game of 77 fouls shots, win, 73-68

Boys basketball

High Schools

January 13, 2003|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

There are no more unbeaten teams in the combined boys basketball Baltimore Catholic League/Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference.

Fourth-ranked St. Frances became the last to fall, losing yesterday at No. 7 Mount St. Joseph, 73-68, in a game that was defined by 77 free throws.

"They won the battle of the foul lines," said St. Frances coach William Wells, whose team nearly overcame a 19-point halftime deficit but slipped to 3-1 in league play. "We had to foul to get back into the game and their guys took it to us on the line."

Mount St. Joseph was 32-for-38 at the line, including 21-for-24 in the fourth quarter, compared with St. Frances' 30-for-39 performance, 14-for-16 in the final period alone.

Junior guard Gordon Brown hit 16 of 17 free throws and finished with 33 points in helping St. Frances to mount its comeback, but the Gaels hung on behind 6-foot-7 junior Will Thomas, who hit two free throws with 13 seconds left to push the margin to 72-66.

Thomas scored 21 points, with more than half of them coming on a half-dozen two-handed dunks. He was also 5-for-7 from the line, and had nine rebounds and two blocked shots.

Senior guard Kyle O'Connor followed Thomas with 19 points and was 10-for-10 from the line, the last eight coming in the final period.

At 3-1, St. Frances is percentage points behind 5-1 McDonogh in a highly competitive race. No. 9 McDonogh lost Friday at No. 5 Archbishop Spalding.

Spalding and Mount St. Joseph are 5-2 each in league play, with No. 14 Towson Catholic 3-2.

Leading 39-20 at halftime, Mount St. Joseph was outscored 22-9 in the third quarter by the Panthers, who cut the deficit to 48-42. Gordon Chase was the only other Panther in double figures, with 11 points; he also had seven rebounds.

"We thought we had it in our hands and let up our intensity and effort, and they came back on us," O'Connor said.

St. Frances (11-2) cut the deficit to 68-66 with 27 seconds left after Mount St. Joseph coach Pat Clatchey was called for a technical foul with 41 seconds left.

Clatchey was loosening his necktie when a whistle blew, after which his tie went sailing into the stands.

The Gaels then hit five of their final six free throws to cap the incredible fourth quarter on the line.

"It was a great exhibition of shooting free throws under pressure," Clatchey said. "The lesson to be learned is that the game is 32 minutes. We played a great first 16 minutes, but let them back into the game. But we hung tough and persevered ... to come out with a win."

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