Mt. St. Joe teaches Cal. Hall `D' lesson

Gaels start fast, post 7th straight win, 58-41

Lattimore scores 18

Boys basketball

High Schools

January 18, 2003|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

During the first three weeks of preseason practice, Mount St. Joseph basketball coach Pat Clatchey spends nearly all of his time drilling the importance of relentless man-to-man defense.

At home last night against No. 15 Calvert Hall, the fourth-ranked Gaels showed they had paid attention, giving a virtual clinic on the subject in a 58-41 win in a combined Baltimore Catholic League/Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference game in Irvington.

Facing a team that had posted victories against No. 7 St. Frances and No. 18 Towson Catholic, Mount St. Joseph (15-2 overall, 6-2 league) held the Cardinals to 27-percent shooting in winning its seventh straight.

"The guys understand that the foundation that we lay in those three weeks is going to carry us throughout the season," Clatchey said. "We feel like we have to be able to hang our hat defensively, because if we play defense, we're going to have a chance to win most of our games."

"It's straight-up man-to-man - go hard," said Gaels forward Keon Lattimore. "It's simple. That's all we do. We've just got to have a lot of heart."

That wasn't an issue last night. Led by Lattimore (18 points) and 6-foot-7 center William Thomas, Mount St. Joseph took command right after Calvert Hall scored the opening basket. The Gaels reeled off the next 11 points.

Mount St. Joe also got a huge lift off the bench from guard Leroy Mack Jr., who made a pair of three-pointers in the final 1:20 of the first quarter, helping his team rebuild a lead that dwindled to as little as three, then added a third three-pointer in the waning moments of the half.

The Gaels built their lead to 22 by early in the third quarter before Calvert Hall, led by guard Jack McClinton (game-high 21 points), got to within 15 late in the third. Though they played harder in the second half, grabbing rebounds and hustling after loose balls, the one-dimensional Cardinals would get no closer.

"St. Joe is probably the most athletic and the deepest team we've played so far," said Calvert Hall coach Mark Amatucci. "Offensively, we were very stagnant. I think it's a no-brainer that they're keying on Jack McClinton, and we have to get other people involved in the offense."

Calvert Hall (12-7, 3-4), which hadn't allowed more than 48 points all season, gave up its 49th less than a minute into the fourth quarter. The Gaels hit six of their 12 three-point attempts, including a pair from guard Kyle O'Connor, but it was their defense that on this night played the starring role.

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