McDonogh fights off St. Frances rally, 71-68

Final-minute foul shooting helps No. 9 Eagles prevail

Boys basketball

January 23, 2003|By Sam Atkinson | Sam Atkinson,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The ninth-ranked McDonogh boys basketball team survived a furious final minute against No. 8 St. Frances yesterday to earn a 71-68 victory in a Baltimore Catholic League/Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference game.

The final minute seemed like an eternity for the visiting Eagles, as a flurry of scoring from both teams produced 20 points in the final 60 seconds. McDonogh did its scoring at the foul line, going 7-for-10 while the Panthers made a late rally with three-pointers and quick layups.

"We shot really poorly [at the free-throw line] up until that point," said McDonogh coach Matt MacMullan. "It comes down to turnovers and free throws, and we didn't turn it over and we made our foul shots."

It was a tale of two halves for the Panthers (13-4, 4-3), who fell behind early and trailed 36-26 at halftime.

"It is hard to lose a game like this one, especially at home. We have to play two halves," said St. Frances coach William Wells. "We played horrible the first half and that is the bottom line. They beat us, but we beat ourselves."

McDonogh's starting five scored in double figures, led by junior Justin Drummond with a game-high 17 points. Senior Mike Popoko (16 points, 11 rebounds) and Alex White (10, 10) added double doubles upfront for the Eagles (16-2, 7-1). Guards Corey Davis and Jon Brick scored 13 and 11 points, respectively.

"We knew it was going to be a close game. The two teams are pretty even and we knew it was going to come down to one or two possessions," MacMullan said. "Any win on the road in this league is huge. This is a tough place to play and they are a great team."

St. Frances senior Derrick Brookes (16 points) made his third three-pointer of the night with nine seconds remaining to pull the Panthers within 70-68. McDonogh junior Corey Davis then went 1-for-2 at the free-throw line, giving the Panthers a final opportunity to tie the game, but senior Gordon Chase's three-point shot bounced off the back of the rim as time expired.

Chase led the Panthers with 16 points and nine rebounds, and senior Bryan Scroggins provided a spark off the bench with 12 second-half points.

Gordon Brown had 10 points in the first half for the Panthers, and senior Demetrick Walker added 10 in the second half .

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