Lattimore lifts Mount St. Joe, 45-35

Boys basketball

High Schools

February 12, 2003|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Keon Lattimore's effort in the third period and an outstanding team defensive performance carried Mount St. Joseph to a crucial 45-35 victory over host McDonogh last night.

Lattimore scored 12 of his game-high 16 points in the third period, eight of them in a row, to turn a five-point advantage into a nine-point lead at 34-25 to ignite the No. 3-ranked Gaels.

Back-to-back three-pointers by Lattimore in his surge were followed by a basket from Willie Horne and a layup by Lattimore as the Gaels closed the period with their biggest lead of the game, 38-25.

"Keon was in a zone and got us a double-digit lead that made us feel comfortable enough that we would hold them off, " said Mount St. Joseph coach Pat Clatchey.

"And when you hold a team to 35 points, I think you play good defense individually and collectively."

In avenging an early-season, 45-44 loss at home to the No. 8 Eagles, the Gaels, who have won 15 in a row, knocked McDonogh out of first place in the Baltimore Catholic League/Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference.

Mount St. Joseph (23-2) is 12-2 in a combined 16-game schedule of the two leagues. The Gaels have a half-game lead over No. 5 Archbishop Spalding (20-4, 11-2).

McDonogh (22-4) is 11-3 in the league, with two straight losses, the other by 53-45 to Spalding on Saturday. Spalding will play host to the Gaels at 7 p.m. Friday in a battle for first place and the top seed in the league tournament at Goucher College, Feb. 21-24.

"We told our guys if we win out we're in good shape," said Clatchey.

"Tonight, winning on the road against a very good team should help us in our last two games, which are on the road."

The Gaels held McDonogh's leading scorer, Mike Popoko, who had 16 points in the first meeting, to five points last night. The 6-foot-5 Popoko, who had a game-high 13 rebounds, was hounded by Mount St. Joseph's 6-7 junior, Will Thomas, and 6-6 forwards Horne and Anthony Fair.

"They just played better defense than we did," said McDonogh coach Matt MacMullan.

Mount St. Joseph and McDonogh started slow, both playing what was basically a half-court game in which the Gaels took a 9-8 lead at the end of the first period on a basket by Horne.

Thomas, who had 12 rebounds, scored four of his 11 points in the second quarter, including two with 10 seconds left, to send his team to the break with a 20-16 lead.

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