Mt. St. Joe tops Towson Catholic

54-44 victory has Gaels aiming for 1st tourney title in BCL

Spalding wins

Boys basketball

March 03, 2003|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Top-seeded Mount St. Joseph took the first step toward the goal of winning its first Baltimore Catholic League tournament championship.

The No. 2-ranked Gaels outlasted eighth-seeded Towson Catholic, 54-44, in yesterday's second quarterfinal at Goucher College.

Kyle O'Connor's 17 points led the Gaels (26-3), who also got 10 points each from Will Thomas and sophomore Brian Johnson.

Mount St. Joe won its first regular-season title in the 32-year history of the BCL this year and hopes to add the tournament crown, which also would give the Gaels the title of the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference in the combined league.

FOR THE RECORD - In yesterday's sports section, Mount St. Joseph basketball player Keon Lattimore was mis-identified in the caption that accompanied a photo of a game with Towson Catholic.
The Sun regrets the error.

The Gaels will now face St. Frances, which beat Cardinal Gibbons, in tonight's semifinal at 7:45.

Upset-minded Towson Catholic (11-16) was led by Jamal Smith's 17 points, six rebounds and two blocked shots.

The Owls got within 39-36 with 5:40 remaining in the game.

"We had a total breakdown after that and seemed to be back on our heels," Towson Catholic coach Mike Daniel said. "We would make a run and they would answer. They sustained every run we made and deserved to win."

The Owls took an early 9-4 lead, but by the end of the first quarter it was 9-9. Thomas, the BCL Jerry Savage Player of the Year, closed the first eight minutes by scoring five points, the last two as time expired.

After each team opened the second quarter with a basket for an 11-11 tie, the Gaels forged a 13-0 run for a 24-11 lead. Three-pointers by O'Connor and Leroy Mack Jr. highlighted the run.

"We were a little flat in the first quarter, but that [13-0] run got us going," said Mount coach Pat Clatchey, whose team was coming off a 54-52 loss to St. Frances in the final regular-season game that ended its 16-game winning streak.

"But when the top seed has to fight that hard against the eighth seed, it shows how tough this league is."

Towson Catholic cut its 12-point halftime deficit to six despite back-to-back threes by O'Connor in the third quarter.

In the fourth quarter, a three-pointer by Carroll Mitchell (nine points) cut the deficit to 39-36.

Anthony Fair (five rebounds) then scored all five of his points during a 9-0 run by the Gaels to take control of the game at 48-36.

"The loss at St. Frances motivated us," O'Connor said. "We started slow, but we realize we can go down as the greatest team in St. Joe history."

No. 8 Archbishop Spalding 52, Calvert Hall 46: In the first game of the day, the Cavaliers overcame a 20-point effort by the Cardinals' Jack McClinton and the loss of 7-footer Will Bowers with three minutes left.

The Cavaliers will meet No. 9 McDonogh in tonight's semifinal at 6.

Bowers left with a team-high 13 points, followed by Dave Douglas (12 points) and Jesse Brooks (11 points). Sinking 11 of 15 free throws in the final 4:30 enabled the Cavs to prevail.

Spalding (24-5), a winner over Calvert Hall in the regular season by 18 and 17 points, had a 25-13 halftime lead yesterday but couldn't put its opponent away.

"That's the thing about this tournament. Everybody is 0-0 when we start," said Spalding coach Mike Glick. "You can forget the records and seeds. We hit our foul shots down the stretch, especially Jesse. And I thought in that last period that our sophomore, [Lawrence] Dixon, coming off the bench and stepping up was crucial."

Dixon scored all four of his points in the last eight minutes and grabbed two key rebounds.

Calvert Hall (14-16) got within 44-37 with 2:11 remaining on a three-point play by Maurice Martin, who had 14 points. A put-back by McClinton made it 49-43 with 43 seconds left.

No. 9 McDonogh 47, St. Maria Goretti 39, OT: The Eagles got four points from Mike Popoko and five at the foul line from Corey Davis in overtime to put away the Gaels from Hagerstown.

The game ended in regulation tied 39-39.

Popoko, who led McDonogh (25-4) with 14 points, hit a short jumper and two free throws to give the Eagles a 43-39 lead with 1:06 left in overtime.

Davis added four free throws in the final minute to give McDonogh (17-17) the win.

No. 11 St. Frances 72, Cardinal Gibbons 60: Gordon Brown scored 21 points and Darnell Harris and Demetrick Walker had 17 and 12 points, respectively, to lead the Panthers to the victory.

St. Frances is 21-6. Gibbons ended its season at 18-11.

Gibbons was down 26-15 in the second quarter but roared back with a 12-0 run sparked by Glenn Nelson, who had eight of his 13 points in the first half.

St. Frances had a 13-point lead going into the final quarter. The closest the Crusaders came was 62-53 with 1:46 left on a basket by Leon Williams, who had 13 points.

Statistical leaders

(Final, through Saturday; at least 15 games)

Boys basketball

Scoring

(at least 10.0 ppg)

Name (School) G Pts. Avg.

S.Rozanski (Glenelg CS) 18 579 32.2

M. Stevenson (L. Raven) 17 443 26.1

Devin Mason (Granite) 20 453 22.7

L. Owens (Annap.) 22 481 21.9

M. Guest (Glen Burnie) 21 451 21.5

Jake Ayers (N.Harford) 20 429 21.5

Levi Stukes (Randllstn) 15 320 21.3

Essien Ford (Loyola) 31 630 20.3

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