No. 1 St. Frances runs away from Gibbons late, 96-85

Panthers defend ranking, dealing hosts their 1st loss

Boys basketball

High Schools

December 17, 2003|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

St. Frances is one of the last boys basketball teams an opponent wants to fly up and down the court with trading baskets.

Upstart Cardinal Gibbons got into that kind of game with the top-ranked Panthers last night and suffered its first loss, 96-85, at home.

The teams shot extremely well in the up-tempo game. Darnell Harris led the victors of coach William Wells with 25 points. Gordon "Gus" Chase and Gordon Brown added 21 each as the Panthers shot 56 percent from the field, hitting 34 of 61 shots.

Two other Panthers were in double figures as Darron Edwards scored 18 and Rashawn Alexander had 11.

Gibbons shot 53 percent on 32 of 60 attempts, but the Panthers (8-1) were able to overcome Leon Williams' 31 points and 13 rebounds.

Kenny Hasbrouck had 22 points, Brett Foelber added 16 and Mike Grace had three three-pointers and 13 points for Gibbons (7-1).

Williams, a 6-foot-8 center who is headed to Ohio University, had 27 points through three periods as the Crusaders took a 74-71 lead into the final eight minutes.

St. Frances simply outran the Crusaders in the last period, outscoring the hosts 25-11 at Gibbons' O. Ray Mullis Gym. The Panthers sank 12 of 17 free-throw attempts, including 10 in a row at one point, to pull away in the last eight minutes.

"It concerned me early that we were trading baskets with them," said Gibbons coach Bob Flynn, who appears to have built a Baltimore Catholic League contender at the southwest school.

"St. Frances is so good, so consistent offensively. It's so hard to get stops on them. They wore us down at the end."

Despite the fact that Gibbons might be the most improved team in the league, the Panthers were not worried.

"No, we're veterans and we've been here before," said Chase, who also had eight rebounds. "We play a team game and stepped it up and got the job done."

Harris, a flashy senior guard, definitely stepped it up and was 6-for-6 at the line in the final period.

"Yeah, we had to step it up in the last couple minutes," said Harris. "We decided this was a win we needed to build our confidence playing as a team."

Chase and Harris agreed that moving to No. 1 in The Sun poll yesterday got the Panthers revved up.

"It motivated us even more because there are lot of doubters out there thinking we aren't No. 1," said Chase.

"We've got to hold our ground. Their fans were saying that they were No. 1. But we beat them three times last year and we're No. 1."

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