Mt. St. Joe rises in fourth to win

Gaels finish on 13-4 run to down Gibbons, 54-46

High Schools

Boys basketball

December 22, 2003|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Other than the final score, the No. 7 Cardinal Gibbons-No. 4 Mount St. Joseph boys basketball game in Irvington yesterday lived up to expectations.

In what was their Baltimore Catholic League opener, the host Gaels did what had to be done down the stretch to take a 54-46 decision over the Crusaders.

It was a matchup of two teams that like to run and finish. Only the expected high score was missing as both teams shot below 40 percent from the field.

All the other ingredients that make for a great high school game were there. Intensity, fast-paced action and no big leads fueled a spirited atmosphere at the packed house.

"It was a great high school game - Catholic League basket- ball right there," said Pat Clatchey, 12th-year coach of the defending league champion Gaels.

"Both teams laid it on the line and played it on the line."

Courtney Thomas, a 6-foot-4 junior forward, scored eight of his team-high 14 points in the final period as the Gaels (8-1, 1-0) outscored the visitors 13-4 in the last three minutes.

"We're defending our title, and wanted to go home with a win," said Thomas.

"We knew Cardinal Gibbons is really improved."

Will Thomas, the 6-7 center and returning BCL Player of the Year who is headed to George Mason, chipped in with 13 points and game highs of 14 rebounds and three blocks.

Gibbons' 6-8 center Leon Williams led the Crusaders (8-2, 1-2) with 17 points and eight rebounds. The Ohio University-bound senior scored 11 of his points in the fourth quarter.

Kenny Hasbrouck also scored 17, and his basket with slightly more than three minutes to go gave Gibbons a 44-41 lead.

But the Gaels responded, getting a three-point play from Will Thomas and two free throws from Brian Johnson (11 points, six assists) to retake the lead.

Williams' free throw pulled the Crusaders within 46-45, but a reverse layup by Courtney Thomas put Mount St. Joseph ahead 48-45 with 1:30 left.

The Gaels put the lid on it by sinking six straight from the line, the last four by senior Leroy Mack.

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