Mt. St. Joe gets man, secures 55-48 victory

Woody's `D' of Harris puts clamps on St. Frances

Boys basketball

High Schools

January 12, 2004|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Mount St. Joseph basketball coach Pat Clatchey told Greg Woody Jr. yesterday that he would be facing his toughest matchup of the season.

Assigned to defend Darnell Harris of St. Frances, Woody responded with a gem of a job on him, containing one of the metro area's top shooting guards to 15 points, as the fourth-ranked Gaels posted a 55-48 victory over visiting and No. 2 St. Frances.

"Believe me, he earned his points today against Greg," Clatchey said of Harris, who was held to no field goals and two points in the first half. "We usually put Greg on the other team's top scoring guard. He's been really impressive as our defensive stopper."

The sophomore's defense, combined with a strong game by 6-foot-7 center Will Thomas (19 points, 13 rebounds and three blocked shots), kept the Gaels (13-1) unbeaten in league play.

Mount St. Joseph and No. 1 Archbishop Spalding (12-2) are the only unbeaten teams in the Baltimore Catholic League and Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference at 5-0 each. Spalding, a 59-52 winner yesterday at No. 12 Towson Catholic, plays host to Mount St. Joseph at 7 p.m. Friday.

Despite getting his fourth foul late in the third quarter, Thomas took away second shots by the Panthers (12-3, 3-2) with 10 defensive rebounds and scored five of his points in the last four minutes. His jumper in the paint gave the Gaels a 49-45 lead with 1:28 left.

"I was real worried [about the foul trouble], but I just kept on playing," said Thomas. One of his inside teammates, 6-4 Courtney Thomas (no relation), fouled out early in the fourth quarter with nine points and eight rebounds.

After Woody caused Harris to miss late in the fourth quarter, Will Thomas' rebound led to two free throws by Woody, pushing the Gaels' lead to 51-45 with 50 seconds left.

Woody displayed even more defensive prowess in the first half, holding Harris to just two free throws in the first 16 minutes. The St. Frances standout shot 0-for-4 in the first half with Woody guarding him alone.

Harris' first basket broke a 7-0 Gaels run early in the third quarter. He hit a trio of three-pointers, but finished 5-for-18 from the field.

"I knew he had 25 against Spalding and 21 against TC [Towson Catholic], and that he's a very good scorer," Woody said. "Big Gordon Chase set a couple screens for him to get him open in the second half."

Chase led the Panthers with 14 points and a game-high 16 rebounds, 10 on the defensive end. Gordon Brown had 11 points and eight rebounds for St. Frances, whose coach, William Wells, was upset afterward.

"They didn't beat us," said Wells, whose team shot 19 percent (6-for-31) in the second half and 30 percent for the game (18-for-60). Mount St. Joseph shot 38 percent (20-for-53) overall.

"We beat ourselves, and Darnell has to learn how to get open," Wells added. "People aren't going to let him shoot jump shots."

Woody didn't.

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