Mount St. Joseph survives test by Gibbons

Gaels to play St. Frances

TC, Calvert Hall advance

Catholic League boys basketball tournament

High Schools

February 27, 2005|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Ripe to be upset, top-ranked Mount St. Joseph escaped yesterday with a 53-43 victory over Cardinal Gibbons in the Baltimore Catholic League quarterfinals at Loyola College and advanced to today's semifinals.

The top-seeded and defending champion Gaels (29-2) play St. Frances at 7 p.m. today. St. Frances (17-15) defeated No. 12 Archbishop Spalding, 59-36.

Seventh-ranked and second-seeded Towson Catholic, a 59-39 winner over Loyola, plays No. 14 Calvert Hall at 5:15 in tonight's first semifinal. Calvert Hall slipped by St. Maria Goretti, 48-44.

Today's survivors will play Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the 34th Catholic League final.

Mount St. Joseph, which is seeking to become the fifth team in BCL history to win the tournament three consecutive times, trailed Gibbons 11-7 after the first period and had only a 22-20 lead at the half.

Louis Birdsong, who had a game-high 19 points, scored a dozen in the first half to put the Gaels on top, but the Crusaders hung in and were down by 36-33 entering the last eight minutes.

An 11-2 run by the Gaels to start the final period featured back-to-back three-pointers by guards Brian Johnson (11 of his 13 points in last period) and Greg Woody, who fed each other. The three-pointers boosted the Gaels' lead to 47-35.

"They [Gibbons] were keeping it tight and when we made the threes, it sealed the deal for us," said Woody, who scored 11 points.

"We never quit and knew we would eventually get it done," said Gaels coach Pat Clatchey, who also said that Woody is the most underrated player in the Catholic League. "Greg does so many things, plays great defense, makes clutch shots and free throws."

Gibbons (13-18), the eighth seed, beat the Gaels on the boards 16-6 in the first half and 26-17 for the game.

Lawrence Nwevo was the man in the paint for Towson Catholic (23-8) with 12 points and 10 rebounds in their romp over the seventh-seeded Dons.

Loyola was led by Brett Keller's 14 points and finished its season at 9-20 under first-year coach Mike Hibbs.

Ricky Harris, the Catholic League co-Player of the Year with Mount St. Joseph's Brian Johnson, scored eight of his game-high 22 points in the last three minutes to lead the Cardinals (23-12) over the Goretti Gaels (19-13).

Senior Reggie Holmes (16 points) and freshman Sean Mosley combined for 30 points as fifth-seeded St. Frances blew out fourth-seeded Spalding (21-12).

Lawrence Dixon led Spalding with 16 points.

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