St. Joe knocks off rust, Walsh, is 37-0

Boys basketball Alhambra

Mount St. Joseph 88 Bishop Walsh 35

High Schools


Frostburg --There was some rust at the outset, but it didn't take long for top-ranked Mount St. Joseph to warm up and roll to an 88-35 victory over host Bishop Walsh of Cumberland in the opener of the 46th Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament at Frostburg State University.

The 37-0 Gaels tied the state record for most wins in a season set by Riverdale Baptist in 1999-2000 (37-7) and can break the record at 7:30 tonight in the Alhambra semifinals against St. Joseph's Prep (23-4) of Philadelphia, a 57-45 victor over three-time defending champion Bishop O'Connell (20-11) of Arlington, Va. .

Roman Catholic (26-3) and DeMatha (32-1) will meet in the other semifinal.

"We hadn't played for a couple weeks [since winning the 35th Baltimore Catholic League tournament] and got off to a slow start, but like I told the kids, you don't have a chance to win a tournament if you don't win the first game," said Mount St. Joe coach Pat Clatchey. "We know the next two games will be tough and we have a chance to do something that a lot of teams don't get a chance to do and that is to go undefeated."

Louis Birdsong and Dino Gregory, the main post players for Mount St. Joe, had 14 points each to lead a parade of 13 Gaels who scored as Clatchey cleared his bench against the Spartans.

It is the 28th consecutive year in which Bishop Walsh (11-19) lost its first-round game. The last time the Spartans won their opener was in 1978 by 61-54 over Tony Guy-led Loyola.

The hosts have been automatic since, but Clatchey did not take them lightly, especially after they started with a 7-4 lead yesterday as the Gaels missed severral easy shots. By the half, Mount St. Joe was up 49-13 and took a 70-24 lead into the final eight minutes as a bevy of underclassmen took the court with a rare chance to play.

"After the slow start, we stepped it up and got it done early," said Gregory, a 6-foot-8 junior who has committed to Maryland.

The Spartans, who were led by 26 points between Milan Trivanovic (14) and Jeremy Sneathen, were no match inside for Birdsong and Gregory and 6-9 sophomore Henry Sims.

"It felt great to get back out there after being off, but Coach told us that we can't come out slow and sluggish in the next one like we did today," said the 6-6 Birdsong, who is headed to George Mason.

"We need to come out strong [tonight]. I'm excited about what we're trying to accomplish, but we still need to go game-by-game."

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