St. Joe now 38-0, will play DeMatha

Record-setting Gaels gain final with Stags

Mount St. Joseph 53 St. Joseph's Prep 47

Alhambra

High Schools

March 18, 2006|By PAT O'MALLEY | PAT O'MALLEY,SUN REPORTER

FROSTBURG -- Virginia Clatchey, the mother of Mount St. Joseph coach Pat Clatchey, said when she and her husband, Richard, started taking their son to the Alhambra tournament over 30 years ago, "I never dreamed that he would be coaching in it one day."

Virginia Clatchey certainly never envisioned Pat leading the Gaels into the 46th Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament final with a state record (38-0) for wins. The Gaels will play DeMatha at 8:15 tonight after defeating St. Joseph's Prep (23-5) of Philadelphia, 53-47, last night.

Louis Birdsong, one of three Gaels in double figures, scored six of his 12 points in the third period and, in the final period, had two of his six rebounds, two blocked shots and a steal to spark a 12-2 run and 14-7 fourth quarter.

"I was using my energy towards defense and stuff because I was gassed out on offense," said Birdsong, who was complemented by Dejuan Goodwin's 13 points and Chase Adams' 11.

"I like to play like the second half is a new game. So, I come out like the game just started and just play hard."

St. Joseph Prep's Reggie Redding scored all 15 of his points in the first half despite three fouls, and the 6-foor-4 Villanova-bound swing guard picked up his fifth with 5:03 remaining in the game when he ended up pushing the 6-6 Birdsong into the scorer's table.

"Coach told me to jab at him and I anticipated where he was going, and poked the ball out and ran after the ball as hard as I ciould and he bumped me [into the table] and they called a fifth foul," said Birdsong.

In Mount St. Joseph's first Alhambra final in 35 years, its opponent will be the 18-time-champion Stags, 65-54 winners over another Philadelphia team, Roman Catholic (26-4), last night.

The Stags (33-1) last won the Alhambra in 2002 under Morgan Wootten, the legendary coach's final game of a 46-year career. It will be the second straight final for Wootten's successor, Mike Jones.

It's the big game nearly everybody who follows high school basketball in the Baltimore-Washington area has hoped for, with Mount St. Joseph, No. 1 in The Sun's rankings and No. 5 nationally in USA Today's "Super 25," and the Stags, No. 2 in The Washington Post's rankings and No. 4 in USA Today.

The Gaels, who set state records for wins and consecutive wins in a season, last played in an Alhambra final - and for the only time - in 1971.

That team, led by Milton Walker and Barry Scroggins, lost, 53-51, to DeMatha. The last Baltimore team to play in a final was Archbishop Spalding in 2000. The Cavaliers also lost to DeMatha, 67-55.

patomalleysports@aol.com

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