No. 2 St. Frances knocks off No. 1 City, 78-66

December 18, 2010|By Glenn Graham, THE BALTIMORE SUN

Every time the top-ranked City boys basketball team made a push to get back into Saturday night's game at No. 2 St. Frances, Panthers senior point guard R.J. Williams had a poised response.

At times, it was a big basket. In other instances, the 5-foot-10, four-year starter contributed key steals and assists.

In the fourth quarter, Williams hit nine of 12 free throws to finish with a game-high 26 points and lead the Panthers to a 78-66 win over the Knights in front of an overflow crowd at St. Frances.

St. Frances, which knocked off then-No. 3 Digital Harbor last week, improves to 6-0 on the season, while the Knights fall to 3-1.

"Coach [Mark Karcher] told us to come out and play hard, said Williams, who also had nine assists. "We have to protect our house. We can't have anybody come to our house and beat us. … He told us to pick up the intensity, and show everybody who should be the real No. 1."

Junior guard Shakir Brown added 18 points and senior center Greg Lewis, in foul trouble early, finished with 13 for the winners. City got a team-high 22 points from senior forward Nick Faust, with senior guard Mike Cheatham adding 17.

The Panthers showed their depth with the game tied at 15 early in the second quarter and Lewis sent to the bench with his second foul. The home team went on a 22-11 run to build a 37-26 advantage when Brown scored a basket inside with 1:54 to play in the half.

Every time City made a run, the Panthers answered. After Cheatham finishing off a drive to cut the St. Frances lead to 45-41 with 4:29 left in the third quarter, Williams hit a 3-pointer to make it 48-41. Later in the quarter, Brown hit two 3-pointers and Williams had a steal that he turned into a layup for a 59-47 lead with 21 seconds left.

The Panthers maintained a double-digit lead throughout a fourth quarter that lacked suspense. Karcher liked it that way.

"We kept our poise. They made their runs, but we just stayed strong with it. We had our big guys in foul trouble, but R.J. dictated the game. He slowed the game down and didn't let City get into transition," he said.

City coach Mike Daniel was disappointed with a lack of teamwork and hopes his group can learn from the experience.

"We got to go back in the gym and work. I saw a whole of mistakes made out there today," he said.

C -- Faust 22, Cheatham 17, Tapper 4, Amos 5, Rasheed 7, Press 5, Greer 3, Green 3.Totals: 19 22-29 66.

SF -- Lewis 13, Williams 26, Tarver 8, Brown 18, Forney 6, Code 5, Costly 2. Totals: 25 24-30 78

Half: SF, 39-35.

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