St. Frances' R.J. Williams, left, pressures host John… (Baltimore Sun photo by Gene…)
The John Carroll boys basketball team has racked up plenty of wins during a busy early season schedule.
But the No. 6 Patriots had yet to score that one statement victory in the area to make people take notice.
That all changed Friday night.
Outplaying previously undefeated and No. 1 St. Frances in every phase of the game, the Patriots had their key players step up at opportune times and played stifling defense throughout to come away with a 63-54 upset of the Panthers in Bel Air.
Jarred Jones scored a game-high 24 points and the senior guard tandem of Malcolm McMillan (18 points) and Ronald Scott (10) controlled the pace as the Patriots improved to 18-1 overall, 4-0 in the Baltimore Catholic League and 3-0 in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference. St. Frances (8-1) fell to 3-1 in the BCL and 2-1 in the MIAA.
"It's a big win, a history-making win for the school," John Carroll coach Tony Martin said. "Obviously, in this league, you turn around and stub your toe on Tueday it means a little less, so we can't have a letdown. But it's a history-making win for our school."
Quietly building a 35-30 halftime lead by scoring the final six points of the second quarter, the Patriots exploded out of the break with a 10-0 run — with Jones scoring seven in the stretch — to take a 45-30 advantage midway through the third quarter.
The Panthers — struggling in their halfcourt set most of the way and unable to produce any easy baskets in transition — would cut the lead to 46-42 late in the third quarter before McMillan dashed their hopes by scoring eight points in the fourth quarter.
"Pretty much didn't see the desire from the kids that they had to get to where we're at. I tell the kids we have to stay hungry — sometimes it's easy to get to be No. 1, but it's harder to stay there," said St. Frances coach Mark Karcher, who got a team-high 19 points from Eddie Tarver. "I take my hat off to Coach Martin and his team. They came to play, they executed their offense, they played good defense. They had us scrambling around — we acted like we never touched a basketball before."
Jones will enjoy the performance, but knows there's bigger goals ahead.
"It was a big win because it was their first loss," he said. "But we still want to win a championship and this is not a championship right here, so we're not going to stop."
6 John Carroll 63, 1 St. Francs 54
SF -- Williams 11, Lewis 7, Tarver 19, Brown 7, Code 6, Byers 1, Costly 3. Totals: 12 24-31 54.
JC -- McMillan 18, Scott 10, Jones 24, Stokes 3, L. Owana 2, M. Owana 4, Frink 2. Totals: 23 14-24 63.
Half: JC, 35-30