No. 2 John Carroll pulls away from No. 4 St. Frances, 88-74

February 03, 2011|by Jeff Seidel | Special to The Baltimore Sun

John Carroll needed to make one change at the start of the second half of Thursday's game at St. Frances. It wasn't complex -- the Patriots simply needed to play harder.

And that's exactly what No. 2 John Carroll did. Malcolm McMillan helped the Patriots turn up the intensity, scoring 21 of his game-high 28 points in the second half as John Carroll erased a seven-point halftime deficit and stretched its winning streak to 10 with an 88-74 victory over No. 4 St. Frances.

John Carroll (25-1, 10-0 in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference and Baltimore Catholic League) watched an 11-point first-quarter lead turn into a 38-31 halftime deficit, as the Panthers (13-3, 7-3 MIAA and 7-2 BCL) outscored the Patriots, 23-7, in the second quarter.

"We thought we had to be the most aggressive team," John Carroll coach Tony Martin said. "We had to respond. … Our response to open the second half was critical."

After scoring just seven in the scond quarter, the Patriots needed just under two minutes to get the first seven of the second half and tie the game at 38. McMillan scored four of the seven and tied the game on a layup with 6:16 left in the period.

Moments later, John Carroll went on a 10-0 run, capped by McMillan's three-point play, to take a 48-41 lead. The Patriots went on another 10-0 run a few minutes later and never again were in trouble.

McMillan, a senior guard, drove around and through the St. Frances defense time after time, either scoring or setting up teammates, and the Panthers couldn't stop him. "We had to pick it up in the second half," said McMillan. "We had to turn it up a notch at both ends."

Ronald Scott and Jarred Jones added 22 and 18 points, respectively, for John Carroll, who also helped its cause by playing tougher defense in the second half.

St. Frances often found wide-open looks from the wings in the first half, but John Carroll consistently got a hand in someone's face in the third and fourth quarters.

The Patriots locked up the game with a 33-point fourth quarter, thanks mainly to some timely free-throw shooting. John Carroll repeatedly spread the floor to run time off the clock, and the Patriots made 22 of 30 shots from the foul line.

"It was sort of like they punched us in the face, and we kept taking the hits instead of punching back," said Miles Code, who scored 13 for St. Frances. Eddie Tarver and Maurice White also added 13 in the losing effort.

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