Above: Immanuel Quickley (left) from John Carroll School and Mount St. Joseph’s Jalen Smith, who will be teammates in next month’s McDonald’s All-American Game, battled Monday night in Irvington.
Baltimore’s McDonald’s All-Americans do battle, as No. 3 Mount St. Joseph upends second-ranked John Carroll, 78-71 (VIDEO HERE!!)
by Joe DiBlasi
Baltimore high school basketball history was made on Monday night when two McDonald’s All-Americans – Mount St. Joseph’s Jalen Smith and John Carroll’s Immanuel Quickley – took the floor at The Smith Center in Irvington.
Never before have a pair of McDonald’s elites shared the same floor in Baltimore. Throw in it was a pivotal MIAA A Conference and Baltimore Catholic League match with each team bringing a double-digit winning streak.
The game lived up to the hype.
With 23 points, Quickley looked every bit the part of an All-American, but Smith, playing in his final regular season home game, resembled an NBA All-Star, leading the second-ranked Gaels to a 78-71 victory over the No. 3 Patriots in front of a standing room audience.
Smith, a 6-foot-10 power-forward headed to the University of Maryland in the fall, turned in one of the most impressive performances ever witnessed by St. Joe veteran coach Pat Clatchey, as the senior star poured in 32 points, ripped down 23 rebounds and blocked seven shots, while altering at least a dozen more.
“I have been fortunate to coach here for a long time, coach a lot of great players and see some guys have some great performances, but I think that was one for the ages,” said Clatchey.
With Quickley, who will play at the University of Kentucky next year, playing his heart out on the other side, even taking a scary tumble in the fourth quarter after a knee to knee collision, St. Joe needed every bit of Smith’s efforts to hold off John Carroll.
Smith scored 10 points in the second quarter to help the Mount take a 42-33 lead at the half. He also went 13-for-14 (93 percent) from the free-throw line, including four straight after John Carroll had battled within two, at 73-71, with 43 seconds to play.
“He’s special,” said John Carroll coach John Zito of Smith. “He’s a very special player. He has a bright future ahead of him.”
“He’s a really good player,” added Quickley. “Very talented, athletic and he pretty much does everything on the floor. At 6-10, 6-11, he’s very hard to guard. He’s a tough match-up and he had a real good game.”
Smith had mutual respect for the Patriots.
“It’s a great feeling,” said Smith. “They’re a great team. They have Immanuel Quickley and Montez Mathis. They all played well and played hard. They got us the first game. We took a little time to figure out who we are, but once we got all of our personnel, we haven’t been stopped.”
Smith’s efforts aside, Zito felt his team lost the game on the glass.
“We didn’t rebound the basketball. Period,” said the second-year Patriot coach. “You can’t win a basketball game without rebounding.”
St. Joe guards Kendall McMillan, Tyree Myers and James Bishop each had a dozen points in the contest, but it was two of the younger Gaels – freshman Ausar Crawley and sophomore Wiil Sykes – that provided key boosts.
“(Sykes) and Ausar were huge in the first half,” said Clatchey. “One’s a freshman, one’s a sophomore. Will got us a couple of extra possessions. He had four rebounds and four assists and Ausar has been bringing that for us ever since we moved him up to varsity. He’s just confident. He plays D. He doesn’t play like a freshman, that’s for sure.”
On the other end of the floor Yavez Gultekin scored 15 points to support Quickley’s efforts, but the Patriots suffered from the limited play of Rutgers-bound senior star Montez Mathis.
Mathis, who has been out the last 10 days while battling illness, did not start and played limited minutes. Clearly not at his peak, Mathis scored just eight points for John Carroll, which had its 10-game winning streak snapped.
In their first meeting back in November in Bel Air, Mathis scored 30 points to lead the Pats to a 20-point victory over the Gaels. Despite Monday’s setback, John Carroll (20-6, 7-4 BCL) leads the MIAA A’s Black Division (13-2).
It was the 17th win in a row for the Gaels (26-3 overall, 16-1 MIAA A, 10-2 BCL). Combined with St. Frances’ loss to St. Vincent Pallotti on Monday, the Gaels vaulted into first place in the MIAA A’s Red Division. The Panthers (14-2 MIAA A), however, still holds the stop spot in the Catholic League (12-1).
St. Joe will visit St. Frances (28-4) on Friday in another epic battle.
As far as seeing Smith and Quickley go at it for the first time since being selected to play in the McDonald’s game – and will likely cross paths in the MIAA A/BCL postseason before joining forces on March 28th in Atlanta – Clatchey was impressed.
“I think it was great for high school basketball,” said Clatchey. “A huge crowd and the game meant something to the regular season. We played them early in the year and I think we’ve come a long way.”
NO. 3 MOUNT ST. JOSEPH 78, NO. 2 JOHN CARROLL SCHOOL 71
JOHN CARROLL 18 15 16 22 — 71
MOUNT ST. JOSEPH 13 29 14 22 — 78
JOHN CARROLL: Quickley 23, Mathis 8, Ismail 3. Byers 2, Craig 7, Gultekin 15, Haughton 6, Goyena 7.
MOUNT ST. JOSEPH: Smith 32, McMillan 12, Myers 12, Crawley 6, McDonald 2, Sykes 2. Bishop 12.
Note: Visit the VSN Facebook page to see our pre-game joint interview with Immanuel Quickley and Jalen Smith, as well as coaches John Zito and Pat Clatchey. VSN broadcast the game on Facebook live and a recording of this broadcast can also be found on our Facebook page.