R.J. Williams sparked St. Frances in the second half with14 points, seven of which came in the fourth quarter, as the Panthers came from behind to defeat McDonogh, 66-61, in Owings Mills on Tuesday night in a key MIAA A Conference basketball match-up.

The win moves the Panthers (14-4, 7-4) into second place in the conference, a half-game ahead of the Eagles (16-7, 7-5), with one week to go before the playoffs begin.

Only the top four teams in the conference make the playoffs this season, and the Panthers’ win will likely give them a home game next Wednesday night against the third place finisher.

Mount St. Joseph is currently fourth at 6-5, and Calvert Hall is fifth at 5-5.

John Carroll leads the conference with a 10-0 record. They will host the fourth place finisher in a semi-final game next week.

The championship finals will be held at UMBC on Sunday, February 20.

McDonogh held a 50-48 lead over the Panthers after three quarters on Tuesday night, but they managed only one bucket from the field in the fourth quarter. The Eagles were 9-for-12 from the free throw line in the last eight minutes, but they couldn’t sustain enough offense from the floor to stay with the Panthers down the strecth.

Four Panthers reached double figures, lead by Williams with 20. Shakir Brown had 16, Greg Lewis added 13, and sophomore Maurice White chipped in with 11.

The Panthers were 6-for-8 from the stripe in the fourth quarter when they outscored the Eagles 18-11.

McDonogh’s Kayel Locke led all scorers with 24, and Pratt Rexford had 13, including three threes for the Eagles. Locke had eight third quarter points and Rexford had a pair of threes when the Eagles surged ahead, but the Panthers had too much fire power down the stretch.

To view videos, click on the Related Video link above.

St. Frances 66, McDonogh 61
St. Frances
St. Frances: Williams 20, Brown 16, Tarver 2, Code 2, Costly 2, Lewis 13, White 11.
McDonogh: Scott 6, Walker 2, Andrews 8, Rexford 13, Weingart 8, Locke 24.