Since moving into the MIAA A Conference four seasons ago, John Carroll School boys’ basketball team hasn’t had a statement win. That changed Friday evening.
The No. 5 Patriots knocked off No. 1 St. Frances Academy, 63-54, in a MIAA A/Baltimore Catholic League contest in Bel Air. Junior forward Jarred Jones led all scorers with 24 points for John Carroll (18-1 overall, 4-0 BCL, 3-0 MIAA A), and senior guard Malcolm McMillian added 18.
The Harford County school led by as many as 15 points in the second half before repelling a charge by the Panthers (8-1 overall, 3-1 BCL, 2-1 MIAA A) for its first win over the two-time defending MIAA A champs in six tries. The Patriots served notice they’re a legitimate factor in the MIAA A/BCL with the Panthers and Mount St. Joseph.
“It’s a history-making win for the school,” said John Carroll coach Tony Martin. “Obviously in this league, if you turn around and stub your toe Tuesday it will mean a little bit less.”
“Nobody can take this away from us,” said McMillian.
McMillian, who’s headed to Central Connecticut State University, made sure the Patriots closed the deal Friday evening. With John Carroll nursing a 50-44 lead in the fourth, McMillian followed a Jones free throw with a nifty drive to the basket and score, and converted a St. Frances turnover into another basket, putting the Patriots clear at 55-44 with 2:38 remaining.
The backcourt of McMillian and Scott combined for 21 points in the second half, and helped keep St. Frances point guard R.J. Williams (11 points and six assists) and the Panthers’ offense off-balanced.
“I know there some great individual players, but they’re as good as any guard combo you’ll find in the area,” said Martin of his senior backcourt.
It was arguably a coming out party for Jones, who ignited a 10-0 run to start the second half. The 6-foot-7 performer opened the third with a jumper over St. Frances’ Shakir Brown, then took a pass from Scott on the baseline and exploded to the basket for the score. His two free throws gave the Patriots a 45-30 lead with under five minutes remaining in the third.
“Leadership and the senior backcourt is important and we kept our poise,” said Jones. “I missed last year and a lot of people don’t know about me; I just wanted to send a statement that I’m back.”
The Panthers responded with a 12-1 run to pull within 46-42 late in the third quarter behind the shooting of Eddie Tarver, who scored a team-high 19 points. After winning at No. 4 Mount St. Joseph Tuesday evening, the east Baltimore school was listless offensively Friday.
“There was no desire from the kids. It’s easy sometimes to become No. 1 but it’s harder to stay there,” said Panthers coach Mark Karcher. “You have to tip your hat to Tony and his team because they come to play.
They [John Carroll] executed their offense, played good defense, and had us scrambling around. We acted like we never touched a basketball before.”
For the first time since joining the MIAA A, John Carroll sits alone atop the league standings. The Patriots, in their first season as a member of the BCL, believe they’re ready to go the distance.
“I can rattle off all kind of stats, but at the end of the day, everybody knows that’s the next step for our program,” said Martin, who turned Archbishop Spalding into a powerhouse in the late 1990s. “It’s a statement game, these are high-level traditional programs. Not taking anything away from them but we feel like this year we’re ready to mix it up with those guys.”
“We still want to win a championship, and this isn’t a championship,” said Jones, “so we’re not going to stop.”
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|No. 5 John Carroll 63, No. 1 St. Frances 54|
|St. Frances: Williams 11, Brown 7, Tarver 19, Byers 1, Code 6, Costly 3, Lewis 7.Totals: 13 24-30 54.|
|John Carroll: McMillian 18, Jones 24, Scott 10, Frink 2, M. Owona 4, L. Owona 2, Stokes 3: 23 11-21 63.|
|Halftime: John Carroll 35, St. Frances 30|