Peterson and Whitmore combine for 39 as No. 8 Cavaliers topple Gaels; end 17-game losing skid
by Joe DiBlasi
The last time the Archbishop Spalding basketball team defeated Mount St. Joseph, prior to Wednesday evening’s visit to Irvington by the Cavaliers, was Dec. 11, 2012. That’s a span of 17 games.
Behind a combined 39 points from rising stars Cam Whitmore and Ty Peterson, however, the 8th-ranked Cavs not only ended that streak with a 67-56 victory, they also ended the top-ranked Gaels’ current 11-game winning string with a key MIAA A Conference/Baltimore Catholic League victory inside The Smith Center.
Coach Josh Pratt’s young squad, coming off a difficult loss to No. 12 John Carroll School on Monday, jumped out to a 6-0 start and they lead 15-7 at the end of the first quarter. They continued to come at the Gaels in waves throughout the first half, building what turned out to be an insurmountable 36-17 lead at the intermission. Spalding (14-9 overall, 10-7 MIAA A, 6-5 BCL) accomplished the early domination by pounding the boards and playing very aggressively on both ends of the floor.
St. Joe (22-4, 14-3 MIAA A, 10-1 BCL) got within nine points with 3 minutes, 20 seconds to go in third quarter, but the Cavaliers withstood the charge. They answered with a huge effort from the free throw line in the final eight minutes, converting 16-of-20 foul shots in the fourth quarter to gain the win.
Peterson led the Cavaliers with 23 points, adding three steals and four assists to a 9-for-10 performance from the charity stripe.
“We played hard the whole game,” said Peterson. “We fought hard, and we stayed solid on defense when they made their run.”
Sophomore Cam Whitmore had 16 hard earned points and hauled in 12 rebounds, while blocking three shots. The 6-foot-6 Whitmore also battled the Gaels’ high scoring Jason Edokpayi, who had 13 points for coach Pat Clatchey.
“It was a great team effort, we had a great mentality coming into the building,” said Whitmore. “Coach (Josh Pratt) told us to take care of the ball and get back on defense. Defense wins games and defense wins championships.”
Sophomore C.J Scott added 14 points and seven boards for the Cavaliers. Sophomore Jordan Pennick also had 11 points, five rebounds and two steals.
Peterson and Scott were both 6-for-6 from the line in the fourth quarter.
Pratt said he was proud of the effort.
“We subbed in a lot of guys, using individual specialties as necessary, and the whole team bought in,” said Pratt, who has the Cavaliers back to prominence in the MIAA and BCL in just his first year at the helm. “We showed toughness tonight. This was a great win. We talk about free throws, rebounds, and turnovers.
We had a poor (8-for-21) performance last Friday (a 2-point win over Loyola), but we responded tonight when we had to. St. Joe is a great team, and we knew they would come out strong to start the second half, but we were able to hold them off.”
With the win, the Cavaliers enhanced their chances of securing a playoff spot in the Red Division of the A conference, with two league games remaining. Currently, Spalding is in fourth place and the top four teams advance to the post-season.
The Cavaliers have a half-game lead on Loyola (9-7), which defeated Calvert Hall College, 73-50, on Wednesday. Spalding concludes its MIAA schedule with home games against Boys’ Latin School on Friday, and Mount Carmel next Wednesday, before concluding its regular season with a BCL game, at home against St. Maria Goretti on Feb. 14.
The Cavaliers are now third in the BCL, a half-game ahead of Loyola (6-6).
Loyola has three league games remaining as it hosts McDonogh School on Friday, visits No. 2 St. Frances Academy next Wednesday and travels to John Carroll on Feb. 14. Spalding’s win over St. Joe also gives the Cavaliers a tie-break over the Dons, with whom they split. A win over St. Frances could flip the tie-break to the Dons, depending on who eventually wins the division.
“Hats off to Spalding,” said St. Joe coach Pat Clatchey, whose team fell into a first-place with St. Frances in the BCL. “They were ready; they played with confidence and they got off to a good start. We dug a hole and it was too much to overcome.
Our slow start caught up with us tonight, and it’s a lesson learned. Spalding stayed aggressive all night, and they got in a one-and-one situation early, and took advantage of it.”
NO. 8 ARCHBISHOP SPALDING 67, NO. 1 MOUNT ST. JOSEPH 56
AS 15 21 11 20 — 67
MSJ 7 8 18 21 — 56
ARCHBISHOP SPALDING: Peterson 23, Scott. 14, Pennick 11, Whitmore 16, Wheatley 3.
MOUNT ST. JOSEPH: Crawley. 16, Brelsford 14, Stines 4, Edokpayi 13, Sapienza 1, Carr 4, Hanlon 4.