The last time St. Frances and Loyola Blakefield hooked up on the hardwood, the Panthers won a 45-44 cliff-hanger.
Things were much different in the first round of the Baltimore Catholic League Tournament at Stevenson University on Friday as the Panthers erupted for 25 points in the second quarter to run away from the Dons and go on to a resounding 56-28 win, advancing to Saturdays semifinals at the BCL tourney.
The second-seeded Panthers will face third-seeded John Carroll, which defeated St. Maria Goretti in triple overtime on Friday night, 58-56 in another first round match-up.
The Panthers held a slight 8-6 lead over Loyola at the end of the first quarter, but they went on a torrid 20 point run in the second stanza, to take a 33-10 lead at the half. Michael Warren drilled three three-pointers during the run, to propel the Panther offense.
“We shared the ball, finished our layups, and played hard D,” said Warren, who finished with 11 points. Warren and Tavon Saddler each scored 11 points for coach Nick Myles, as nine different Panthers scored. The Panthers were 21-for-48 (44% from the floor), as they feasted on turnovers and fast-break opportunities.
Myles said that his team has been working on a lot of conditioning. “If we play this way again tomorrow night, we’ll be fine.”
Coming off its win over Mount St. Joseph, last Sunday in the MIAA A Conference championship game, John Carroll is on a quest to sweep the MIAA and BCL for a second straight year. St. Maria Goretti, easily the most improved team in the BCL this year, had other ideas and nearly pulled off one of the biggest tournament upsets in recent years.
The game started at a snail’s pace, with Goretti forging a 3-2 lead at end of one quarter as the Gaels came within 28 seconds of pitching a shutout in the opening frame. John Carroll got six second quarter points from Kamau Stokes to take a 16-14 lead, and Stokes added five more in the third quarter to go along with six from Rodney Elliott, and the Patriots grabbed a 27-22 advantage after three.
The fourth quarter, however, belonged to Goretti. The Gaels outscored the Pats 19-14 in the quarter, and they had a 41-38 lead with seven seconds to go in regulation. John Carroll freshman Justin Jenifer hit a huge three to send the game to overtime.
Each team scored 10 points in the first OT period, and it took another pressure packed trey from John Carroll’s Jarred Jones, with 16 seconds left in the first OT, to send the game to a second extra session. Goretti was leading 51-48 before Jones’ heroics.
In the second OT, each team scored just two points, and the contest went to a third extra session.
John Carroll won the third OT 5-3, getting a three-point play from Stokes, with 46 seconds to go, that made the difference. Stokes led the Patriots with 16 points. Jones and Jenifer each added 10.
Tyrus Fleetwood led Goretti with 17 points, but several Gaels stepped up late in the game. Thomas Blake hit a key bucket in the second OT that tied the game, 53-53, and he nailed huge a trey in the third OT to give the Gaels a 56-55 lead. Blake finished with 10 points for coach Amrit Rayfield. Yannil Zanfack finished with 12 points and Martin Geben added 10.
John Carroll clawed back again, and they held on with seconds left to play to advance to the semifinals at 7:00 p.m.on Saturday.
“Goretti played great,” said Patriot coach Tony Martin. “We started off very sluggish, and that combination got us on our heals.”
Martin said that in last season’s tourney, Mount Carmel took his team to the wire. “Things worked out last year, and maybe that is a positive omen.”
“It was an unbelievable high school game,” said Goretti’s Rayfield. “Both teams stepped up and made big plays. It’s unfortunate for us that we came up a little short despite a great effort.”
The St. Frances/John Carroll winner will advance to Sunday’s championship game, which will tip off at 1:00 p.m. at Stevenson.
Update: In Friday’s late games in the BCL Tournament, top-seeded Mount St. Joseph defeated Mount Carmel, 64-47, and Archbishop Spalding downed Calvert Hall, 64-48. St. Joe and Spalding advance to Saturday’s 5:00 p.m. BCL semifinal at Stevenson. Check back with VSN for coverage of the two late quarterfinal contests.
BCL Tournament Quarterfinals
St. Frances 56, Loyola 28
LOY 6 4 6 12 — 28
SF 8 25 13 10 — 56
LOY: Cross 7, Floyd 2, Moran 2, Janoskie 3, Bradley 4, McManus 7, Boozer 2. Totals 9 8-17 28.
SF: Cook 3, Saddler 11, Tyrus 5, Warren 11, Jones 4, Tommy 5, Allen 4, Maurice 11. Totals 21 8-12 56.
John Carroll 58, St. Maria Goretti 56, 3 OT
SMG 3 11 8 19 10 2 3 — 56
JC 2 14 11 14 10 2 5 — 58
JC: Jones 10, Elliott 8, M. Owona 7, Stokes 16, Jenifer 10, James 4, Monroe 3.
SMG: Fleetwood 17, Rajahpillay 5, Geben 10, Zanfack 12, Blake 10, Butterbaugh 2