With a heavyweight matchup between No. 1 St. Frances and No. 4 Mount St. Joseph, on Tuesday, the Baltimore Catholic League/MIAA A Conference basketball season can be considered completely underway.   The host Gaels were game, but the undefeated Panthers came away with a hard fought, 50-43, win over before a packed house in Irvington.

Both squads played aggressively on defense, and the game was up for grabs with two minutes to go in regulation.  However, R.J. Williams calmly sank six straight free throws in the waning moments, to complete and 11-for-11 performance from the charity stripe and seal the win.  Williams, led all scorers with 20 points and drained a total of eight free throws in the final quarter.

“I work on free throws every day,” said Williams.  “I practice and prepare for things like this, and I’m getting used to it now.”

Williams said that the win was a big momentum builder for the Panthers.  

“This was a great win against a very smart St. Joe team,” said Williams, who has already committed to play next season at Loyola University.  

Coach Mark Karcher said that his team shot a bunch of free throws during the break.  

“Games are won in the fourth quarter, and our free throw shooting paid off,” said Karcher.  “RJ and Greg are my veteran players, and they kept their poise.”

The Panthers had the lead at the half, 22-18, and 33-30 after three, before the Gaels’ David Windsor hit a huge three ball, and Trey Clinton made two free throws to give the Mount a 41-40 lead with two minutes to go in regulation.  Williams put the Panthers ahead 42-41 from the line, and Windsor answered on the other end with two free throws to put the Gaels back up 43-42.  From there, Williams hit a bucket and six more free throws down the stretch.

Sophomore Kameron Wiliams led St. Joe with 16 points, Windsor had 10, and Clinton added nine.

Greg Lewis, who was 3-for-4 from the line in the final quarter for the Panthers, finished with 15 points.

“We’re starting to click,” said Lewis.  “We got a good point guard (RJ), and he’s making it easy for everybody.  We needed this win.”

The Panthers (8-0, 3-0, 2-0) will travel to Bel Air on Friday night to meet No. 5 John Carroll, the newest entry in the Baltimore Catholic League.  The Patriots are 16-1 overall this season, with two early season wins in the BCL, and one in the MIAA A Conference.


St. Frances 50, Mount St. Joseph 43
St. Frances
Mount St. Joseph
St. Frances: Williams 20, Lewis 15, Brown 3, Tarver 8, Code 4.
Mount St. Joseph: Williams 16, Windsor 10, Clinton 9, Long 3, Stephenson 2, Morton 1, Nardolilo 2.