Panthers unable to close against Thomas, District power St. John’s; Gourdine scores 20 (VIDEO HERE!)

St. Frances’ Anani Humphrey puts up a shot as St. John’s College’s Carolae Barton (44) and Gianni Boone defends during Friday’s girls basketball match. After pulling to within one in the fourth quarter against the District squad, St. Frances failed to score over the final 2 minutes, 28 seconds of regulation, dropping a 66-57 decision in East Baltimore. (photo – Jimmy Fields Sr.)

by Derek Toney

Going into Friday’s contest against District private powerhouse St. John’s College, St. Frances Academy girls basketball team knew slowing down Fudd would be key. While the Panthers did a reasonably good job on Fudd, they had no answer for Delaney Thomas.

Thomas finished with a game-high 35 points as the Cadets defeated St. Frances, 66-57, at Phelps Gym in East Baltimore. Temple University-bound guard Aniya Gourdine led the Panthers with 20 points.

St. John’s, the reigning District champion, scored the final eight points in regulation, handing the five-time defending IAAM A champ Panthers a third straight loss. St. Frances, which opened with a victory over Mount Carmel last weekend, lost to Virginia’s Bishop Ireton (66-57 Tuesday) and last season’s Washington Catholic Athletic Conference champ Bishop McNamara (75-68 Thursday).

The Panthers trailed Friday, 58-57, after a jumper by Gourdine with 2 minutes, 28 seconds left in regulation, but St. John’s promptly answered with Mitchell Edmond’s jumper off a feed from Thomas. After a Panther offensive charge, Edmond dropped a short jumper in the paint, extending the lead to 62-57 with 1:22 remaining.

Fudd, the nation’s No. 1 recruit who’s committed to UCONN, had 11 points Friday. Thomas, a 6-foot-1 sophomore, scored 12 in the opening half, helping the WCAC program to a 34-33 advantage.

St. Frances enjoyed a 46-42 advantage with 3 minutes left in the third, following a 3-pointer from Gourdine. The Cadets closed the session with a 10-2 run, featuring eight from Thomas, for a 52-48 lead entering the fourth.

St. John’s pushed its lead to 58-50 as Thomas blocked Dorsey’s shot on the perimeter, got the ball and went in for the basket. She scored 23 points in the second half.

St. John’s College (D.C.) 66, St. Frances Academy 57

St. John’s – Delaney Thomas 35, Azzi Fudd 11, Kyndal Walker 8, Carolae Barton 5, Gianni Boone 4, Taylor Napper 3. Totals 26 11-20 66.

St. Frances – Aniya Gourdine 20, Jalyn Brown 18, Anani Humphrey 9, Daimoni Dorsey 6, Dakerian Turner 2. Totals 20 11-14 57.

St. John’s 18 16 18 14 – 66

St. Frances 15 18 13 11 – 57