Mount Carmel/Mount st. Joseph video

Spalding/Calvert Hall video

Mount Carmel/Mount St. Joseph photos

Spalding/Calvert Hall photos

At Monday’s Baltimore Catholic League awards dinner, Archbishop Spalding coach Derrick Lewis was at a loss for words when he was chosen the league’s coach of the year. Afterwards, someone joked he might faint if the Cavaliers won the tournament.

After a long absence, the Severn school advanced to the semifinal round with a 65-48 victory over Calvert Hall College in the finale of quarterfinal play Friday evening at Stevenson University. The Cavaliers will play top-seed Mount St. Joseph in the first semifinal Saturday afternoon at 5 p.m. at Stevenson.

The fifth-ranked Gaels defeated Mount Carmel, in Friday’s night other quarterfinal. John Carroll School and St. Frances Academy made a semifinal date with afternoon decisions on the Owings Mills hardwood.

After falling in the MIAA A Conference finals to John Carroll at UMBC last Saturday, Mount St. Joseph (25-6 overall) responded with a vengeance Friday with a 64-47 rout. Kameron Williams scored a game-high 25 points and sophomore guard Phil Booth added 11 points and seven rebounds.

The Gaels led by as many as 21 points, completing a three-game season sweep of the Old Eastern Avenue school (8-19) and punching their ticket to another BCL semifinal. For longtime St. Joe coach Pat Clatchey late February means one thing: Survival.

“We did what we had to do, we had one kid in foul trouble and had to patchwork the lineup,” said Clatchey, who’s seeking his fourth BCL Tournament title at his alma-mater.

For Williams, it was about redemption. The latest Gael to capture BCL player of the year honors rebounded from arguably his worst of the season (five points) in last Sunday’s loss to John Carroll.

“I felt like a new man. I really want to get myself involve and get a few easy buckets,” said Williams. “We were devastated [Sunday]. We got back in the gym, there was no joking or playing around. We had to look at ourselves in the mirror.”

Williams surpassed his previous game output in the opening quarter with eight points. The 6-foot-3 guard finished with 14 in the first half as the Irvington school led 36-19 at intermission.

Next up for the Gaels is fifth-seeded Spalding (17-14) which secured its first BCL semifinal date since 2004, avenging a regular season sweep by No. 4 seed Calvert Hall (12-17). Senior guard Greg Brown scored a game-high 23 points for the Cavaliers, and junior forward Earl Potts finished with 15 points and nine rebounds.

Spalding pulled away in the final quarter after Calvert Hall made a third quarter run. Lewis was pleased to see his relatively young squad show mettle in the critical juncture.

“We’ve been through enough this year to know that when it gets down to six or seven points, we’re still ahead and not a big deal,” said Lewis. “I had two freshmen on the floor at a time, then I had to go with experience, and that’s putting in two sophomores. They’ve grown and played hard.”

“This team is young, we’re starting two sophomores, but they’re coming through,” said Brown. “It doesn’t really matter how old you are, if you can play, you can play.”

After Leading by as many as 14 points early in the second half, Spalding’s lead was dwindled in half late in the third quarter. Cavalier sophomore guard Martell Massimini hit two free throws for a 45-36 advantage then Brown, the veteran selected earlier in the week to the BCL first-team, came up with arguably the game’s biggest play.

Brown perfectly timed Calvert Hall’s Denzel Richardson’s inbound pass to Julian Davis, intercepting the ball and going in for a greg brownlayup, making it 47-36 with 18 seconds remaining. The Cavaliers scored seven of the first 10 points in the fourth, solidifying their Saturday plans.

It didn’t appear that way early Friday for the Cavaliers as Calvert Hall had a 7-2 advantage. But a 13-0 run, capped by a jumper from sophomore guard Malik Harris, made it 15-7 and Spalding never trailed again.

Brown, one of the area’s more underrated talents, came up with a dunk, extending the Cavaliers’ lead to 35-21 late in the second half. The Cardinals close to 43-36 in the third quarter, but got no closer.

Two weeks ago, Calvert Hall was impressive in closing the regular season with victories over McDonogh School, Spalding and Loyola Blakefield in a four-day span. But the momentum faded for the Cardinals, who lost their final two games (lost to Glenelg Country School in MIAA A first rounder last week).

“We dug ourselves a hole early,” said Calvert Hall coach John Bauersfeld. “We played better in the second half but we had to use so much energy to get back in the game. They [Spalding] made a couple of tough shots and we missed a couple of chippy and that hurt us. They played well and we didn’t.”

The Cavaliers know they’ll likely have to play their best game of the season against Mount St. Joseph Saturday. The Gaels won, 66-51 and 64-43, in the regular season.

“We need to play with the same mentality,” said Brown. “We need to play hard the entire game.”