Paul VI knocks off defending champion Bishop O'Connell
Panthers win, 75-52; will play DeMatha for ACIT title
Chris Appel Cumberland Times-News
FROSTBURG — Kevin Dorsey scored 25 points, grabbed seven rebounds and was the driving force behind Paul VI being able to run away from defending champion Bishop O’Connell for a 75-52 win that catapults the Panthers into tonight’s title game of the 54th Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament at Frostburg State University.
Playing in only it’s second ACIT, Paul VI will take part in its second championship when it faces the school with 22 ACIT titles, DeMatha, tonight at 8:15. The Stags last won the title in 2012, when they beat the Panthers 71-56.
Dorsey was hot right off the bat, scoring eight points in the opening quarter and adding six more in the second to get the Panthers (30-6) to big first half leads. Marcus Derrickson did most of his damage in the first half, scoring 11 points in the opening 16 minutes. After getting out to an 8-2 lead, Paul VI let the Knights get as close to within three at 10-7 before leading 22-13 at the end of one quarter. Bishop O’Connell would get no closer than nine points during the second and trailed 40-22 at halftime.
Dorsey had 14 of his points and four of his rebounds in the first half and earned the praise of his coach Glenn Farello.
“Kevin always plays with a bunch of energy and he usually gets the rest of the team going,” he said. “Both teams seemed extremely tired at times, but Kevin provided that spark any time we needed it.”
The Knights cut into the lead and got to within 11 points at 50-39 during the third before the Panthers clawed their way back to a 15-point edge entering the fourth.
Besides Dorsey setting the tone, the Panthers got big performances from Tyler Scanlon with 11 points and 11 rebounds and Derrickson, who hit three 3-pointers on his way to 17 points. The Georgetown recruit also added five rebounds. Josh Reaves, who scored 22 points against Benedictine on Thursday, added 11 points.
The Knights (19-12) were paced by the ACIT’s reigning MVP Melo Trimble’s 20 points. Bishop O’Connell also got nine points from Jamaal King and eight rebounds and seven points from Lewis Djonkam. Oumar Barry scored just five points, but was big on the inside for the Stags by grabbing 10 rebounds and blocking three shots.
The meeting was the fourth of the season between the two teams and tonight’s game against DeMatha will be the fourth time the Panthers have played the Stags.
“It can get tricky when you play someone so often because you become so familiar with each other,” said Farello. “There aren’t many surprises that you can pull on each other, and it usually comes down to one of those 50-50 plays that happens to go your way, a late tip-in or a hustle play to make the difference. We wound up splitting the four games with O’Connell after losing the first two times, and we’ll gladly take the last two times over winning the first two times.”
Paul VI doesn’t want a split with the Stags after winning two of the first three meetings. The Panthers won 56-48 the first time around, lost 54-52 the second time before beating DeMatha 56-37 to win the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference.
O’Connell will play St. John’s in the third-place game tonight at 6:30.
Chris Appel is a sportswriter for the Times-News. Contact him at email@example.com.