FROSTBURG — It will be an all-Baltimore consolation final and a match-up of the schools that have played more ACIT games than anybody as Baltimore’s St. Frances Panthers defeated Cumberland’s Bishop Walsh and Baltimore’s Mount St. Joseph topped Hyattsville’s defending tournament champion DeMatha in Friday’s consolation semifinals at Frostburg State University.
The victories assure a fourth meeting this season between the Panthers (32-6), the Baltimore Catholic League regular-season champion, and the Gaels (31-4), the BCL tournament champion, with St. Frances having won all three. The consolation final tips off today at 4:45 p.m. Meanwhile, the 21-time ACIT champion Stags (13-16) will play Bishop Walsh (21-9) in the 3 p.m. consolation third-place game. DeMatha, winding down its 43rd tournament appearance, has an all-time 101-27 ACIT record, while Bishop Walsh, the tournament host school since 1967, is 12-128 all-time.
St. Frances 58
Bishop Walsh 41
In Friday’s opening consolation semifinal, Maurice White scored 14 points for St. Frances, while Dayshawn Wells hit for 12 and Dwayne Morgan 11. It was Wells’ three-point shooting that helped the Panthers pull away from the Spartans, as BW took a 7-6 lead at 3:43 of the first, and took 12-8 and 14-10 leads on baskets by Hunter Marrale and center Quincy Redmon, who had game highs with 18 points and 12 rebounds.
St. Frances tied the game on buckets by White and a baseline turnaround by Joshua Garrett. At 6:05 of the second quarter, Khalil Richards hit from the baseline to give the Panthers an 18-16 lead. A jam by White followed and led to a BW timeout.
After taking a 25-21 halftime lead, Wells scored on a follow, then a three-pointer from the right corner. A free throw by Morgan made it 31-21 at 5:52 of the third. Wells hit another three-pointer from the left corner at 5:31, and corner jumpers by Richards and Tevon Saddler, with another inside score by Richards, put the Panthers up, 40-21 at 2:28 of the third.
“When Dayshawn shoots like that it makes us a different team,” said St. Frances coach Nick Myles. “We have a deep athletic team and when he’s shooting well it takes us to another level.”
St. Frances’ biggest lead was 52-31 when Morgan converted a three-point play at 4:31 of the fourth. Bishop Walsh cut it down to 53-39 on an 8-1 run behind Redmon, Chris Scarlett and Liam Rhodes.
“I thought we played well in the second half,” said Myles. “We defended well and the kids bought into what we wanted to do. We switched up some looks tonight.”
Mount St. Joe 80
Ohio State-bound guard Kameron Williams and his Mount St. Joe teammates were on fire in the second semifinal, hitting 69 percent from the field to defeat the Stags.
Williams, with his feather shooting touch led the Gaels with 26 points, hitting 12 of 15 attempts. Junior guard Phil Booth, who is equally as smooth, was in with 16 points, hitting 6 of 7 from the floor. But in the second half when Mount St. Joe pulled away, it was behind the scoring of junior guard Jaylen Adams, who was 5 for 8 from the field, knocking down 4 of 6 three-point attempts.
“Jaylen stepped up,” said Mount St. Joe coach Pat Clatchey. “He’s a good shooter and a solid ballhandler. I think he can be a great player. He just needs consistency and he has to decide what it all means to him.”
The game was a fan’s delight, as in the first half there were nine lead changes, with the final one of the half coming when Williams scored on a drive with 49 seconds left to make it 32-31, with a three-pointer by Charlie Jones making it 35-31 at the break after Mount St. Joe hit over 50 percent of their shots, while DeMatha hit just under 50. Williams had 17 points and Booth 10.
Through the first three minutes of the second half there would be four more lead changes, with Williams putting the Gaels ahead for good, 39-38, with 5:10 left in the third. An Adams three-pointer made the lead four, and another one did the same after Corey Henson (team-high 17 points) hit one for DeMatha.
The back-and-forth picked up as Booth then hit for three to make it 50-43 before yet another Henson three. Adams came right back with another three, before the Stags’ Joseph Hampton (11 points) traded buckets with the Gaels’ Jordan McNeil (10 points). Hampton stayed hot, however, to score twice and bring the Stags within 58-54 after three.
Mount St. Joe then went on a 12-7 run to stretch its lead to 70-61 on a three-point play by McNeil. It reached 10 when Daveyon Barnes hit a turnaround at 2:41 to make it 74-64, with DeMatha then forced to put the Gaels on the line for the remainder of the game.
“We shot better tonight,” said Clatchey. “We got hot. We’re a good shooting team; we have multiple guys who can shoot, but we don’t have a real post presence. But outside shooting can be fool’s gold. When they go in, great. Tonight they went in and we got enough stops when we had to.
“It’s a good win for us. Anytime you beat DeMatha it’s a good win.”
Mike Burke is sports editor of the Cumberland Times-News. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org