Mount St. Joseph closed out the Memorial Gymnasium and Gael coach Pat Clatchey celebrated his 499th career victory at the Irvington school with a convincing 79-48 victory over visiting Loyola Blakefield in the quarterfinals of the 42nd annual Baltimore Catholic League tournament Friday night.
The No. 3 Gaels (28-6), the second seed in the tournament, will be going for Clatchey’s 500th triumph on Sunday night at Loyola University against either John Carroll or Calvert Hall.
A win on Sunday and the Gaels would try to defend their BCL tournament championship on Monday night at Loyola University.
Win No. 499 came fairly easy as the Gaels pulled away with a 10-0 run in the second quarter.
“In the first quarter, I thought they played really well,” Clatchey said. “They have really improved a lot over the course of the season.”
The Dons (5-19), who were beaten by the Gaels by 26 and 33 points during the regular season, tied the score at 20-20 on a layup by Phil Heinrich (seven points) with 6:25 left in the second quarter.
But Phil Booth (16 points) ignited the Gaels’ 10-point spurt that included six points from Kameron Williams.
Williams scored 24 of his game-high 27 points in the final three quarters when the Gaels built the cushion.
Loyola was led by Mitch Cross (21 points) and Bennett Bradley (13 points).
“I thought we just took control in the second quarter and in the third quarter we delivered the knockout blow,” said Clatchey, whose squad expanded its 35-23 halftime lead to 58-37 after three quarters. “We got some balls in transition and the guys shot the ball well.”
Jaylen Adams added solid defense to go along with 10 points and five rebounds and Charlie Jones finished with nine points and 10 rebounds, including five offensive caroms as the Gaels outrebounded the Dons 33-14, 10-2 on the offensive end.
“Jaylen played a really good game. He put pressure on the ball and made some shots and Charlie was all over the glass,” Clatchey said.
“We knew we were athletic and we had to get on the boards, and after the first quarter we did a good job of that, and helping out defensively,” Jones said. “That’s what changed the game.”
The wide margin of victory also allowed the Gaels to substitute freely in the fourth quarter and Colton Dunn’s putback with two seconds left will go down as the final basket made on the old court.
The Gaels also found a comfort zone beyond the three-point arc where they sunk nine three-pointers, including a pair from Williams in the second half when he converted all seven of his field goal attempts.
Williams, the 2012 Baltimore Catholic League Player of the Year, is one nine BCL Player of the Year selections from Mount St. Joe in the past 13 seasons.
He’ll join a long list of former Gaels playing Division I basketball next season when he plays at Ohio State University.
Seven players from the 2005-2006 championship squad that went 38-1 played Division I collegiate basketball.
Clatchey, whose career began in 1992, has coached seven Baltimore Catholic League regular-season champions and four BCL tournament champions.
He’ll miss the Memorial Gymnasium when the Gaels move to the new Mount St. Joseph Athletic Center next season.
“A lot of games and practices run through your mind, but we just wanted to go out with a win,” said the coach.
Getting another win would be a milestone for the coach from Catonsville, but the immediate significance carries more meaning.
“We have a game Sunday against John Carroll or Calvert Hall and it’s going to be a tough game,” Jones said. “Hopefully, we can get that and get back to the championship game and hopefully we can get coach his 500th win and some more after that.”
Clatchey echoed those sentiments.
“I think they are aware of it (500), but I think they are more concerned with trying to win a championship,” he said. “It’s not about individual goals. It’s not about me, but it does have a nice ring to it.”
Mount St. Joseph 79: Williams 27, Booth 16, Adams 10, Jones 9, McNeil 5, Doran 3, Scharf 3, Kearney 2, Seering 2, Dunn 2.
Loyola Blakefield 48: Cross 21, Bradley 13, Heinrich 7, Fields 5, Plunkett 2.