Mount St. Joseph senior Kameron Williams nailed four three-pointers and scored a team-high 26 points to lead the host Gaels to a 76-67 victory over John Carroll on Friday night.
The meeting was the first of the season for the two teams that met in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association and Baltimore Catholic League championship games last season.
John Carroll (13-6, 2-3 conference) won the MIAA title game and St. Joe (15-3, 4-2) won the BCL crown.
Williams made sure the Patriots didn’t steal the Gaels’ home thunder as his clutch three-pointer in the third period sparked a 16-0 run that turned a 41-39 lead into a 57-39 advantage.
“I basically base my game off what the defense gives me, so if they give me space, then I’m going to shoot,” said the 6-foot-3 Williams, who will play at Ohio State next year.
John Carroll narrowed the lead to 67-61 when Jordan Martin (11 points) made a three-pointer with 1:14 left in the fourth quarter, but a pair of free throws by Kyle Doran and steal and layup from Jordan McNeil pushed the lead back to 10 with 52 seconds left.
“It came down to where we had to inbound the ball, make some free throws, take some time off the clock and get a couple run outs and the ballhandling was good,” St. Joe coach Pat Clatchey said.
The Gaels also had to overcome the loss of Phil Booth (13 points), who was ejected early in the fourth quarter with the Gaels leading by 12.
“We took it in stride,” Williams said. “It was a little adversity when Phil got thrown out, but that’s what makes good teams — they fight through adversity and come out with a win.”
The win was huge, after the Gaels lost two days earlier at St. Frances, 57-56.
“There is a fine line between winning and losing and I think that is what we learned the other night, sometimes you have to learn hard lessons, but we told our guys going into tonight’s game that this was a crucial game,” said Clatchey, whose squad already won three games each in the Gonzaga Tournament and Rotary Roundball Classic in South Carolina, before the new year.
Charlie Jones, who scored seven points and had two clutch blocks late in the fourth quarter against John Carroll, was the Most Valuable Player of the Roundball Classic after back-to-back 22-point games.
Jaylen Adams added 10 points against the Patriots, who were led by senior Rodney Elliott (26 points).
“Elliott played a terrific game in the first half,” Clatchey said. “We worked on that and it just didn’t carry over from practice to the game. We switched and put Phil (Booth) on him in the second half and he did a better job.”