The John Carroll boys basketball team lost twice to Archbishop Spalding during the regular season, including a 31-point defeat just last week.
Junior guard Kimbal Mackenzie wasn’t about to let it be three times in Tuesday’s Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference quarterfinal at Spalding.
After pulling the visiting Patriots ahead with the last seven points of the first half, Mackenzie saved some of his most important work for the end when the Cavaliers tried to rally. He scored six of his game-high 20 points in the final three-plus minutes and added a key assist as No. 15 John Carroll advanced with a 47-39 win over No. 14 Spalding.
The Patriots will travel to No. 2 Mount St. Joseph in Thursday’s semifinal round.
“We know our league is really tough, and we just came out here and fought hard," said Mackenzie, who made all eight of his free throws including four in the closing minutes. "Coach [Tony Martin] gave us a great game plan, we executed and got a good playoff win."
In Spalding’s stunning 74-43 win last Thursday, the Cavaliers were hot from the perimeter, made their free throws and also pressured the Patriots into turnovers on defense.
Those things didn’t happen as much on Tuesday. But trailing 31-21 late in the third quarter, the home team got a 3-pointer from Charles Meiklejohn just past half court at the buzzer.
When Niko King and Gary Jefferson followed with back-to-back 3’s to start the fourth quarter – cutting the John Carroll lead to 33-30 with 6:27 to play -- it looked like the Cavaliers got on track with enough time remaining.
They tied the game three times – Jourdan Grant scoring seven of his team-high 13 points in the quarter to lead the rally – but Mackenzie and the Patriots answered.
With the game tied for the last time at 37, Mackenzie drove to the basket before dishing off to Malik Tyne (11 points) for an easy basket inside. He would make it 41-37 with a short jumper on the next possession and later add two free throws to help seal the win.
No. 15 John Carroll 47, No. 14 Spalding 39
JC – Mackenzie 20, Long 3, Martin 2, Tertsea 8, Owana 3, Tyne 11. Total: 15 14-17 47 .
SP – Grant 13, Jefferson 6, Meiklejohn 7, Harris 2, Anthony 6, Gilliland 2, King 3.Totals: 14 4-9 39.
Half: JC, 23-16