Senior forward Dwayne Morgan overcame early foul trouble to finish with a team-high 17 points and sophomore guard Daquan Bracey finished with 15 points and 10 assists as the No. 10 Panthers came away with the upset win at No. 3 Calvert Hall in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference semifinals.
The defending league champion Panthers (24-11) will take on No. 2 Mount St. Joseph in Sunday’s championship game, set for 7:30 p.m. at UMBC.
The teams split two regular season games, with St. Frances claiming a 60-51 home win on Dec. 4 before the Gaels earned a 63-48 win on Jan. 15.
In Friday’s win over the Cardinals (26-5), the Panthers jumped out fast and were able to maintain the advantage throughout with strong inside play.
After dropping their last three regular season games, including a 69-62 loss at Calvert Hall last Sunday, the St. Frances has regrouped with impressive playoffs wins over Mount Carmel and the Cardinals to reach the title game.
Sophomore guard Khalil Richards has missed the past two weeks with a concussion, forcing the team to adjust.
St. Frances coach Nick Myles said the team has done so, looking inside more for offense and playing tougher defense to compensate for Richards' absence.
“We’ve had to regroup playing without Khalil and I think we’ve figured it out,” Myles said. “I think [the title game] is going to be fun, and I like our chances. We like being the underdog, and we’re going to stay together and fight hard for it.”