The Mount St. Joseph boys basketball team took care of two things in Sunday's Baltimore Catholic League semifinal against John Carroll at Loyola University's Reitz Arena.
With junior guard Phil Booth leading the way with 16 points, the No. 3 Gaels came away with a 62-53 win over the No. 7 Patriots that gave coach Pat Clatchey his 500th career win and sends them into the final to defend last year's championship.
Mount St. Joseph (29-6) will meet No. 7 Archbishop Spalding in Monday's championship game. Game time at Loyola is set for 7 p.m.
"It was a hard-fought game and I was really proud of the guys," Clatchey said. "We had a few guys really step up in Phil Booth and Jaylen Adams, and we had some good stops, took care of the ball and hit some free throws. We were a little disappointed [after last Sunday's 75-62 loss to St. Frances in the MIAA A championship game], but that's in the past and we have a new opportunity now and have to take care of business now."
The Gaels led throughout the second half and had an answer every time John Carroll (26-12) pulled close.
Leading 48-44 with 3:35 to play, freshman forward Daveyon Barnes drove to the basket to beat the shot clock and push the lead to 50-44. From there, Booth and fellow junior guard Jaylen Adams (13 points) closed out the win at the free throw line, hitting 12 of 14 down the stretch.
Sophomore guard Kimbal Mackenzie led John Carroll with 15 points, while Jordan Martin and Mike Owona scored 10 each.
Clatchey, in his 21st season, has won 15 regular-season and tournament championships in the BCL and Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association's A Conference.
No. 7 Archbishop Spalding 63, Mount Carmel 53: Trailing 21-19 at the half, the Cavaliers (22-11) attacked the basket relentlessly in the third quarter and then hit free throws in the fourth to shake pesky Mount Carmel.
Spalding senior forward Earl Potts scored 10 of his game-high 18 points in the fourth quarter to lead a balanced offense. The Cavaliers, who will make their sixth championship game appearance in a bid for their fourth title, also got 13 points and seven rebounds from Charles Meiklejohn and 10 points each from Jourdan Grant and Malik Harris.
Mount Carmel became only the second eighth seed in the tournament's 42-year history to knock off the top seed when it upset No. 1 St. Frances, 59-50, in Thursday's quarterfinal round.
Strong team defense and rebounding kept the Cougars (12-18) close in the first half, but Spalding went on a 7-1 run midway through the third quarter to finally pull away, building a 37-31 on a driving layup Grant with 1:36 left. The Cavaliers made 17 of 23 free throws in the fourth quarter to seal the win.
"The first half we started off a little shaky," Potts said. "We went into halftime and got chewed out a little bit. [Coach Derrick Lewis] said we were being selfish, so that's why we came out sharing the ball. [Getting to the championship game] is one of the best feelings of my life — hard work pays off."
Corey Groom and Johnny Rhodes each scored 12 points to lead Mount Carmel. David Erebor (six points) had a strong game defensively with eight rebounds and five blocked shots.
(at Loyola University)
No. 3 Mount St. Joseph 62, No. 6 John Carroll 53
JC – Mackenzie 15, Tertsea 4, Martin 10, M. Owona 10, Elliott 9, Long 5. Totals: 19 10-20 53.
MSJ – Doran 5, Booth 16, Williams 6, Barnes 10, Adams 13, McNeil 8, Jones 4 . Totals: 19 20-25 62.
Half: MSJ, 26-20.
No. 7 Spalding 63, Mount Carmel 53
MC – Poli 5, Erebor 6, Rhodes 12, Cunningham 11, Smith 4, Webb 1, Groom 12, Fitch 2. Totals: 17 18-24 53.
AS – Grant 10, Potts 18, Massimini 8, Meiklejohn 13, Harris 10, Jefferson 4. Totals: 16 24-35 63.
Half: MC, 21-19.