The Patriots wanted to control the flow of the game by playing sound defense and varying their pace on offense.
Outscoring the No. 3 Panthers by 10 points in a take-charge third quarter, the No. 6 Patriots came away with a 70-61 win to continue their recent dominance of St. Frances.
It's the sixth straight time the Patriots have defeated the Panthers, including the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference and Baltimore Catholic League title games last year. On Tuesday, freshman guard Justin Jenifer was the catalyst, scoring nine of his game-high 19 points in the third quarter, including a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Patriots a 49-34 advantage going into the fourth.
Senior forward Jarred Jones added 14 points, sophomore Kamau Stokes scored 13 before leaving the game with an injury in the fourth quarter and junior Rodney Elliott had 12.
John Carroll (19-5) improves to 6-3 in the MIAA and 8-2 in the BCL, while St. Frances (13-6) falls to 8-4 in the MIAA and 8-3 in the BCL.
"We had beaten them five in a row, so we had to keep it going," Jones said. "We knew they would be coming out for us, so we had to come out with full intensity. Our coaches said we need to start peaking near the end of the year, and that's where we're at."
Leading 28-23 at halftime, the Patriots came out sharp from the outside with Jenifer connecting on two 3-pointers and Elliott and Stokes hitting one each. The team also made its first 12 free throws of the game.
The Panthers, who got a team-high 18 points from Maurice White and 15 from Tevon Saddler, would cut the lead to five on three occasions in the final minutes but would get no closer with the Patriots hitting eight straight free throws in the final two minutes before an emphatic dunk by Jones to close out the game.
Controlling the tempo was a big key in the Patriots' 63-57 home win Dec. 14, and it proved the same Tuesday.
"We thought we did that well in the first game and it would be a little more difficult here in this game to be able to attack their pressure in spots and also be able to pull it out and settle in other spots. I think we did that," John Carroll coach Tony Martin said.
Saddler also had to leave the game midway though the fourth quarter with an injury.
JC—Jenifer 19, Jones 14, Stokes 13, Elliott 12, L. Owona 2, James 2, M. Owona 2, C. Owona 2, Garner 4 . Totals: 19 28-36 70.
SF—White 18, Saddler 15, Cook 7, Wells 3, Forney 1, Heard 4, Lee 5, Warren 4, Costley 4. Totals: 19 14-22 61.
Half: JC, 28-23