John Carroll star senior guard Immanuel Quickley has been there before, his team needing a basket in the closing seconds of a big game.
And like before, the McDonald’s All American and All-Metro regular was able to come through in Thursday night’s Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference semifinal game.
Draped by a defender, Quickley was able to get to the basket and banked home the winner, just beating the overtime buzzer to send the No. 3 Patriots to a 79-78 home win over No. 2 Mount Saint Joseph.
John Carroll (26-7) will take on No. 6 Boys’ Latin — a 68-65 upset winner over No. 1 St. Frances in Thursday’s other semifinal — for the championship Sunday at Harford Community College. Game time is set for 5:30 p.m. Mount Saint Joseph fell to 27-5 and will start preparing for next week’s Baltimore Catholic League playoffs.
It took a monumental effort from the Patriots to beat the Gaels, who lost fellow McDonald’s All American senior Jalen Smith (16 points) early in the third quarter with an apparent head injury.
Quickley, who missed on a chance to win it at the fourth-quarter buzzer, finished with 22 points. Montez Mathis added 21 points, Brandon Craig scored 14 and Yavuz Gultekin added 11 for the Patriots.
After Mount Saint Joseph took a 78-77 lead on a drive from Tyree Myers with seven seconds left, Quickley ended up being the last hero in a game with many. In his sophomore year, when he was named the All-Metro Player of the Year, he hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer against the Gaels in the Baltimore Catholic League title game.
While bringing home the BCL title that year topped the list of great games he has played in, Thursday’s thriller wasn’t far behind.
“Man, I’m just overwhelmed — that game was crazy,” he said. “ I had missed the previous game-winner but I tried not to let it get me down and moved on to the next play.”
The Gaels led 38-37 when Smith left the game after a hard fall with 6:59 to play in the third quarter. They were able to hang tough behind a 30-point effort from junior guard James Bishop, who scored 12 in the fourth quarter, including a tying 3-pointer with 13 second left in regulation. Forward Tim McDonald also stepped up for the Gaels, scoring 10 of his 12 points after Smith’s departure.
“It was a very high level basketball game. I thought there was a ton of heart on the floor from both teams. Very high, high intensity game,” John Carroll coach John Zito said.
As for Quickley having the final say, Zito didn’t have to say much.
“That’s what he does — that’s what he does,” he said.
The first half, which ended with the game tied at 35, featured a couple of highlight-reel plays from both teams.
In the first quarter, Smith blocked a shot by Quickley at one end and then followed a miss with a dunk at the other to give the Gaels an 11-6 lead with 4:31 to play.
In the second quarter, Gultekin provided the season’s most explosive play — going high above the rim to take an inbounds pass from under the basket and finishing with a jam that had the crowd buzzing minutes later. He was fouled on the play, converting the free throw that gave the Patriots a 31-26 lead with 2:17 to play before halftime.
The teams split two games during the regular season with each winning at home. The Patriots claimed a 74-53 win on Nov. 7 before Mount Saint Joe won, 78-71, on Feb. 12.
No. 6 Boys’ Latin 68, No. 1 St. Frances 65: Cameron Watts scored the go-ahead basket, a 3-pointer, with 28 seconds left as the visiting Lakers (25-6) stunned the Panthers (32-5) in an MIAA A Conference semifinal.
Boys’ Latin won in similar fashion in Tuesday’s quarterfinal when Sam Grace scored the winning basket with four seconds left to upend St. Vincent Pallotti, 56-54.
MSJ — Myers 7, Bishop 30, J. Smith 16, McDonald 12, McMillan 4, Crawley 5, Sykes 4. Totals: 31 11-12 78
JC—Quickley 22, Mathis 21, Haughton 6, Gultekin 11, Ismail 5, Craig 14. Totals: 28 16-21 79