Fifth-ranked John Carroll used a mix of zone defenses to try to stifle No. 4 Mount St. Joseph and its explosive junior forward, Kameron Williams, in Friday night's crucial Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference and Baltimore Catholic League game.
The strategy worked for three-and-a-half quarters, before the Gaels began to pick up the pressure and eventually took control. After forcing its third consecutive overtime game, Mount St. Joseph dictated play in the extra period and escaped with a 49-46 victory.
As a result, the Gaels wrapped up the Baltimore Catholic League and A Conference, earning the top seed in both conference tournaments. Williams finished with 19 points, including the game-clinching free throws in the final seconds of overtime.
"I just had to let the game come to me," Williams said. "I was forcing a lot of shots. So, I just sat down and thought about the game at the half and came out ready. The zone defense eventually opened the game up for me because I was getting a lot of open shots. That was the key."
Phil Booth added 15 points for the Gaels (13-3 MIAA, 12-2 BCL). Jarred Jones had 20 points for John Carroll (12-3 MIAA, 9-4 BCL).
Mount St. Joseph trailed for almost the entire game before a pair of free throws by Jaylen Adams with 1:11 left in regulation tied the game at 39. A layup by Booth gave Mount St. Joseph a 43-40 lead with 2:10 remaining in overtime. But Rodney Elliott then answered for the Patriots, cutting the margin to one.
Williams and Booth each made a pair of free throws for a 47-44 lead before Jones made another layup to pull John Carroll within 47-46 with 7.6 seconds remaining. Williams then sealed the game with two more free throws.
"I thought we picked up in the second and did what we had to do to win," Booth said. "We had to keep moving [against the zone defense]. You can't stand too long. You have to make your free throws to win."
The Patriots held a 25-19 lead at the half, but Mount St. Joseph picked up the pressure in the third quarter and stayed within striking distance.The Gaels later cut the margin to one on a free throw by Booth midway through the fourth quarter, but Jones answered with a 3-pointer on the next possession.
Williams then made another long 3-pointer to cut the margin to 38-37 with 3:11 on the clock. After freshman Justin Jenifer's free throw increased the lead back to two, Adams tied the game to set up the extra period.
"It was a hard-fought game," Gaels coach Pat Clatchey said. "We were down most of the night. We just kept hanging around and hanging around and made some plays."
No. 4 Mount St. Joseph 49, John Carroll 46
M-Adams 4, Booth 15, Williams 19, Doran 2, Lawrence 2, Long 7.
J- Jones 20, Elliott 6, M. Owona 4, L. Owona 2, Stokes 5, Jenifer 9.
Half: J: 25-19