All around the St. Frances gymnasium there are banners that read: “Unleash Chaos.”
The Panthers boys basketball team did just that against visiting Mount Carmel on Monday — in a hurry.
Behind a 14-point, 11-assist, six-steal performance from sophomore point guard Adrian Baldwin, the No. 7 Panthers took charge from the start and never let up in coming away with a 91-59 home win over the No. 6 Cougars.
Sophomore guard Jordan Toles added a team-high 17 points and 11 Panthers scored. St. Frances, coming off its first loss Saturday night against D.C.’s Gonzaga, improves to 6-1 overall and 3-0 in the Baltimore Catholic League. Mount Carmel, which got a game-high 18 points from senior forward Jordon Jones, falls to 3-2 overall and 2-1 in the BCL. The game didn’t count in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference standings.
Coming out fast was important to the Panthers after their disappointing performance on Saturday and they did just that — scoring the game’s first five points and then closing the first quarter on an 18-0 run to lead 29-9.
“We took a tough loss on Saturday against Gonzaga and we came back with a good attitude, not worrying about the past and wanted to just keep fighting and control the tempo,” said Baldwin, who scored 12 in the tone-setting first quarter.
The Panthers played tough defense, rebounded well and shared the basketball to get good looks at the basket.
After taking an 11-4 lead on a 3-pointer from Rajeir Jones with 5:12 to play in the first quarter, the Cougars found answers at the offensive end with a 3-pointer from Rasheed Brown and jumper from Brandon Watson to cut the lead to 11-9 with 4:01 to play.
But the Panthers took over from there with the 18-0 run — getting two 3-pointers from Toles and one from Baldwin at the buzzer for the 29-9 advantage.
For Mount Carmel, Jones had to sit with his second foul with 2:54 to play in the first quarter in the midst of the Panthers’ run. He had a 12-point second quarter, but the Panthers couldn’t be stopped at the other end, taking a 49-30 lead at the break.
Leading 54-30 one minute into the third quarter, consecutive 3s came from Elijah Epps, Jones, Bassirou Diop and Epps again as their hot perimeter shooting continued.
“I think we had an off showing on Saturday and it was motivating to show everybody how good we really are,” St. Frances coach Nick Myles said. “I’ve been saying this all along, I think this is the deepest team we’ve ever had. We got 10 guys that can play and probably eight or nine starters and it’s just a matter of everybody giving up something for the sake of the team. The way we move the ball and shared the ball and cheered for each other was remarkable.”
While St. Frances travels to St. Maria Goretti on Wednesday, the Cougars will try to bounce back against Boys’ Latin.
“St. Frances is very deep and pretty good, and Ace [Baldwin] made some great plays early and set the tone, so it was a tough one tonight,” said Mount Carmel coach Hakim Hibbert. “We play again on Wednesday, so there’s no time to hold our heads — back to practice tomorrow.”
MC—Felton 5, Watson 5, Brown 3, Jones 18, Howard 3, Carrington 8, Bush-Williams 1, Rushing 3, Quickley 13. Totals: 16 14-22 59.
SF—Baldwin 14, Murphy 11, Epps 6, Diop 9, Jones 8, Ferguson 8, Hooper 2, Moore 5, Toles 17, Montague 4, Henry 3 . Totals: 32 11-18 91. Half: SF, 49-30.