Strong second half carries No. 3 John Carroll over No. 13 St. Vincent Pallotti, 76-59

John Carroll boys basketball star Immanuel Quickley took time to have a photo taken with one of his young fans after the Patriots’ home game against St. Vincent Pallotti on Thursday night.

With his senior season approaching the home stretch, there’s becoming a greater sense of appreciation of what he has brought and is still bringing in his four years at the Bel Air school.

Quickley’s polished game was again on full display in the second half Thursday.

With the No. 3 Patriots leading by three points at the half, Quickley, who was named to the McDonald’s All America basketball team earlier this week, took the lead role with plenty of support.

He stole passes, rebounded, found teammates with assists and scored. Of his game-high 21 points, 10 came in the Patriots’ take-charge third quarter that paved the way for a 76-59 win over the No. 13 Panthers.

John Carroll (13-5) improved to 6-1 atop the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference’s Black Division. Pallotti (15-6) fell to 5-3 in the Red Division.

Late in the third quarter, Quickley made 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to give the Patriots a 56-46 advantage. It got John Carroll coach John Zito’s attention.

“It’s funny, he hit those two 3s that kind of built that lead and I grabbed him and said, ‘Those are McDonald’s All American shots right there,” Zito said. “As a coach, I’m really just trying to enjoy it and soak it in, but, at the same time, continue to coach our guys and make sure we stay sharp.”

With a talented group in Quickley, fellow seniors Montez Mathis (13 points), Qadir Ismail (11 points) and Nigel Haughton (11 points) and junior Yavuz Gultekin (eight points) trusted to provide the offense, Zito’s emphasis is to make sure the team brings it at the defensive end.

The effort was cranked up in the second half. The Patriots pressured and trapped, converting points from the defense to shake off a determined effort from a Panthers team that was simply overmatched.

After Ismail opened the quarter with two free throws, Quickley made it 43-36 with a steal and dunk. The Patriots took their first double-digit lead at 50-40 when Quickley scored easily underneath off an inbound pass from Haughton with 5:07 left in the quarter.

Minutes later, Quickley impressed with his 3 point range.

“First half we started off a little slow,” Quickley said. “Credit a good Pallotti team. … But in the second half, we executed what we needed to do — getting stops, playing defense, 50-50 balls — all the little stuff, so that was how we got the win. I kind of started out distributing in the first half, trying to get my teammates involved. But the second half, I tried to be aggressive, tried to look for mine a little more while also still getting my teammates involved. So trying to step on the throat of the other team.”

The Panthers recovered from an early 7-2 deficit and went on to build a 29-24 lead on a 3-pointer from Kyron Martin with 5:08 to play in the second quarter. But they couldn’t keep up in the second half after the Patriots raised the intensity. Martin and Gilbert Otoo shared team-high honors with 12 for Pallotti.

“They blitzed us. They just outplayed. We quit and now we got to get ready for Mount Carmel,” Panthers coach Dennis Murphy said.

SVP—Cannady 5, Giles 9, Warrick 6, Martin 12, Otoo 12, Johnson 3, Mallory 10, Carter 2. Totals: 23 7-10 59.

JC—Quickley 21, Mathis 13, Craig 5, Haughton 11, Gultekin 8, Byers 2, Ismail 11, Goyena 3. Totals: 31 7-9 76. Half: JC, 39-36

glenn.graham@baltsun.com

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