Baltimore County Sports

Mount Saint Joseph boys basketball holds off a St. Mary’s team trying to prove itself, 79-71

St. Mary’s coach Trey Quinn scheduled the defending Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference champion for a reason.

The Saints bid farewell to half its starting force after winning last year’s B Conference title. But the team couldn’t let all the progress it built over the last few years disappear. Wednesday, the remaining Saints proved that progress certainly had not left the building, but Mount Saint Joseph still stood tall with a 79-71 win.


The Gaels are quite thankful for the early challenge.

“Those kids are good players. They believe,” longtime Mount St. Joseph coach Pat Clatchey said. “I told our guys if we handle this the right way, we’ll learn from this.”

Mount Saint Joseph’s Tyronne Farrell scores in the first quarter of Wednesday's game at St. Mary's.

Without senior Austin Abrams on the floor, the Gaels played partially out of their typical roles. Nonetheless, Clatchey was satisfied to see junior Tyonne Farrell (27 points), junior DJ Wingfield (21 points) and senior Amani Hansberry (17 points) compensate.

St. Mary’s seniors Aidan Harris and Grady Wolfe each scored 19 points. Ajani Lomax chipped in 17.

“They won a lot of games last year and they’ve been through some battles,” Quinn said, “so it helps to have that core back. They’re reminding the younger guys to stay even-keeled.”

As much as St. Mary’s fouled the Gaels early, they couldn’t covert from the line start 1-for-4.

“Each season’s different and sometimes you have to go through things and experience them,” Clatchey said. “Didn’t finish around the rim as well, but, valuable lessons.”

Mount Saint Joseph’s Amani Hansberry scores over Saint Mary’s Aidan Harris in the second quarter of Wednesday's game.

That changed in the second quarter. Thanks to Hansberry and Farrell, the Gaels hit 8 of 12 free throws to grow a lead despite struggling from the field.

But where Mount St. Joseph dried up, St. Mary’s bloomed. Harris fanned the Saints’ resurgence with nine points; he and Lomax shrunk Mount St. Joseph’s advantage to 22-21 while every Gael who tried a shot fell flat — except Wingfield.

The Gaels junior breathed the only life into his squad. His first 3-point shot swept a bit out of the Saints’ sails; the second seemed to ground them as senior Amani Hansberry followed it up, stretching the lead to eight.


St. Mary’s relied on its fundamental defense first.

“We knew they’d made shots eventually because they’re super talented,” Quinn said. “We tried to mix in matchup defenses so they’d get a different look every couple times down the floor.”

Harris struck back with a layup. Lomax, just as time expired, flowed back to the perimeter and flipped in the 3-pointer that got the Saints with 2, 32-30, at halftime.

It took Mount St. Joseph until the third quarter to fully realize its best weapon against a nasty defense in the box. After a 3-pointer by Ace Valentine, it was clear, St. Mary’s struggled to protect the perimeter.

Saint Mary’s Grady Wolfe shoots in the fourth quarter of Wednesday's game against Mount Saint Joseph.

“We wanted to take away some of their confidence and momentum,” Clatchey said. “I’ve seen this before. The crowd gets into it, they get hot. Next thing you know, we’re walking out of here with a loss.”

Wolfe and Casey Smith led the Saints’ fight back. And as the third quarter clock waned, Harris launched through the purple pack and dropped the basket that had St. Mary’s back within 57-55 at the buzzer.


Once again, the dangerous trio of Wingfield, Farrell and Hansberry got MSJ rolling in the fourth. Pushing ahead to its second double-digit margin could have finally quelled a lesser B Conference team. But not St. Mary’s.

Smith ignited St. Mary’s with a trey and a basket from Lomax, complete with a roar of pride cut the lead back to two at 70-68.

But Saints fouls piled up and and the Gaels made them pay from the line.

“It’s good to be competitive,” Quinn said. “It’s good to learn from a loss and try to come back more competitive.”


The Saints (0-2) seemingly up the ante on their nonconference opponents every year. Along with Mount St. Joseph (1-0), St. Mary’s plays seven games in 10 days, including a championship rematch with Annapolis Area Christian School on Friday. The Saints have to in order to keep up with their conference mates doing the same. AACS scheduled Archbishop Spalding, McDonogh and Calvert Hall; Severn plays Calvert Hall and DeMatha.

“Basketball’s just really good in the area. You don’t have to go far to find a really good game,” Quinn said, “and I think everyone who’s a competitor wants to play those high level games.”

The Saints also tilted with A Conference Loyola Blakefield last week, falling thanks in part to too many fouls.

“We’ve got to address it in practice and make it a point of emphasis,” Quinn said, “for us to stop swiping at people, keep our hands off of them.”