Boys Basketball: Gerstell executes plan in rematch, beating St. Paul's to win conference title
By Jeff Seidel
For The Carroll County Times|
Feb 24, 2019 at 8:45 PM
BEL AIR — Gerstell knew what to expect when meeting St. Paul’s in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference title game Sunday. After all, the Crusaders had beaten the Falcons twice during the regular season, and Gerstell coach Ben Thompson knew his team lacked the Crusaders’ size and bulk.
So the Falcons focused on the pace of the game and other things. They found good shots in the middle of the St. Paul’s 2-3 zone, got open for 3s on the wing several times, and used their quickness and speed to hound the Crusaders on defense while dictating the pace on offense.
Gerstell did all of that effectively and led for nearly the whole contest, and eventually claimed a second straight conference title with a 59-56 victory over St. Paul’s at Harford Community College.
Anthony Carpenter led Gerstell (21-12) with 23 points, eight rebounds and five steals. He scored 10 of his points — and made two of his steals — in the fourth quarter as the Falcons fought off St. Paul’s (19-9).
“He led us in assists, points and rebounds during the season, and he led us today,” Thompson said. “We did a good job of making adjustments today. I think they showed a lot of poise and patience on offense.”
Carpenter said the team was well aware of what happened during the regular season and that the Crusaders were both tall and big. So that’s why Gerstell used more bounce and skip passes.
“We knew they were long, so we had to get the ball under them,” Carpenter said. “We knew we had lost to them two times. We didn’t want it to be three.”
Gerstell dictated the pace throughout the game, slowing things down on offense until they found a good shot. At times early on, the Falcons sent someone into the middle of that 2-3 zone and got an open shot.
St. Paul’s adjusted, so while still remaining patient, Gerstell then began moving the ball to the wing for open 3s. The Falcons finished with five of them, including two from Carpenter and three overall during a 19-point fourth quarter.
But despite their size disadvantage, the Falcons showed no hesitation to drive to the basket. They finished with 29 free throws, compared to 10 for St. Paul’s, who wound up in second-half foul trouble.
Jeremiah Stanton finished with 16 points and repeatedly drove in amongst the trees, and said their coach told them they needed to get the ball into the paint more.
“We wanted to get to the rim and get to the free-throw line,” Stanton said. “We just had to attack the gaps.”
The quickness also played a role, especially on defense. Overall, the Falcons helped force 19 turnovers, played tight defense and made it tough for St. Paul’s to find good shots.
A 12-point run from late in the second quarter until early in the third pushed Gerstell to a 33-21 lead. The Crusaders cut that margin to four before the Falcons flew off on a 14-2 streak, giving them a 47-31 fourth-quarter advantage.
St. Paul’s cut the lead to 58-54 with 14.8 seconds left on a Miles Moore follow but could do no more.
Troy Barthelme led the Crusaders with 20 points, while Ziggy Reid added 17, but St. Paul’s just could not make enough of its outside shots in this game.
The Crusaders were trying to win their second MIAA title in the past three years but came up short.
Coach Phil Hahn gave credit to Gerstell for the team's patience at both ends of the floor and for how difficult the Falcons made it for his team at times. The Falcons remained consistent both on offense and defense, and never let the Crusaders take command.
“They definitely controlled the flow,” Hahn said. “They forced the tempo pretty well. They did a good job of disrupting the flow of the game for us.”
G- Anthony Carpenter 23, Antwan Thompson 9, Jeremiah Stanton 16, Tyler Tillery 5, Ahmad Harrison 6. Totals: 20 14-29 59.