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John Carroll boys stun Spalding; will play for BCL basketball title

Through all the ups and downs this condensed season has brought for the John Carroll basketball team, the Patriots have stayed true to who they are. Their team motto is “Just be us, and have fun.”

It took a while in Wednesday night’s Baltimore Catholic League semifinal against Archbishop Spalding — the Patriots fell behind by 14 points well into the second quarter — but they found a way to claim a 69-66 win over the Cavaliers.

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John Carroll (10-5) will take on top-seeded and undefeated St. Frances (15-0) — a 68-49 winner over Mount Carmel in Wednesday’s other semifinal — in the championship game Friday set for 6 p.m. at Calvert Hall.

The Patriots — who lost to the three-time defending champion Panthers, 82-64, during the regular-season — will be making their fifth BCL championship game appearance in search of the program’s third crown.

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On Wednesday, Tyson Commander (20 points), Jeannot Basima (19 points) and Jalen Bryant (15 points) took turns taking over to claim the victory. Bryant’s two free throws with 16 seconds left pushed the lead to 69-64. After Cam Whitmore cut the lead to 69-66 with eight seconds left, the Cavaliers sent John Carroll’s TJ Vaughn to the free-throw line for a one-and-one opportunity with four seconds left. His miss gave the Cavaliers one last chance, but CJ Scott’s midcourt heave was well off.

“Just really proud of our guys. We really stayed together; even in the toughest moments we found a way to be tough together and have fun,” John Carroll coach Seth Goldberg said.

Added Bryant, who scored five points in the fourth quarter: “I believe in my team always — we’ve been together forever and we trust each other, so when we came out here we were together and knew we would pull it out.”

Whitmore, the BCL Player of the Year, and Ty Peterson shared game-high honors with 21 points. The Cavaliers finished the season with a 12-3 mark.

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Outside of undefeated St. Frances, John Carroll was the hottest team entering the playoffs. The Patriots continued the trend with a 67-65 upset win at third-seeded Mount Saint Joseph in Monday’s quarterfinal round, and won their eighth straight Wednesday.

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