The John Carroll School boys basketball team opened play Wednesday night with a rollercoaster ride. The Patriots watched a once promising lead disappear in a 53-50 loss against visiting Mount St. Joe.
The Gaels overcame a nine-point halftime deficit to beat host John Carroll in a Baltimore Catholic League and MIAA season opener for both teams.
The Patriots began the game a bit off on the offensive end. Despite leading 6-5 midway through the first quarter, the Patriots found themselves behind, 11-8, at the close of the period.
The second quarter, though, saw John Carroll start to find its groove. A quick 5-2 run pulled the Patriots even with the Gaels, 13 all.
Patriots senior guard Jalen Bryant made two 3-point baskets in the quarter to lead the Patriots to the nine-point, 27-18, halftime lead. Bryant, who led all scorers with 16 points, scored 11 in the second quarter.
In all, it was a 19-7 second quarter scoring advantage for the Patriots, but MSJ answered back in the third.
The Gaels opened the second half with a 7-2 run and on Bryson Tucker’s three-point play, the Gaels had the lead down to four, 29-25, with 5:51 to play in the quarter.
The Gaels continued to chip away at the lead and with 1:40 left, MSJ slipped ahead, 38-37. The Patriots added the final basket of the quarter to still lead, 39-38, but the cushion was gone.
“There’s probably a million things, right, you know, I thought we competed,” Patriots head coach Seth Goldberg said. “I thought at those moments we were trying to figure it out, I think both teams were.”
The game went to the fourth quarter with the one-point differential. Cesar Tchilombo, John Carroll’s 6-9 center, picked up his fourth foul with 6:50 left in the game.
D’Angelo Stines (11 points) came up big in the final 10 seconds. It was his three-point basket with six seconds left to play that put his team ahead for good, 52-49.
Bryant had a chance to tie after getting fouled with 4.9 seconds left, but he missed the first of three free throws before making the second. After a timeout, Bryant intentionally missed the third free throw. Bryant flung the ball off the rim, to create a much needed rebound chance, but he was called for a lane violation.
The Gaels added another free throw for the 53-50 lead and John Carroll had a desperation shot from half court at the buzzer, but the shot was off the mark.
“We’re eight days in and our guys know, when we really play together, we’re really hard to beat,” Goldberg said. “We’re still trying to figure out what that looks like this early in the season.”