McDonogh's Geoffrey Streat saved his best for last against No. 20 St. Paul's yesterday.
After the Eagles fell behind by 14 points early in the fourth quarter, the 6-foot-2 guard scored 13 of his team-high 15 points in leading McDonogh to a 65-61, come-from-behind victory in the semifinals of the Independent Schools Basketball Tournament.
McDonogh, seeded third, will face tournament host and top-seeded Gilman, a 66-44 winner over Boys' Latin in the nightcap, tonight at 8.
"We were really pumped in the fourth quarter," said Streat, who sat out much of the first half with three fouls. "We've come from behind so many times before that I knew we would do it again."
Said St. Paul's coach Rick Collins: "We tried the 1-2-2 zone but he just shot over top of us. Toward the end, they hit foul shots and he hits the threes [point shots], and they're right back in it."
McDonogh (14-12) trailed, 51-37, after the Crusaders' Shane Tanzymore (game-high 21 points) hit a layup with 6 minutes, 48 seconds left in the game, but when the Eagles' full-court pressure started forcing turnovers by St. Paul's (25-3), Streat took charge.
He hit consecutive three-pointers within a minute to cut the deficit to eight. Then, after a jumper by Tanzymore, Streat hit a running one-hander in the lane to make it 53-45.
McDonogh hit five of its next six foul shots (St. Paul's missed two of three) to pull within 56-53 with 2:58 left. Two minutes later, the Eagles' Bill Flaherty tied the game at 59 with a steal at midcourt and drive for a layup.
Streat then stole the ensuing inbounds pass and hit a layup to put his team ahead, 61-59 -- its first lead since early in the third quarter.
"[Streat] showed that he's an explosive scorer," said McDonogh coach Albie Swartz. "We'd throw it into the post and when [St. Paul's] would collapse we'd just throw it out to one of our guards."
In the second game, freshman guard Jimmy Fields (17 points), 5-2, hit four first-half three-pointers as Gilman built a 13-point halftime lead and went on to the victory.
"[Fields] really got us going," said coach Tim Holley of Gilman (15-12). "[Boys' Latin] had to sit back in a zone because they knew we'd punch it into our big men, so he had the shot."
The Greyhounds out-rebounded the Lakers, 35-26, and dominated them physically. Seniors Jamal Cox and Josh Miller led Gilman with nine rebounds each.
"We really boxed out well," said Holley. "This was about as good as we've played for four quarters all year. Like I told the kids; 'Finally, Gilman showed up.' "
Boys' Latin fell to 18-12 on the season.