Senior forward Steve Kraning sparked a second-quarter turnaround for No. 6 Loyola, helping the Dons topple No. 14 Calvert Hall, 62-51, yesterday at Blakefield.
The victory was the 19th of the season for the Dons (19-7), and improved their Catholic League record to 9-3. Calvert Hall dropped to 12-10 overall, 6-6 in the league. The Dons remain two games behind league-leading Cardinal Gibbons, which defeated St. Frances yesterday, clinching at least a tie for the Catholic League regular-season championship. The No. 7 Crusaders will be heavily favored to capture the title outright when they meet last-place Archbishop Curley on Friday.
After connecting on only four of 14 field-goal tries in the first quarter, Loyola, which had beaten the Cardinals by 21 at Calvert Hall earlier this season, found itself trailing, 13-9.
But Kraning, who had missed his only shot in the first period while being closely guarded by Calvert Hall's Brian Matz, got hot in the second quarter. Kraning, 6 feet 6, scored 11 of his team's first 13 points in that quarter, including a three-pointer to put Loyola ahead to stay, 19-16, while Matz was getting a rest. Kraning had 18 points for the game.
The Dons ran off a 10-point spurt in the second quarter, building a 24-16 advantage with just under three minutes left in the half. But Calvert Hall closed the gap to 27-23 on a pair of three-pointers from Jeremy Baker late in the quarter.
In the third quarter, Loyola hit eight of its first nine shots from the field (8-for-10 for the quarter) and pulled away to a 49-36 lead, as Jerry Hunt scored eight of his 12 points.