A strong second half led host and No. 6 St. Frances to a 61-47 victory over No. 12 McDonogh in a Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference game last night.
The battle for seedings in what will be a six-team MIAA A tournament, set to start a week from today with the top two teams gaining first-round byes, was in gear for middle seeds last night.
St. Frances (21-5) is 10-4 in league play, while McDonogh (15-11) fell to 8-6.
Both teams are in, but it's a matter of where they will be seeded.
Four Panthers scored at least nine points each to pace St. Frances to a 41-33 second-half edge after a lackluster first half.
Darnell Harris got 11 of his 17 points in the second half, and Gus Chase scored 10 of his team-high 18 in the second half. Gordon Brown and Rashawn Alexander scored nine points each as St. Frances took control.
"I thought we looked terrible in the first half," said St. Frances coach William Wells, whose team was coming off Sunday's home win over league-leading and then-No. 2 Mount St. Joseph (21-3 and now ranked fourth).
"But [in] the second half we came together and executed going inside, which was our plan."
St. Frances led 20-14 after the first 16 minutes despite scoring only three points in the second quarter and hitting just one of 13 field-goal attempts.
Fortunately for the Panthers, McDonogh shot only 18 percent from the field (5-for-28) in the first half.
"We didn't shoot very well at all," said McDonogh coach Matt MacMullen, understating his team's 29 percent field-goal shooting.
"But the kids played hard. Shooting that poorly, we tried to get it done with offensive rebounding and some other ways. [St. Frances] shot the ball well."
St. Frances shot 57 percent (17-for-30) in its strong second half and finished 25-for-56 (45 percent) for the game.
The Panthers needed it in the second half to overcome a game-high 19 points (17 after halftime)by Eagles freshman Malcolm Delaney, and 12 points and a game-high 11 rebounds by Justin Drummond.