You would be hard-pressed to find a better boys basketball game in the area than the one played last night before a breathing-room-only crowd at Cardinal Gibbons in southwest Baltimore.
Fourth-ranked Mount St. Joseph overcame huge fourth-quarter deficits and outlasted No. 2 Gibbons, 93-90, in two overtimes.
Mount St. Joseph coach Pat Clatchey called it "an ESPN Classic." There was an incredible level of intensity, noise and excitement in the packed O. Ray Mullis Gym, where the fans sitting and standing were elbow to elbow.
The Gaels trailed 66-48 with just under five minutes left, 69-52 with three minutes left and 70-54 with 2:10 remaining.
"Without question, it's one of the greatest comebacks we've ever had," said Clatchey. "But it takes two teams to play a classic like that, and we have a lot of respect for Gibbons and their players."
Junior guard Brian Johnson fueled the Gaels down the stretch and forced overtime at 76-76 by making two free throws with no time on the clock.
"We got way behind, we still knew it wasn't over," said Johnson, who was fouled at the buzzer on his attempt to win it.
Johnson scored 13 of his team-high 26 in the final eight minutes of regulation.
Johnson then scored the last four points of the second overtime from the foul line. His play, coupled with huge contributions from the Mount St. Joseph bench (Kevin Swecker and Chase Adams), enabled the Gaels to overcome a game-high 28 points each by Gibbons' Brett Foelber and Kenny Hasbrouck.
Foelber hit buzzer-beaters at the end of the first, second and third quarters. His third three-pointer of the game came with nine seconds left in the first overtime and tied it at 82.
Mount St. Joseph (23-3) remained in first place by a game in the Baltimore Catholic League at 11-1 and tied for first at 12-2 with No. 3 Archbishop Spalding (22-4, 10-2 BCL) in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference.
Gibbons slipped to 23-5 and 9-4 in the BCL and 9-5 in the MIAA.