The top-ranked St. Frances boys basketball team knew exactly what to expect when it traveled to Mount St. Joseph last night.
The No. 9 Gaels like to play disciplined ball with an emphasis on defense.
The Panthers showed they could do the same.
With senior forward Terrell Vinson scoring a game-high 19 points, a 2-3 zone that kept the Gaels uncomfortable on offense, and different players stepping up at key times, the Panthers came away with a sturdy 49-40 win.
St. Frances improved to 11-1 this season and 5-0 in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference, while the Gaels (11-4) fell to 2-2 in league play.
"We played zone pretty tough most of the way. With the 2-3, we really contained them, kept them from penetrating and doing what they wanted to do," said Vinson, who scored 12 points in the second half.
With both teams buckling down on defense, a stretch midway through the fourth quarter proved big for the visitors, and the contributions on the offensive end came from several sources.
Junior Wayne Sparrow (11 points) hit a long jumper with 4:27 left to give the Panthers a 35-29 lead. After the Gaels answered with an inside basket from Gerald Hill to again cut the lead to four, junior guard Dante Holmes made a nice spin move in the lane for a layup and a 37-31 lead with 2:20 to play.
A minute later, Vinson converted a three-point play to give the Panthers a 40-31 lead that would stay safe. Holmes added an inside basket off a feed from point guard Ronald Williams, and the Panthers hit seven of 12 free throws in the last minute.
Vinson also grabbed five rebounds and blocked three shots, but his inside-outside game in the second half on offense was the difference.
"He's our senior, and we wanted to try to isolate him more in the third and fourth quarters," St. Frances coach Mark Karcher said. "That's when you win games. He's got an inside and outside game, and we wanted to utilize him both ways."
Holmes finished with eight points and 10 rebounds for the Panthers. Junior guard Eric Atkins scored 14 points to lead the Gaels.
NO. 13 LOYOLA 52, NO. 7 JOHN CARROLL 48: : Isaiah Philmore scored a game-high 23 points in a losing effort for the visiting Patriots (10-4).
Matt Rum had 19 for the Dons (9-1), including 6-for-8 from the foul line in the fourth quarter.
Loyola led by nine at the half and held off a late rally.
Baltimore Sun reporters contributed to this article.