Mount St. Joseph used a mix of tight man-to-man and zone defense last night to try to end second-ranked St. Frances' tear through the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association's A Conference and the Baltimore Catholic League.
Each time the No. 5 Gaels trailed, they made a run to close the gap and the teams were forced to play a second overtime to decide the winner. The host Panthers, however, made 10 of 15 free throws in the second extra period and pulled out the 83-76 victory.
Terrell Vinson put on another dominant performance for the Panthers, despite some late foul trouble, and finished with 34 points and 11 rebounds. St. Frances (18-3) improved to 11-0 in the MIAA and 8-0 in the Catholic League. The Gaels (17-5) are in third place behind Calvert Hall with a 7-4 record in the MIAA and 6-2 in the BCL.
"It's a good thing we came through, but we are going to have to come out and practice hard tomorrow," Vinson said.
Eric Atkins and Gerald Hill each scored 27 points and Ryley Beaumont added 19 for Mount St. Joseph. Dante Holmes had 20 points, Wayne Sparrow had 13 and Greg Lewis added 12 for St. Frances.
The Gaels made six of eight free throws in the first overtime and led 71-69 with 18.4 seconds left. However, the Panthers forced the extra overtime when Holmes converted two free throws with 2.1 seconds left.
In the second overtime, Vinson gave the Panthers a four-point cushion with 1:37 left by making four consecutive free throws. A three-pointer by Beaumont cut the margin to one with 1:24 left, but that basket was the last time the Gaels scored.
St. Frances was six of eight from the foul line in the final 1:14.
"The one factor was we could not stop Terrell Vinson," Atkins said. "That was the main difference in the game."