The Calvert Hall boys basketball team had every key facet of the game covered last night at Mount St. Joseph: relentless rebounding, sound help on defense and sharing the ball for balanced offense.
It was all necessary as the No. 3 Cardinals were able to hold off the No. 5 Gaels, coming away with a solid 65-57 win.
The Cardinals, led by 20 points from junior forward Damion Lee, improved to 19-2 overall, 7-1 in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference and 8-1 in the Baltimore Catholic League. Despite 33 points from junior guard Eric Atkins, Mount St. Joseph (17-7 overall) dropped to 5-2 in the conference and 7-4 in the BCL.
"It was a great game," Lee said. "We already played Mount St. Joe before [a one-point win], and we didn't really have a good game, so our coach told us to come out with greater intensity."
The Cardinals shot 50 percent from the field in the pivotal second quarter to take a 30-21 lead at the half.
Atkins opened the third with a three-pointer to help get the Gaels within 30-27, but Shawn Holmes and Jonathan Graham answered with baskets.
Another three from Atkins and a driving layup by Ryley Beaumont (11 points) midway through the fourth quarter got the Gaels close again at 54-49, but Lee scored after a pass from Kyle Wise and had a follow basket with 1:52 left to build the lead to 58-49. Defense and free throws took care of the rest as the Cardinals showed poise in the closing minutes.
"It comes with experience. I have a lot of returning starters now, and they are doing a good job down the stretch," Calvert Hall coach John Bauersfeld said.
Donya Jackson scored 11, Wise finished with 10, and Graham had nine for the Cardinals.