Sometimes a team needs a fire lit under it when it struggles early. Mount Saint Joseph coach Pat Clatchey blew a blow torch under the Gaels, who went on to defeat Mount Carmel, 73-60, in the Baltimore Catholic League semifinals on Friday.
At the end of the first quarter, the Gaels trailed 15-10. Then, they pumped up the volume in the second quarter, scoring 23 points. All five starters scored in double figures for Mount Saint Joe. Jason Edokpayi, Tyler Brelsford and D’Angelo Stines scored 14, while Ausar Crawley had 13 and Antonio Hamlin added 11.
Mount Saint Joe will take on St. Frances at 1 p.m. on Sunday at Loyola University’s Reitz Arena for the Baltimore Catholic League championship. It will be their fourth and final matchup of the season and second championship matchup in a week.
“We got into a really slow start and we weren’t ready to play in the first half,” Brelsford, a senior, said. “Coach got into us in the locker room at halftime and we just got better. We won and we’ll see St. Frances Sunday in the championship.”
The Gaels struggled in the first quarter, going 5-for-13 (38.5%) from the field. In the ensuring quarters, Mount Saint Joe shot 62.5%, 50% and 58.3%, respectively. The biggest help came from the 3-point line, where they shot 7-for-13 (53.8%).
Last Sunday, the Gaels defeated St. Frances in the MIAA championship game. Then, they had to turn around and play a tight, 52-47 game against St. Maria Gorreti in the BCL semifinals.
It’s safe to say they pulled their game out of the mud.
“It’s been a long week — it’s been a long season, everybody is banged up a little bit,” Hamlin said. “So, it’s hard to come out with a lot of energy, but we got the job done. The balanced scoring is good for us. You can’t key-in on one guy and we needed to produce and we need it again on Sunday.”
The Gaels pushed past the Cougars in the second quarter with a score of 33-24. Brelsford took over in the second half, scoring all 14 of his points in the final two quarters.
Koralp Turk had 16 for the Cougars and Deon Perry led all scorers with 27 points. Despite their scoring efforts, Mount Carmel lost the turnover battle with 13 to Mount Saint Joe’s 10.
“They play man, they are going to do their stuff, they’re not going to do too much exotic,” Mount Carmel coach Trevor Quinn said. “When we turned it over a couple of times, they capitalized, but otherwise — they’re going to play methodically, keep the ball in front and you’ve got to be composed, take care of the ball, take good shots and not make mistakes.”
St. Frances, which defeat Loyola Blakefield in the other BCL semfinal, was selected as the Baltimore Catholic League’s representative in the Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament, so Mount Saint Joe wants to end its season with a bang.
“It’s going to take a total team effort like it did the last time that we played them,” Stines said. “All five starters, the bench — just everybody needs to step up and do what it takes to win. It’s our last game and we have to go out with a win.”
MSJ (29-5): J. Edokpayi 14, T. Brelsford 14, D. Stines 14, A. Crawley 13, A. Hamlin 11, S. Carr 5, C. Sapienza 2
MC (17-3): D. Perry 27, K. Turk 16, A. McCoy 5, B. Minor 4, T. Nnadozie 4, T. Edwards 2, C. Jackson 2