The Baltimore Catholic League basketball tournament is always competitive, and Wednesday night’s matchup between Mount Saint Joseph and St. Maria Goretti was no different.
The Gaels won, 52-47, after watching their lead cut to just one at the end of the third quarter. But Jason Edokpayi scored nine points in the fourth and junior guard D’Angelo Stines finished with a game-high 20 points to lead Mount Saint Joseph to victory.
“They were kind of focused in on Jason [Edokpayi] and Tyler [Brelsford] because they both had big games,” Stines said. “So, I just knew what I had to do to get a win today. I saw a lot of gaps open in the defense and I just took advantage of it and tried to score.”
The game wasn’t without some hardship for Mount Saint Joseph, as Goretti clawed its way back in the third quarter and played tight in the fourth. Mount Saint Joseph coach Pat Clatchey gave Goretti credit, but expected more from his team.
“They’ve got good players, [Briggs] McClain is good, [Matt] Rogers is good, and they can shoot,” Clatchey said. “No lead is safe against them. I was disappointed with as far along we are in the season that we didn’t handle that a lot better, but you’ve just got to find a way to win.”
Stines and Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference championship game hero Edokpayi had four points at the end of the first quarter, with Goretti’s Rogers and McClain scoring four apiece to knot the score at 10.
Then Stines came alive.
The junior guard scored nine points in the second quarter, hitting a 3-pointer, a layup, two free throws and a thunderous slam dunk to help Mount Saint Joseph take a 27-16 halftime lead.
Goretti clawed its way back by way of McClain. The senior guard scored nine points to go along with Rogers’ six in the third quarter, and Stines added four to cut the Gaels’ lead to 37-36.
With Goretti within striking distance, Edokpayi made waves of his own, scoring nine points in the fourth quarter. That was enough for Mount Saint Joseph to advance to the tournament semifinals.
“I wouldn’t even consider myself stepping up at the end because it’s just the way that I played at the beginning,” Edokpayi said. “I wasn’t playing within myself and really didn’t wake up until the fourth quarter. So, I was just happy to see the ball go in. I started to get a touch and started finishing in the fourth quarter.
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“I give all the credit for this win to D’Angelo Stines because he stepped up in the fourth quarter — all four quarters. He was scoring, getting rebounds and just doing everything that he could do possibly that we get the win.”
Goretti made a valiant effort with Briggs and Rogers combining for 30 points, but Mount Saint Joseph just continued to score in the fourth quarter. For every bucket that Goretti made, the Gaels had an answer.
“We had two really good practices the last few days and we’ve really been focused and locked-in,” Goretti coach Sidney McCray said. “It leaves a sour taste in your mouth with a couple of decisions, the ball bounces their way and that’s how the game turns out.”
Mount Saint Joseph will take on Mount Carmel at Loyola Maryland on Friday at 7 p.m.
MSJ (28-5, 14-2): D. Stines 20, J. Edokpayi 15, T. Brelsford 7, S. Carr 4, A. Crawley 4, A. Hamlin 2