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No. 4 Mount Saint Joseph knocks off top-ranked St. Frances. Pat Clatchey earns 700th career coaching win.

Mount Saint Joseph coach Pat Clatchey has enjoyed a number of milestones covering his fine career and Friday night’s victory over No. 1 St. Frances — career win No. 700 — has to come close to the top.

The No. 4 Gaels — behind a strong inside performance from Jason Edokpayi, big shots from Tyler Breslford and poised team play down the stretch — took hold of the game with a dominating third quarter and never let go in claiming a 62-53 home win over the Panthers at packed Smith Center.

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Edokpayi scored a team-high 22 points and more than held his own defensively and on the boards, while Brelsford hit for 19 points.

Mount Saint Joseph (17-3) improves to 10-2 in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference and 7-0 in the Baltimore Catholic League, handing St. Frances (21-3, 9-1 in the MIAA, 6-1) its first loss in both leagues.

Trailing 26-22 at the half, the talk was about not allowing the Panthers to go on one of their patented runs to stretch the lead. Instead, the Gaels came out on a 10-0 run and built a double digit advantage late in the quarter.

“At halftime, we all said they are one run away from taking over the game and we didn’t want that to happen. We just knew we had to get stops and that was more important than scoring at that point,” Edokpayi said. “This is a big win but the season is not over — we’re only halfway through. So we’ll celebrate tonight, but tomorrow we’re back in the gym getting ready for John Carroll on Wednesday.”

St. Frances's Adrian Baldwin, left, drives pass Mount St. Joseph Gaels Jason Edokpaki, right, in the first half of the Baltimore Catholic League basketball game. Mount St. Joe's defeated St. Frances 62-53 at the Smith Center.
St. Frances's Adrian Baldwin, left, drives pass Mount St. Joseph Gaels Jason Edokpaki, right, in the first half of the Baltimore Catholic League basketball game. Mount St. Joe's defeated St. Frances 62-53 at the Smith Center. (Kevin Richardson / Baltimore Sun)

Brelsford highlighted the impressive third quarter start. After tying the game with a spin through the lane, he hit a 3-pointer and was fouled — the four-point play providing a 30-26 lead and momentum they would never relinquish.

The Panthers got a sensational 26-point performance from senior Jamal West, whose inside basket cut the lead to 50-47 with 4:52 to play, but Edokpayi converted a three-point play to answer and had two more inside basket down the stretch.

The home team still had some work left with West tipping home his own miss to cut the lead to 55-53 with 1:56 to play, but Edokpayi had his own follow, the Gaels got two stops and Brelsford sealed the win with four free throws.

“I thought Jason was just tremendous, the progress he’s made from last year to this has been remarkable. He rebounds, he protest the rim, he makes shots,” said Clatchey, who had plans to enjoy a crab cake to celebrate the special win.

“We came out in the third quarter, we got off to a good start and I said they’re used to playing with a lead, let’s see how they play coming from behind. We knew they would make it a game — they’re a really good team, a talented team and just really proud of our guys. It was a team effort — they fought, they battled and our guards kept their poise and it was a great high school game.”

The Panthers’ success starts with their dominating team defense that converts into offense. The Gaels kept them from that with efficient play at both ends and strong defensive rebounding.

“We stopped defending and we stopped playing as a team. We didn’t do what we do best — defend — our defense makes our offense and we just stopped doing it,” said West.

SF – Baldwin 9, West 26, Ireland 15, Curtis 3. Totals: 19 11-18 53

MSJ – Brelsford 19, Edokpayi 22, Crawley 6, Sapienza 1, Carr 5, Stines 2, Sykes 2, Hamlin 5. Totals: 20 17-23 62

St. Frances's Jamal West, right, dunk is rejected by Mount St. Joseph Gaels Jason Edokpayi, left, in the second half of the Baltimore Catholic League basketball game. Mount St. Joe's defeated St. Frances 62-53 at the Smith Center.
St. Frances's Jamal West, right, dunk is rejected by Mount St. Joseph Gaels Jason Edokpayi, left, in the second half of the Baltimore Catholic League basketball game. Mount St. Joe's defeated St. Frances 62-53 at the Smith Center. (Kevin Richardson / Baltimore Sun)

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