The stars were out Friday night at packed Archbishop Spalding, where the No. 1 St. Frances boys basketball team was visiting the No. 2 Cavaliers.
The top players from both teams all had their moments in a game that proved worthy of its top billing, but the biggest one belonged to St. Frances senior guard Bryce Lindsay.
After giving the Panthers their first lead since the first quarter on a 3-pointer with 57 seconds left, Lindsay had some more work to do after the Cavaliers regained the lead. This time, Lindsay hit a long three that found nothing but net as time expired, securing a 75-73 win over the stunned Cavaliers.
Eight players scored in double figures, with Lindsay’s 23 points leading the way to help offset a sensational all-around performance from Spalding senior forward Cam Whitmore, who finished with 21.
St. Frances improved to 21-3 overall and 6-0 in the Baltimore Catholic League, while Spalding fell to 15-3 and 5-1 in league play. The game didn’t count in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference standings.
The Panthers had to play from behind most of the game and trailed by 11 with 6:22 to play. But they simply wouldn’t back down in Spalding’s noisy gym. After senior CJ Scott gave the Cavaliers a 73-72 lead with 29 seconds to play, St. Frances called timeout and got the ball to Lindsay for the final shot.
“I’m the leader of the team, I’m the senior, and my teammates count on me to make big plays like that, so I just finished,” he said. “I knew I had it in me, so I knocked down the shot.”
Junior guard Carlton Carrington finished with 21 points to help keep the Panthers within striking distance. Senior forward Cortez Johnson added 12 points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots for St. Frances, which needed every contribution to defeat a Spalding team that had five players reach double figures.
In each of the final three quarters, the Cavaliers threatened to pull away largely behind the strong play of Whitmore. In the second quarter, he had a monster dunk off an alley-oop from Scott in the midst of a 17-2 run that provided a 32-18 lead with 2:52 left in the first half. In the third quarter, he added a three and another dunk to push Spalding’s lead to 51-41 with 1:33 left.
The Panthers made their fourth-quarter push behind defense and some timely 3-pointers. Lindsay, Daquan Davis and Jahnathan Lamothe eached hit threes early in the quarter before the Panthers dominated the final two-plus minutes.
Johnson converted a three-point play with 2:15 left to close within 71-67. Carrington got behind everybody for a transition basket to close within 71-69 before Lindsay went to work in the final minute. His first three came after he stole a pass, and the magic at the buzzer soon followed.
“Adversity, man. I was just proud of the guys for staying together,” St. Frances coach Nick Myles said. “We just wanted to stay in our offense. I told the kids they’ve got to trust what the coaches were doing and where we had to get the ball to. Carlton was hot early, Cortez had his streak and then Bryce got hot late. So I was proud of the kids and how they got it to the hot guy.
“Great teams are going to find the hot guys and we did that tonight. Great game, both ways. There wasn’t any loser, but I’m glad we get the win in the record book.”
Spalding senior guard Ty Peterson, coming off his 47-point performance in Wednesday’s win at No. 3 Mount Carmel, finished with 16 points. Scott had 13, Malik Washington added 12 and Jordan Pennick chipped in 11.
Aside from the difficult final stretch that included a costly turnover and a couple misses on open looks, Spalding coach Josh Pratt was proud of his group’s effort. He said the game will serve a bigger purpose down the road.
“We’ve come a long way and we’re getting there,” he said. “We just have to keep fighting and keep our composure a little better at the end. We’ll learn from it. Give St. Frances credit. They played with a great sense of urgency and Lindsay hit two really tough shots.”
Both teams return to the court Monday with Spalding traveling to No. 5 John Carroll at 5:45 p.m. and St. Frances playing host to St. Maria Goretti at 7.
SF – Carrington 21, Lindsay 23, Johnson 12, Davis 7, Lamothe 6, Robinson 6. Totals: 29 7-11 75
AS – Whitmore 21, Pennick 11, Peterson 16, Scott 13, Washington 12. Totals: 26 13-16 73
Half: Sp, 37-29