March 16, 2014

Paul VI rolls past DeMatha for title


In just its second appearance in the Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament, Paul VI had no problem dispatching 21-time champion DeMatha. The Panthers led from wire-to-wire and rolled to a 48-35 win over the Stags for the 2014 title Saturday night in front of packed house at Frostburg State University’s Bobcat Arena.  

Both teams entered the tournament ranked nationally, but 20th-ranked Paul VI made it look easy. The Panthers led from the opening tip to the final horn while capturing their 31st victory of the season (31-6).     

“I thought our defensive intensity was fantastic,” said Paul VI head coach Glenn Farello. “We have played very good defense over the last nine postseason games and I have been impressed with the group (team) throughout.”     

Paul VI and DeMatha, ranked 22nd nationally, are no strangers to one another as the two teams met three previous times before the ACIT Championship contest. The Panthers also defeated the Stags 56-37 in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference.     

“We came out a little stagnant on offense and we struggled to hit our open jump shots,” added Farello. “We’ve always played well in the transition game but we struggled in our half-court offense. We made some big plays when we needed to make them tonight.”     

Josh Reaves, a 6-foot-4 junior, slammed home the game’s opening basket for the Panthers to set the tone and they carried that momentum throughout the entire evening. Neither team shot the ball particularly well, but Paul VI played well enough to lead 17-10 after the first quarter. The Panthers opened the game with a 7-0 cushion before leading by seven heading into the second.     

Paul VI outscored DeMatha 7-5 in the second quarter, but increased its lead to 12 with 1:40 to play. Corey Manigault, a 6-7 sophomore, gave the Panthers a 24-12 lead with a pair of free throws. The Stags’ Alani Moore, a 5-8 sophomore, ended the first half with a three-pointer that cut DeMatha’s deficit to 24-15.     

Marcus Derrickson, a 6-8 junior, opened second-half action with two free throws and the Panthers scored the first five points to lead by 15, 30-15.     

DeMatha cut its deficit to seven late in the third and again early in the fourth, but the night and the title belonged to Paul VI. After opening the game with a dunk, Reaves slammed home two more in the closing minutes of the fourth and both times handed Paul VI a 15-point edge.     

Kevin Dorsey, a 6-0 junior, was named the ACIT Most Valuable Player and was the lone Panther to score in double figures with 14 points. Derrickson earned Second Team All-Tournament honors and he finished the title game with seven points and five rebounds. Reaves scored eight points and finished with a team-high seven rebounds.     

For DeMatha, Moore took home First Team All-Tournament honors and was the lone Stag in doubles figures with 12 points and a game-best nine rebounds. Joseph Hamilton, a 6-6 sophomore, earned Second Team All-Tournament honors after scoring seven points and grabbing six rebounds.

-Noah Becker, Cumberland Times-News

Trimble leaves O’Connell with 35 points, 84-78 win

McDonald’s All-American Melo Trimble closed his high school career by doing what he’s done since he first put on a Bishop O’Connell basketball uniform four years ago, closing out a game in clutch, cool command to provide a victory for the Knights.     

Trimble, the 6-foot-3 guard and Washington Catholic Athletic Conference Player of the Year who will next play for the University of Maryland, hit seven free throws in the final 2:20, scoring 14 points in the fourth quarter and finishing with 35 points for the game to lead O’Connell to an 84-78 win over WCAC rival St. John’s College and third place in the 54th ACIT Saturday night at Frostburg State University.     

For the Knights (20-12), who won the ACIT title last year with Trimble as the tournament Most Valuable Player, it was a particularly satisfying way to end the season, as they were able to defeat the Cadets for the first time this year after dropping 82-80 and 66-63 decisions to them during the regular season.     

“St. John’s is a well-coached, experienced team,” said O’Connell head coach Joe Wootten. “We lost by two in the first one to them and had a last-second three-point shot that missed in the next one, so it’s great to get this one. They’re a very good team.     

“We played great the first night and played great tonight, not that Paul VI (whom the Knights lost to on Friday) isn’t a great team. We wanted to be in the championship, but it’s a character game and you have to act like men. Tonight we came back like men. I really thought Dom Fragala picked us up tonight, hitting some huge threes. He’s just a freshman and he was huge tonight.”     

Fragala hit five three-point goals to finish with 19 points for the Knights. Oumar Barry, 6-9 senior, scored 10 points and had six rebounds. Lewis Djonkman, 6-7 sophomore, led O’Connell with nine rebounds. The Knights outrebounded the Cadets, 34-25.    

For St. John’s (28-6), the WCAC regular-season champion, Darian Bryant was a force in the paint all evening, scoring 23 points with nine rebounds. James Palmer, who is headed to the University of Miami, scored 19 points and Michael Morsell scored 13.     

The night belonged to Trimble, however, who also finished the game with 13 assists and 11 rebounds. His game is so complete, particularly considering he had always been a shooting guard until taking on the point position the past two seasons, learning as he goes along. His game is quiet, in the way he moves, the way he glides with the ball and with his shot, the net rarely moving when the ball goes to its bottom.     

“Melo’s final game,” said Wootten in a near-hushed tone that indiciated he never believed Melo’s final game would ever really come. “I’ll miss him … Not only is he a great player, he’s a great person. He’s one of the most coachable kids there is, and he’s a competitor. He gave up two offensive rebounds to Palmer late in the game, and I said, ‘Do you want to go out this way?’ And in the end he got the big rebound for us.     

“What a player.”     

“It was a good game,” said Trimble. “It was my last game and I wanted to go out with a bang, and that’s what we did. We had a good game and came out with the W.”     

As for his experience with the ACIT the past two years, Trimble said. “It’s a good atmopshere here with all the kids. Just as I do, all the players want to go to the highest level, and this tournament is just great. They provide us with food all the time and great hospitality. It’s a family atmosphere and I’ve really enjoyed it.”     

St. John’s built an early eight-point lead to start the game and led 19-15 after the first quarter. But Trimble opened the second with a three-point play from the line, and a three-point play from behind the arc to give the Knights the lead, 21-19. Palmer would tie the score at 22 for the Cadets, but behind Trimble, Fragala and Jamaal King Jr., O’Connell went on a 16-4 run to build a 38-26 lead, and would lead 40-33 at the half.     

The Knights maintained a five to nine-point lead through the third and led 64-58 entering the fourth. Palmer, however, went to work, scoring the first eight St. John’s points to bring the Cadets to within 68-64. Anthony Cowan Jr., a spark the entire tournament off the bench for the Cadets, hit a three and a layup off a steal to bring St. John’s to within one, then scored on a drive to give the Cadets the 71-70 lead.     

Trimble for O’Connell answered, then James Mitchell for St. John’s, then Fragala with another three-pointer for the Knights to give them the lead for the final time, 75-73. The Cadets would get to within 76-75 on a Morsell follow, but Trimble got himself to the free-throw line three times, converting all six attempts, in the final 1:28, with King’s free throws, then Trimble’s at 5.8 seconds providing O’Connell the win.

-Mike Burke, Cumberland Times-News

Booth, MSJ roll over Calvert Hall

Mount St. Joseph’s beat Calvert Hall 99-66 behind 37 points from Villanova recruit Phil Booth in the consolation bracket championship of the 54th ACIT Saturday afternoon at Frostburg State University’s Bobcat Arena.     

Booth, a 6-foot-4 guard, converted on all 13 of his free-throw attempts and contributed five rebounds and three assists in the Gaels’ 33-point victory.     

Calvert Hall started strong, jumping out to an early 6-3 lead, but Mount St. Joe’s quickly erased the deficit and took a 20-11 first quarter lead.     

In the second quarter, two straight baskets from the Cardinals’ Evan Phoenix cut the lead to 20-15 when a two-handed slam by Mount St. Joseph’s Daveyon Barnes (nine points, eight rebounds, and four assists) sparked a 15-2 run — extending the lead to 35-17 midway through the second quarter. Booth would later convert dunks on two straight possessions, finshing off the half with four consectutive free throws with no time on the clock due to a last second foul and a technical-foul against Calvert’s coach.     

In all, Booth scored 15 of his team’s 35 points as the Gaels’ limited their opponent to just 13 for a 55-24 lead at intermission.     

In the second half, Calvert would rally to match its first half total by scoring 24 third quarter points. However, the Gaels scored 23.     

Along with Booth, Jaylen Adams scored 21 points and Jordan McNeil had 12 to lead the charge for Pat Clatchey’s Mount St. Joseph’s team.     

The Gaels led 80-50 early in the fourth quarter and when it reached 95-60 with 2:58 to play cleared the bench — falling a point short of 100 points.     

Calvert Hall, 28-6 prior to the tournament, was led by Nico Clareth’s 17 points. Chris Wallace had 10 points and six rebounds, while Drew Edwards chipped in nine points, eight rebounds, four assists and three blocks.     

Mount St. Joseph went 2-1 in the tournament and finished 34-5.

-Josh Mitchell, Cumberland Times-News

Benedictine turns back BW, 77-55

Bishop Walsh fell in their final game of the 54th Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament to Benedictine College Prep 77-55 in the third place consolation game played on Saturday afternoon.     

The Cadets’ Robert Johnson, who is committed to Indiana, led all scorers with 27 points — and added five rebounds and eight assists. Faiz Shaheen put in a strong performance for the Cadets as well, adding 23 points, six rebounds and four assists.     

Benedictine got out to a quick start, leading 14-2 at one point in the first quarter on their way to a 21-5 advantage. It looked as though it was going to be more of the same dominance from Benedictine, as a four-point play by Shaheen sparked a 32-13 lead midway through quarter number two. However, The Spartans answered with a 23-point second quarter — shooting 10 of 19 from the field. The Cadets led 43-28 at the half.     

In the second half, Benedictine came out strong, opening with a 11-0 run to increase its lead to 54-28. In the fourth quarter, Walsh’s Isaac Mourier, the team’s leading scoring with 21 points, converted 11 straight points for the Spartans to open the quarter cutting into the deficit. Walsh continuted to gain mommentum from an alley-opp slam on a pass from Dylan Wilson to the 6-foot-3 senior Max Paver, energizing the Spartan crowd, but they couldn’t overcome the Cadets — who didn’t miss a field-goal in the final quarter until under three minutes remained.     

Wilson scored 11 points for Bishop Walsh, with six rebounds and Darius Perry had six points and nine rebounds. Mourier added six rebounds.     

Benedictine entered the day with two losses in as many days, but only had five through 29 games before the ACIT. For the Spartans, they finish the tournament with three losses and their season is over with a 9-22 record.

-Josh Mitchell, Cumberland Times-News

March 14, 2014

Paul VI knocks off defending champion Bishop O’Connell Panthers win, 75-52; will play DeMatha for ACIT title

Kevin Dorsey scored 25 points, grabbed seven rebounds and was the driving force behind Paul VI being able to run away from defending champion Bishop O’Connell for a 75-52 win that catapults the Panthers into tonight’s title game of the 54th Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament at Frostburg State University.     

Playing in only it’s second ACIT, Paul VI will take part in its second championship when it faces the school with 22 ACIT titles, DeMatha, tonight at 8:15. The Stags last won the title in 2012, when they beat the Panthers 71-56.     

Dorsey was hot right off the bat, scoring eight points in the opening quarter and adding six more in the second to get the Panthers (30-6) to big first half leads. Marcus Derrickson did most of his damage in the first half, scoring 11 points in the opening 16 minutes. After getting out to an 8-2 lead, Paul VI let the Knights get as close to within three at 10-7 before leading 22-13 at the end of one quarter. Bishop O’Connell would get no closer than nine points during the second and trailed 40-22 at halftime.     

Dorsey had 14 of his points and four of his rebounds in the first half and earned the praise of his coach Glenn Farello. “Kevin always plays with a bunch of energy and he usually gets the rest of the team going,” he said. “Both teams seemed extremely tired at times, but Kevin provided that spark any time we needed it.”The Knights cut into the lead and got to within 11 points at 50-39 during the third before the Panthers clawed their way back to a 15-point edge entering the fourth.     

Besides Dorsey setting the tone, the Panthers got big performances from Tyler Scanlon with 11 points and 11 rebounds and Derrickson, who hit three 3-pointers on his way to 17 points. The Georgetown recruit also added five rebounds. Josh Reaves, who scored 22 points against Benedictine on Thursday, added 11 points.     

The Knights (19-12) were paced by the ACIT’s reigning MVP Melo Trimble’s 20 points. Bishop O’Connell also got nine points from Jamaal King and eight rebounds and seven points from Lewis Djonkam. Oumar Barry scored just five points, but was big on the inside for the Stags by grabbing 10 rebounds and blocking three shots.The meeting was the fourth of the season between the two teams and tonight’s game against DeMatha will be the fourth time the Panthers have played the Stags.     

“It can get tricky when you play someone so often because you become so familiar with each other,” said Farello. “There aren’t many surprises that you can pull on each other, and it usually comes down to one of those 50-50 plays that happens to go your way, a late tip-in or a hustle play to make the difference. We wound up splitting the four games with O’Connell after losing the first two times, and we’ll gladly take the last two times over winning the first two times.”     

Paul VI doesn’t want a split with the Stags after winning two of the first three meetings. The Panthers won 56-48 the first time around, lost 54-52 the second time before beating DeMatha 56-37 to win the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference.

-Chris Appel, Cumberland Times-News

March 13, 2014

St. John’s streaks by BW, 101-39

Bishop Walsh coaches Mike Allen and Michael Fields knew what they were up against as early as last week, as Allen had approached one of the coaches of the St. John’s College girls team that was here for the Bishop Walsh Girls Invitational for an advanced scouting report on the boys team, which opened the 54th ACIT with a 101-39 victory over the Spartans Thursday at Frostburg State University.     

“They said, ‘Get your track shoes,’” Allen said. “But I think we had the wrong spikes on the shoes, because we just weren’t able to keep up with them. They are so fast.”     

Fast isn’t the word for it, as it took the Cadets (28-4), the regular-season champion of the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference, almost nothing flat to establish the pressing, back-and-forth tempo of the game, which, for Bishop Walsh (9-17), played to the tune of 12 first-quarter turnovers and 31 total, most of which were turned into quick transition baskets.     

The Cadets’ leading scorer, 6-foot-5 James Palmer, who is headed to the University of Miami, led the Cadets with 19 points, while sophomore guard Anthony Cowan Jr. came off the bench to score 17, with 6-5 Michael Morsell scoring eight of his 12 points in the first half. St. John’s outrebounded the Spartans, 32-22, and committed just four turnovers themselves. They advance to today’s championship semifinal at 7:30 p.m. to play DeMatha, and that’s all that mattered to head coach Sean McAloon.     

“It’s special we’re here,” said McAloon, “and we’ll take any win we can get. We were able to rest some guys and see what some others have in case we get into some foul trouble in the later rounds, so there were a lot of positives. We’re happy to move on.”     

The Cadets, who finished with 20 steals, forced matters early with man-to-man pressure, at one point scoring on steals on three straight possessions and five out of seven midway through the first quarter. In all, they scored on eight of the 12 turnovers they forced, and when Tre Campbell, who has signed with Georgetown, scored off a steal at 3:24 it was 16-6, St. John’s.     

Morsell scored on a drive with 24 seconds left and Cowan Jr. on another drive off a turnover with five seconds left to make it 23-9 after one.     

Bishop Walsh got to within 12 points, 27-15, when Isaac Mourier made a nice move inside and then hit from the wing at 5:37 of the second. But Morsell and Cowan Jr. scored bang-bang on drives and James Mitchell knocked down a three to make it 34-16 to launch a 17-0 run before Mourier hit another three-pointer for BW to make it 44-18. The half ended at 51-20.     

“We shot the ball well (63 percent),” said McAloon. “We rebounded pretty well. We defended well for the most part, even when the young guys were in to rest the starters.”     

Bishop Walsh, which shot 41 percent from the field, was led by Mourier with 15 points and Darius Berry with eight.     

“Something like this, 110 percent is all we can ask,” said Allen. “For the most part, other than a little stage fright and then at the beginning of the second half, we got it. And that’s what we expect and demand.”

-Mike Burke, Cumberland Times-News

Reaves sparks Paul VI past Benedictine

Joshua Reaves scored 22 points, grabbed six rebounds and led four double-figure scorers as Paul VI made a living from the free-throw line in Game IV of the Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament late Thursday evening in defeating Benedictine, 69-58.

Reaves, a 6-foot-4 junior, had five dunks, including back-to-back slams to end the third quarter, and finished 7 for 8 from the field and 8 of 9 from the foul line to lead all scorers for the Panthers (29-6), of Fairfax, Va., who will play defending champion O’Connell in another battle of Virginia teams on Friday at 9:15.

Evan Taylor had 12 points and seven rebounds, Marcus Derrickson 12 points and Kevin Dorsey 10 points for Paul VI, which hit 12 of 13 foul shots in the second quarter and 35 of 45 for the game. Dorsey was 10 for 10, Taylor 8 of 14, Tyler Scanlon 7 of 10.

Reaves had three dunks in the first quarter, the last one a one-handed one after grabbing a rebound just before the buzzer. It gave Paul VI the lead for good at 19-18.

“Josh brings so much energy and athleticism to the game,” said Panthers coach Glenn Farello. “He brings a lot of things to the table. It’s obvious what kind of game he has and what he can do with the ball and above the rim, but he’s also so good without the ball, and that’s very important and such a big key.”

Indiana-bound Robert Johnson, a 6-3 guard, had 20 points, 13 in the fourth quarter, for Benedictine (24-6), of Richmond, Va., which made only 14 trips to the foul line, making seven.

The fouls piled up on Benedictine early, putting Paul VI into the one-and-one with 6:51 left in the first half. Reaves began the 12 for 13 second-quarter team showing from the line by making all three tries after being fouled on a three-pointer to open the second quarter, which ended 35-30.

Derrickson, a 6-8 junior who has verbally committed to Georgetown, hit in the lane and nailed a three-point shot on back-to-back possessions midway through the third quarter to give the Panthers their first double-figure lead at 46-35. After a Johnson three-point play with 1:38 left, Reaves dunked on an assist from Scanlon and then again on an Alley Oop pass from Curtis Jones to make it 56-44 at the end of the period.
The Panthers held a slight rebounding edge in each quarter, and Benedictine struggled from the three-point line, making only 5 of 24 tries.

“We knew we had to get on the glass, and limit them to one and done,’’ Farello said. “I thought our perimeter defense was good and it had to be because they are good from the three-point line.”

Benedictine got to within 58-51 after a fast break bucket by Johnson with just under four minutes to go, but the Panthers went scoreless over the next three minutes, the next points coming on a Johnson putback with 40 seconds remaining.

After missing six of their first eight foul shots in the fourth quarter, Paul VI went 8 for 8 from in the final 1:19 to seal it, with two by Reaves giving the Panthers their largest lead, 69-53, with 25 seconds to go.

Neither team shot well from the field. Paul VI, unofficially, was 16 for 41 and Benedictine 23 of 57.

-Mike Mathews, Cumberland Times-News