Mount St. Joseph senior captures Player of the Year honor; Davalli selected top coach

2018-19 Baltimore Catholic League Player of the Year – James Bishop from Mount St. Joseph

by Derek Toney & Joe DiBlasi

James Bishop knew he had some lofty shoes to fill this season for Mount St. Joseph basketball. The senior guard has met expectations, and Monday received the highest of acclaims.

Bishop was named the Baltimore Catholic League’s Player of the Year Monday. Bishop, 6-foot-1, is the third straight Gael to win the Jerry Savage Player of the Year honor, following Jalen Smith, who claimed the prize for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons.

Smith, now as a freshman starter at the University of Maryland, is regarded as one of the best BCL players in recent years. Smith, a McDonald’s All-American last season, went back-to-back as VSN’s Player of the Year and was the BCL Defensive Player of the Year in his junior season.

Bishop, a four-year varsity letterwinner, said watching Smith as well as former Gael standout and current Terp Darryl Morsell helped prepared him in taking the leadership mantle.

“I just watched how he [Smith] carried himself as well as Darryl, leading the team to the championship,” said Bishop. “It wasn’t much about conversation as much as it was watching and learning.”

“As I told James and the rest of the team Jalen Smith wasn’t walking back through that door. I told James this is a great challenge as a player. He’s been through three years on varsity, and he’s the guy now. He’s really led by example.”

The lone returning starter, Bishop has guided the Gaels to a 24-6 mark and the BCL’s third-seed. The Gaels have one of the top seeds for the MIAA A Conference, which starts Tuesday evening.

Bishop accumulated 111 points in the voting by the BCL coaches and media. St. Frances Academy’s Adrian Baldwin and Baltimore-native RJ Blakney of St. Maria Goretti were the next highest vote-getters.

Mitchell Fischer (Loyola Blakefield), Goretti’s Abdou Tsimbila and Jamal West from St. Frances joined Bishop, Baldwin and Blakney on the first team. The second team featured Calvert Hall College’s Logan Curtis, Ausar Crawley (Mount St. Joseph), Goretti’s Przernek Golek, Amir Hall from Archbishop Spalding, Jordan Toles (St. Frances) and Loyola’s Tryllian Young.

Josh Davalli, who guided Loyola Blakefield to its best season in about a decade, was named the O. Ray Mullis Coach of the Year. Davalli, in his 14th season in Towson, played for the legendary Cardinal Gibbons coach in the late 1990s.

2018-19 Baltimore Catholic League Coach of the Year – Josh Davalli from Loyola Blakefield

“This is really a team award,” said Davalli, who played alongside BCL Hall of Famer and current Marquette coach Steve Wojociechowski at the now-defunct southwest Baltimore school. “It comes back to the group of kids we’ve had this year and without them,  and all the other coaches I’ve had, our program and our team wouldn’t have had the success that we’ve had , and certainly I wouldn’t be honored in this way.”

Loyola (19-11) is ranked No. 1o in VSN’s Top 20. The Dons play at McDonogh School Tuesday in their first MIAA A Conference playoff game in a decade.

Fischer, a 6-foot-6 forward, was named the Cokey Robertson Most Improved Player recipient. St. Frances senior guard Rajier Jones won the Mark Amatucci Defensive Player of the Year award for the second straight season.
The 48th BCL Tournament commences next Tuesday with Mount St. Joseph hosting Spalding in a quarterfinal. The remaining quarterfinal matches take place Wednesday Feb. 27 with No. 5 seed Calvert Hall at Loyola, No. 7 John Carroll School at second-seeded Goretti and top-seed St. Frances Academy hosting No. 8 Mount Carmel.
The tourney moves to Loyola University’s Reitz Arena for the semifinals (March 2) and final on March 4.

2018-19 Baltimore Catholic League Awards

Jerry Savage Player of the Year – James Bishop, Mount St. Joseph

Mark Amatucci Defensive Player of the Year – Rajeir Jones, St. Frances Academy

O. Ray Mullis Coach of the Year – Josh Davalli, Loyola Blakefield

Cokey Robertson Most Improved Player of the Year – Mitchell Fischer, Loyola Blakefield

2018-19 Baltimore Catholic League Team (left to right) – James Bishop (Mount St. Joseph), Adrian Baldwin and Jamal West (St. Frances Academy), Mitchell Fischer (Loyola Blakefield), RJ Blakney & Abdou Tsimbila (St. Maria Goretti)

All-BCL Team

First team

James Bishop, Mount St. Joseph, senior

Adrian Baldwin, St. Frances Academy, junior

RJ Blakney, St. Maria Goretti, senior

Abdou Tsimbila, St. Maria Goretti, senior

Mitchell Fischer, Loyola Blakefield, senior

Jamal West, St. Frances Academy, junior

Second team

Ausar Crawley, Mount St. Joseph, sophomore

Logan Curtis, Calvert Hall College, senior

Przemek Golek, St. Maria Goretti, senior

Amir Hall, Archbishop Spalding, senior

Jordan Toles, St. Frances Academy, junior

Tryllian Young, Loyola Blakefield, senior

Honorable mention

Kevin Collier, Calvert Hall College; Tyson Commander, John Carroll School; Brendan Fox, Loyola Blakefield; Conner Hepting, Loyola Blakefield; Rajier Jones, St. Frances Academy; Deon Perry, Mount Carmel;

Dave Kropfelder “Never, Never Quit” Award

Burke Webb, Archbishop Spalding; Brooks Reahl, Calvert Hall College; James Ziegler, John Carroll School; Graham Slifer, Loyola Blakefield; Hunter Adams, Mount Carmel; Wesley Chairs, Mount St. Joseph; Kyrie Staten, St. Frances Academy; Alexei Wood, St. Maria Goretti