A young, resurgent Mount St. Joseph basketball team traveled to Towson, Tuesday evening, to challenge No. 3 Calvert Hall. The feisty Gaels had their moments, but in crunch time the host Cardinals relied on their senior leaders to pull out a 53-49 MIAA A Conference/Baltimore Catholic League victory.

The sixth-ranked Gaels (17-7, 9-4 MIAA, 5-5 BCL), who do not have a single senior on their roster, did their best work at the start of each quarter and they were especially hot to open the second half. In the opening minutes of the third quarter, St. Joe scored eight straight points during a 10-1 run to erase a five-point halftime deficit to take a 33-29 lead.

Calvert Hall senior guard Drew Edwards, however, reversed the momentum with back-to-back baskets, including a three-pointer and Nico Clareth added a driving score as the Cardinals (19-5, 10-4, 8-3) scored the quarter’s final seven points to surge back in front, 36-33.

Cardinal head coach John Bauersfeld was happy with the way his team performed in the clutch.

“They did a great job. They made free throws, made some extra passes, and in transition we got Evan (Phoenix) a dunk off a great pass from Justin (Gorham). Just some great passes and team play,” said Bauersfeld. “Drew got hot there at the end of third quarter and Nico stepped up, had a great drive in the fourth quarter, and some great defensive stops by all of them.”

Edwards and Clareth, each scored 12 points in the victory, as did fellow senior Evan Phoenix. In addition, sophomore Justin Gorham scored 10 points.

“I think we got out of attack mode as a team. We stood back and we sort of let them play a little bit. We weren’t in the flow of the game,” said Edwards of St. Joe’s surge early in the third quarter. “When we started attacking and really going at it, we got our focus back and back into the rhythm of the game.”

Again, the Gaels got out of the gates quickly in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Cards 6-2 to take their final lead, at 39-38.  Calvert Hall moved back in front on a pair of free throws from Gorham, starting an 8-0 run that pushed the Cardinals in front 46-39.  From there, Calvert Hall converted 7-of-8 free throws to close out the victory.

After some midseason struggles during which the Cardinals had trouble keeping their starting five on the floor, Clareth believes the Cardinals have finally got themselves back on track.

“The chemistry is no question on this team. We’ve been together for three-plus years,” said Clareth. “We just play as a team when it comes down to crunch time, we all know that every team is going to have their runs and we’re going to have our mental lapses hear and there, but we can pull it out at the end.”

Junior Doc Barnes scored 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead the Gaels, while sophomore Justice Kendall and junior Jarvis Doles combined for 23 points for St. Joe, which saw a five game winning streak come to an end.

St. Joe took a 4-1 lead early in the opening quarter, but the Cardinals outscored the Gaels 12-2 to go up 13-6, before Kendall scored the final three points to bring the Gaels back within four.  St. Joe then opened the second quarter with a 6-2 spurt to tie the game at 15-15. The Cardinals, however, raced back to a seven point lead before closing the opening half with a 28-23 advantage.

MSJ  9  14  10  16  —  49
CH   13  15  8   17  —  53
Mount St. Joseph:
Jackson 2, Kendall 12, Barnes 13, Doles 11, Miller 7, Morsell 4. Totals 20 7-10 49.
Calvert Hall:
Clareth 12, Phoenix 12, Gorham 10, Edwards 12, Rouse 6, Duckett 1. Totals 17 17-23 53.