Surging St. Paul’s top No. 14 Gerstell, 57-51
by Joe DiBlasi
Don’t look now, but defending MIAA B Conference basketball champion St. Paul’s School is heating up, just in time for the post-season.
Thursday on their home court in Brooklandville, the Crusaders won their third straight and for the seventh time in their last eight league games, as they topped No. 14 Gerstell Academy, 57-51, in Brooklandville.
St. Paul’s coach Seth Goldberg stresses sharing the ball on offense, and playing team defense. “Our goal is to be unselfish, and play hard for all 32 minutes,” said Goldberg and that’s what he got on Thursday night against the talented Falcons.
Senior Trayon Wright and junior Ziggy Reid led St. Pauls with 15 points each on the night, and the talented duo combined for 12 points in the 4th quarter to keep the Falcons at bay.
Reid scored the first eight points of the fourth quarter for the Crusaders, and Wright canned five important free throws down the stretch.
The defending B conference champs led wire to wire, after racing out to a 14-8 first quarter lead. They led 28-26 at a half and we’re up by as many as 11 when Reid nailed a trey to start the fourth quarter.
The Falcons got within six when senior Brad Witt hit a bucket with 10 seconds left in regulation but it was too little, too late.
It was the second straight loss in conference play for the Falcons, who saw a 12-game winning streak end when they were defeated by Severn earlier in the week.
Gerstell coach Ben Thompson lamented not having one of his top players, senior Colin Rimel available in the last two starts. “He’s suffering with a bad back right now and we’re not sure when he’ll be back.”
Thompson got a great effort from freshman Ahmed Harrison, who led all scores with 17 point, 15 of which came in the first half. Harrison was held to just one field goal in the second half.
“Although we focused on overall team defense we were aware of his contribution,” said Goldberg. “They are a great team and they are well-coached. They’ve got great players and I have a lot of respect for them.”
Witt and freshman Karell Booker each had 13 points for the Falcons.
Goldberg summed things up by saying, “Our guys did a good job of staying together (on defense) and making sure that every shot they took was a tough shot. We’re not going to look ahead, we’re just going to enjoy the moment.”
The moment, however, has the Crusaders in range of a top two seed for the playoffs and a shot at a first round playoff bye. St. Paul’s (16-9 overall) is now 9-4 in the league, just one game back of Gerstell (14-10,) and Severn, which are currently tied for second place (both 10-3) in the league.
Severn claimed a share of second on Thursday with a tough 49-46 win over Archbishop Curley. AJ Burch scored 15 points to lead the Admirals (21-5), while LJ Owens and Jermaine Hall combined for 23 points.
ST. PAUL’S SCHOOL 57, NO. 14 GERSTELL ACADEMY 51
GERSTELL 8 17 8 18 — 51
ST. PAUL’S 14 14 13 16 — 57
GERSTELL: Witt 13, Washington 3, Carpenter 5, Harrison 17, Booker 13.
ST. PAUL’S: Wright 15, Reid 15, Barthelme 7, Kelly 4,
Walker 8, Sawyer 8.