No. 16 Curley drops St. John’s Catholic Prep for top spot in MIAA B hoops; Johnson scores 22 (VIDEO HERE!)
by Derek Toney
It’s been 20 seasons since Archbishop Curley High won a MIAA basketball championship. The Friars may be ready to end the drought.
No. 16 Curley defeated St. John’s Catholic Prep, 64-58, in a MIAA B contest in Northeast Baltimore. Senior guard Caleb Johnson scored a game-high 22 points for the Friars, and Dinai Boykin added 18.
The Sinclair Lane school made the plays in the final minutes, claiming its ninth victory in last 10 games. The win gives Curley (14-4 overall) sole possession of first in the MIAA B (5-0).
“The one thing we preach is take things one game at a time,” said Friars coach Darnell Hopkins. “When we practiced, we game plan for teams like St. John’s.”
Hopkins called a timeout with four minutes, 46 seconds left in regulation after the Vikings pulled to 53-49. Curley forced a shot clock violation and Josh Knapp banged in a three-pointer from the corner. The Friars got another stop, and Johnson grabbed teammate Dalyn Brandon’s miss and scored, advancing the lead to 58-49 with 3:31 left.
“We just played as a team and finished out the game,” said Johnson. “We were up the whole game, then they made a run so we had to stay focused.”
Johnson closed the game with four free throws after St. John’s closed to 60-58 after Winston Moore’s offensive board and score with 12.2 seconds left. Johnson went nine-of-nine from the free throw line.
“He’s been consistent all year, taking ownership of being a leader and staying poised,” said Hopkins.
Johnson scored the final six as Curley closed with eight straight for a 33-25 halftime advantage. He opened the second half with a three-pointer, giving the Friars their largest lead at 36-25.
St. John’s (9-9, 4-1 MIAA B) shaved the margin to five twice early in the fourth, only to see Curley answer with scores. The Frederick school was again within two possessions after Ty Collins dropped a deep three-pointer, making it 53-49.
Hopkins called timeout to regroup the Friars.
“I stressed defense to these guys because it leads to your offense,” said Hopkins. “I know we were getting a little winded so I called a timeout to give them a break.”
Collins led St. John’s Catholic with 17 points, and Winston Moore added 12. The Vikings never led after the opening eight minutes, but had Curley on the ropes until the final seconds.
St. John’s coach Stewart Wilson said his team missed opportunities.
“We don’t want to leave here not feeling confident of where we’re at, but we got to get better,” said St. John’s coach Stewart Wilson. “Curley is very athletic and they attack the basket. When they go to the bench, they bring basketball players and that’s what we’re trying to build.”
Hopkins commended the inside play of Boykin and Knapp, who finished with 14 points. The Friars have won six straight since losing to Theodore Roosevelt (D.C.) at the Governor’s Challenge in Salisbury over the holidays.
Hopkins, a former star at Towson Catholic, has instilled a business-like approach in his second season.
“I tell these guys every team is different….we game plan and scout,” said Hopkins. “We just do the little things.”
“We push each other and play hard every game,” said Knapp, who will play football at Virginia Military Institute in the coming fall. “We’re going to have our down moments, but we made sure we do the right things and get back at it. Play hard to the last whistle every game.”
No. 16 Archbishop Curley 64, St. John’s Catholic Prep 58
St. John’s – Conteras 6, Moore 15, Collins 17, Pilgrim 7, Sheppard 2, Troutman 11. Totals 21 9-10 58.
Curley – Johnson 22, Boykin 18, Carroll 3, Brandon 5, Knapp 14, Walter 2. Totals 20 18-21 64.
St. John’s Catholic 16 9 15 18 – 58
Curley 15 18 14 17 – 64