Smith surpasses 2,000 career points with a career night against Spalding; Golf leads Goretti
by Joe DiBlasi
St. Maria Goretti held visiting Loyola to just four second quarter points as the Gaels turned a seven-point lead into an 18-point halftime bulge as Goretti went on to defeat the Dons, 57-49, in a Baltimore Catholic League quarterfinal game in Hagerstown Thursday night.
Goretti advances to Saturday’s BCL semifinal double-header at Goucher College where it will face Mount St. Joseph, which routed Archbishop Spalding, 86-57, in Thursday’s other semifinal.
Sophomore Przemek Golek powered Goretti with 22 points. RJ Blakney added 10 points and five steals, while Abdou Tetchueng Tsimbila and Max Rogers combined for 11 rebounds.
JJ Hallaby scored 14 points to pace Loyola and Cameron Shaw also finished in double-figures with 10 points. The Dons received eight points each from Trillion Young and Chil Nnake.
At MSJ, the story was about McDonald’s All-American Jalen Smith.
Smith returned to the court after absorbing a nasty blow to the head during the Gaels’ MIAA semifinal loss at John Carroll last week, and scored a career high 36 points, while grabbing 11 rebounds and blocking two shots. Not only did Smith power MSJ to the victory, but he surpassed the 2,000 career point mark. He began the evening needing 15 points to reach that historic milestone and finished the game with 2,021 points.
“It means a lot to go over 2000 career points,” said the soft-spoken Smith. “It’s been a long career and it’s been a great career. As a freshman I really didn’t score that much so to get the 2,000 over the past three seasons really means a lot.”
St. Joe Pat Clatchey said Smith is simply “great.”
“Jalen is a great player,” said Clatchey. “He’s a back-to-back Player of the Year, and a McDonald’s All-American. That’s exactly who he is and that’s what he does. He has had a remarkable career and I’d like to see him finish up strong.”
Tyree Myers added 17 for St. Joe.
Spalding, which received a team-high 23 points from Rene Alphonso, hung tough for the first half, going to the locker room down by just six, at 38-32. The Gaels, however, outscored the Cavaliers 20-12 in the third quarter and rolled from there.
St. Joe and Goretti will tip at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday. The second game of the BCL semifinal double-header will feature St. Frances vs. MIAA A Conference champion John Carroll.