Crusaders’ two-sport star nets 22 as he leads St. Paul’s hoops into the MIAA B Conference championship; Defending champ Gerstell rallies in the second half to return the finals
by Gary Adornato
In Baltimore it seems like it is always lacrosse season, but once the calendar reaches early February its full speed ahead.
With a week of work already under its belt, the St. Paul’s lacrosse squad is waiting on one of its stalwarts to join preseason preparations, but it appears they will have to wait just a few more days.
Troy Barhelme, the Crusaders’ 6-foot-8 attackman, who is coveted by D1 lax programs throughout the land, is headed to Sunday’s MIAA B Conference basketball championship game with his other St. Paul’s teammates.
Barthelme is a big reason why the top-seeded Crusaders (19-8) are in Sunday’s title game at Harford Community College (3:00 p.m.), where they will face defending champion Gerstell Academy. He hit five three-pointers, collected six rebounds, blocked two shots and scored a game-high 22 points, including 13 in the pivotal fourth quarter, to help his team defeat Severn School, 58-48, in the Thursday’s semifinal playoff game in Brooklandville. Gerstell advanced with a 54-44 come-from behind win over visiting Archbishop Curley in Thursday’s other B Conference semifinal.
Actually Barthelme had the best of both worlds on Thursday as his lacrosse buddies came out in mass to support their teammate and the rest of the basketball squad, packing the area in front of the St. Paul’s student section, and Barthelme did not disappoint them.
“They (lacrosse) started practice this week and I don’t like missing a week of the season,” said Barthelme, who recently decommitted from the Air Force Academy for lacrosse and is now being recruited for both lacrosse and basketball. “It’s going to be fun to get back out there, but we’re really hoping to finish up this basketball season and get it done.”
Down by as many as 10 points on two different occasions in the first half, Severn (15-12) fought back within four twice late in third quarter and once more early in the fourth. Barthelme, however, drained a three pointer to start his own 9-0 run, which also included three foul shots and another three pointer and suddenly the Crusaders owned a commanding 46-36 advantage with 3:42 to play. Later he would score four more points, including his fifth three-pointer of the evening to help the Crusaders out to a 13-point advantage.
After Bartelme’s first three-pointer of the quarter, Severn coach Michael Glasby was called for a technical foul and Barthelme made both free throws. Glasby was then whistled for a second technical, for not remaining seated, and ejected. The sequence pretty much sealed the Admirals fait and denied them a second consecutive trip to the finals.
Barthleme followed with one more technical free throw to push St. Paul’s lead to 43-33 and the Admirals never got closer than eight points the rest of the way.
St. Paul’s other senior big man, senior Ziggy Reid, also had a big night, scoring six of his 19 points in the first quarter to help the Crusaders get out to a 14-6 lead. Leo Kelly, also a senior, added some support on the boards and scored eight points in the win.
AJ Burch, who led Severn with 21 points, scored the first five points of the second quarter as the Admirals climbed within three, at 14-11, but St. Paul’s responded with a back-to-back buckets by Kelly and Reid, followed by a three-pointer from Barthelme to establish their first double-digit lead at 21-11, and the Crusaders led 22-14 at the half.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game going in,” added Barthelme. “The first quarter, we got the nerves out of the way. By the second quarter we had that consistent lead and, in that third quarter, we knew they were going to go for a run, and we knew we had to match that run. We played like it was the last game of the season and we gave all that we could give.”
Reid and Barthelme, according to St. Paul’s coach Phil Hahn provide the Crusaders a distinct advantage in the B Conference.
“All year in this league, our team is kind of apples and everyone else is oranges,” said Hahn who is in the finals in his first year in Brooklandville, after two seasons as the head coach at Curley. “They are all guard oriented and we have good big men and we stress trying to get the ball into the post. They did an awesome job tonight of not letting us do that and denying the post. But, we have really skilled big guys and I think that paid off for us, ultimately, down the stretch, being able to hit some threes.”
Glasby praised the Crusaders.
“Credit to St. Paul’s,” said the Admirals first year head coach. “They’ve been playing pretty well for the majority of this season. They do a great job utilizing their size and falling back in their zone and forcing you to take tough shots. We took some tough shots to start the game and got into a little bit of a hole. We were never really able to get over the hump. Kudos to them. We played hard, but we just couldn’t overcome them tonight.”
Gerstell (19-13), the second seed, reached the final by withstanding a strong challenge from third-seeded Curley (17-10). Gerstell led by one after one quarter, but the Friars limited the Falcons to just nine second quarter points and pushed in front 26-23 at the half.
Gerstell came back to take a two point lead after three quarters and finally put Curley away with a 20-12 surge in the final quarter.
Jeremiah Stanton scored a game-high 19 points for the Falcons, while Anthony Carpenter and Ahmad Harrison combined for 23. Curley was led by Caleb Johnson’s 16 points, while Travis Dobbins, Dinari Boykins and Josh Knapp scored 10 points each.
“We know it’s going to be a very tough game,” said Barthelme of the championship match-up with the Falcons. “We played them hard every game, every year I have been at St. Paul’s. We know we have to bring a greater effort than we brought today and we can get it done.”
Hahn expects a similar type of game to many his team has played this season.
“We’re prepped for more of the same,” said Hahn. “They have great guard play. They pressure the ball defensively. Our approach won’t change. I know we’ll be tested and ready to go because we’ve been seeing ball pressure like that all year. I have a lot of respect for Ben (Gerstell coach Ben Thompson) and the Gerstell players, so we’ll be ready to play at a high level on Sunday.”
Pictured above: St. Paul’s senior Troy Barthelme turned in a strong 22-point performance to lead the Crusaders to victory in the MIAA B Conference semifinals.
MIAA B CONFERENCE BASKETBALL SEMIFINALS
ST. PAUL’S 58, SEVERN 48
SEV 6 8 17 17 — 48
STP 14 8 13 23 — 58
SEVERN: AJ Burch 21, Eric Winsom 2, Owura Berko 2, Colin Donegan 6, Mo Terry 17. TOTALS: 16 11-13 48.
ST. PAUL’S: Anthony Smaldore 2, Ziggy Reid 19, Troy Barthelme 22, Leo Kelly 8, Miles Moore 2, Luke Trotta 5. TOTALS: 19 12-18 58.
GERSTELL 54, ARCHBISHOP CURLEY 44
AC 13 13 16 12 — 44
GER 14 9 21 20 — 54
ARCHBISHOP CURLEY: Dobbins 10, Johnson 16, Lawson 3, Boykins 10, Carroll 2, Gray 3, Knapp 10.
GERSTELL: Carpenter 12, Bethea 4, Thompson 9, Stanton 19, Noble 6, Tillery 1, Harrison 11.