No. 3 John Carroll survives Boys’ Latin in OT for MIAA A basketball championship; Quickley scores 20
by Derek Toney
In the moments following its victory over Boys’ Latin School in the MIAA A Conference basketball final Sunday, John Carroll players dance on the hardwood at APGFCU Arena as their classmates chanted “Ole’ Ole’ Ole.'” Made popular by European soccer fans, the refrain origins can be traced to bullfighting.
The Patriots did their best matador impression and are the last team standing in the area’s toughest conference. No. 3 John Carroll pulled out a 58-50 overtime decision over the fifth-ranked Lakers in front of nearly 3,000 inside the Harford Community College facility in Bel Air.
University of Kentucky recruit Immanuel Quickley finished with a game-high 20 points for the Patriots (28-7 overall), and Yavez Guletkin added 16. Senior wing Jaylin Andrews led Boys’ Latin (25-7) with 16.
After blowing a 17-point second half advantage, the Patriots remain resolute, claiming their first league championship since going back-to-back in the 2011-12 and 2010-11 campaigns. Thursday, John Carroll defeated second-ranked Mount St. Joseph, 79-78, in overtime, in another postseason classic.
“The message was ‘Hey, we’ve been here. We were here the other night,'” said Patriots coach John Zito. “We were ready for this.”
“That was a tough one, but we’ve pulling tough ones out all year,” said Quickley. “Credit to Boys’ Latin, they’re a great team. My guys just fought it out.”
Quickley, who hit a 3-pointer before the OT buzzer sounded Thursday, giving John Carroll a four-mile trip from its Bel Air campus to APGFCU Arena to the final, scored four points in the overtime session with Montez Mathis and Gultekin.
Mathis, who will play for Rutgers next season, finished with 15 points. He snagged two defensive rebounds in the extra period and found Gultekin for a transition layup, putting John Carroll up 54-50 with 55 seconds left in overtime.
“We’ve been through this before. We have to settle each other down and trust each other,” said Mathis. “We didn’t panicked.”
Leading 20-16 at halftime, John Carroll scored the first 13 points of the second half, turning defensive stops into transition scores, for a 33-16 halftime advantage. It was 44-33 with 4:05 left in regulation after Mathis scoring off the drive, and the Patriots appeared destined for the title and a third straight double-digit win over the Lakers.
But BL, a team with one Division I caliber performer in Jaylin Andrews, would not resigned. Andrews, the Lakers’ all-time leading scorer, hit a 3-pointer and converted a 3-point play, pulling the Lake Avenue school to 44-39 with 3:06 remaining in regulation.
When Andrews dropped a dagger from the top of the arch with 1:26 left, the Lakers had their first advantage since the first quarter at 46-44.
“To be down 32-16, that’s the character and the heart of the kids, the desire to win,” said Boys’ Latin coach Cliff Rees. “You can’t teach that. It’s in those kids.”
The Patriots got free throws from Qadir Ismail and Gultekin to tie the match with 52.5 seconds to play. Andrews missed a 15-footer with 19 seconds left, and Nigel Haughton’s 3-point attempt fell short at the buzzer for John Carroll, sending the match to overtime.
After missing two free throws, Mathis drove to the basket and scored and Gultekin hit two free throws, giving John Carroll a 50-46 lead with three minutes left. Cameron Spencer’s tip-in off Cameron Watts’ miss got Boys’ Latin within 50-48.
After making clutch shots in its upset victory over top-ranked St. Frances Thursday evening in the semifinals, Boys’ Latin struggled for most of Sunday’s title match. The Lakers missed six of seven attempts in overtime as Andrews missed a step-back 3-pointer with 1:01 left, and Mathis got the rebound, dribbled down the court and passed off to Gultekin for the layup.
Rees said John Carroll made game-alternating runs to start the second half in the two regular season matches. It happened again Sunday, but, somehow, Boys’ Latin found itself a play or two away from completing an improbable championship.
“Once they settled down, they made some unbelievable plays,” said Rees, who got 12 points from Spencer before fouling in overtime. “They’ve learned to trust each other throughout the year and never laid down.”
With a talented roster, Zito has been proud of how the Patriots have become a team through different degrees of adversity.
“We have nine seniors and we have a lot of guys transfer in, so being able to build that cohesion has been a process,” said Zito in his second season after being an assistant at UMBC. “These guys care about each other, you can see it in their faces. Ultimately, that’s what win games in these types of situations.”
“It’s been a roller coaster. Games we’ve should have won, we didn’t. Games we should’ve lost, we’ve won,” said Quickley, who will try to win a second Baltimore Catholic League Tournament, starting Wednesday with a quarterfinal match against Calvert Hall College. “I’m so happy for the school, the program and for my guys.”
MIAA A CONFERENCE BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
AT HARFORD COMMUNITY COLLEGE
NO. 3 JOHN CARROLL SCHOOL 58, NO. 5 BOYS’ LATIN SCHOOL 50 (OT)
BOYS’ LATIN 9 7 8 22 4 – 50
JOHN CARROLL 10 10 19 7 12 – 58
BOYS LATIN: Andrews 16, Spencer 14, Lewis 9, Bates 6, Watts 5. TOTALS 16 14-15 50.
JOHN CARROLL: Quickley 20, Gultekin 16, Mathis 15, Byers 3, Craig 3, Ismail 1. TOTALS 19 19-27 58.