St. Frances Academy has never missed the MIAA A Conference basketball playoffs, but it will this season after being eliminated from the post-season chase, Wednesday, with a 57-48 loss at St. Vincent Pallotti.
St. Frances (12-16 overall) fell to 5-10 in the league, making it impossible for it to catch Calvert Hall, which clinched the post-season with a win at Archbishop Spalding on Wednesday, for fourth place and the final playoff slot in the Red Division.
With a sell-out crowd on hand, Pallotti (12-12 overall, 7-6 MIAA A) jumped out to an 18-11 lead after the first quarter, as sophomore Karim Coulibaly scored nine points in the frame.
In the second quarter, the momentum shifted to St. Frances as Elijah Epps got hot from the outside, scoring eight second quarter points with two three-pointers, but Pallotti maintained a 30-26 at the half.
Epps continued to stay hot in the third-quarter, hitting two more threes and scoring nine points as he would go on to finish with 21.
Pallotti held a two-point lead heading into the final quarter. In the fourth-quarter, Pallotti’s defense stifled St. Frances, holding it to just four points, while scoring 12 of its own to build a 57-48 lead.
Pallotti’s Coulibaly matched Epps for game-high scoring honors, with 21 points. Ronell Giles added 10 points for the hosts.
Pallotti remains in third-place in the Red Division. It has played two less games than Calvert Hall (7-8), thus maintaining a one-game lead in the battle for third.
St. Frances had some spectacular moments this winter, claiming a 34-point victory over Patterson, the current No. 1 team in the area, an upset of Illinois power Morgan Park and a victory over BCL power St. Maria Goretti. However, the Panthers have also had a load of unexpected setbacks, especially in league play.