Having played a relatively close contest just five days ago, the anticipated MIAA A Conference/Baltimore Catholic League basketball rematch between Mount St. Joseph and eighth-ranked John Carroll School Friday quickly became a mismatch. The top-ranked Gaels went on a 36-9 run from the middle of the first quarter until halftime for a comfortable 23-point margin.

Those in a near capacity audience at the Smith Center in Irvington expecting the Patriots to make a run in the second half miscalculated the determination of Mount St. Joseph, which didn’t let up, posting an impressive 74-45 decision. Sophomore guard James Bishop posted 21 points for the Gaels (22-1 overall), ranked No. 24 in the nation by USA Today. 

“We talked to them at halftime and told them how important the first four minutes of the second half would be,” Mount St. Joseph coach Pat Clatchey said. “We told them that they couldn’t get loose on defense or loose with the ball. They had to keep doing what they were doing.”

And what the Gaels (13-0 MIAA, 12-1 BCL) were doing was just about everything right after falling behind,10-6, midway through the opening period after junior Nigel Haughton drained a jumper for John Carroll (14-7). It was all St. Joe from that point forward, scoring nine unanswered points to build a 15-12 advantage after one quarter.

Bishop started the run with a jumper before consecutive put-backs by 6-foot-9 junior forward Jalen Smith (20 points) put the Gaels on top for the first and final time. Bishop’s 3-pointer widened the lead until John Carroll junior point guard Immanuel Quickley’s step-through stopped the onslaught, albeit briefly.

Mount St. Joseph were near flawless in the second with senior guard Jaden Robinson, senior swingman Darryl Morsell, junior guard Tyree Myers, Bishop and Smith scoring in a variety of ways. It was 42-19 at halftime.

“I thought they (Mount St. Joseph) played really well,” John Carroll coach John Zito said. “I thought that we just didn’t show up. We just weren’t ourselves. We just were caught in transition too many times. I was hopeful we could come back and then we just started trading baskets in the second half.”

Only junior swingman Montez Mathis was able to produce double digits in scoring for John Carroll, which was held to its lowest point total of the season. Sunday, the Patriots, who didn’t have Mathis (illness), pushed St. Joe before falling, 77-71, in Bel Air. 

Many thought the rematch Friday would be just as competitive, but the Gaels were “dialed in” defensively this time, according to Clatchey and Bishop.

“We got out on defense and locked down on Immanuel, Nigel and Montez,” said Bishop. “We just played man-to-man.”

Smith, who blocked a couple of shots and hauled down a slew of rebounds, said that a win of that magnitude should give the Gaels a boost.

“It gives us a lot of confidence,” said Smith, who’s being recruited by an array of Division I stalwarts such as Villanova, Virginia, Maryland and Kentucky. “We wanted to keep our momentum.”

Conversely, the defending BCL Tournament champ Patriots have to find a way to put the loss in their collective rear-view mirror very quickly with St. Maria Goretti visiting them in a BCL matinee Sunday afternoon. Goretti, which handed Mount St. Joseph its lone loss, is undefeated in BCL play.

“This will be all about how we respond,” Zito said. “We have to find out what kind of young men we have.”

No. 1 Mount St. Joseph 74, No. 8 John Carroll School 45

John Carroll – Montez Mathis 12, Cameron Byers 9, Immanuel Quickley 9, Nigel Haughton 6, Qadir Ismail 6, Nick Rosachi 3. Totals 16 10-13 45.

Mount St. Joseph – James Bishop 21, Jalen Smith 20, Tyree Myers 12, Jaden Robinson 10, Darryl Morsell 7, Ryan Marshall 2. Totals 32 3-3 74.

John Carroll 12  7  15  11 – 45

Mount St. Joseph 15  27  18  14 – 74