Three of the best games of the 2013-14 high school basketball season were contested between the same two teams – No. 2 Mount St. Joseph and No. 3 Calvert Hall, and they will meet one more time on Saturday.
The Gaels and Cardinals, who finished tied for first in the Baltimore Catholic League regular season will cross paths on the final day of the 2014 Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament at Frostburg State University, after each team won Friday, following opening round losses on Thursday. The prize will be fifth place in the 54th edition of the fabled tournament.
On Friday, St. Joe survived an intense consolation round battle with Benedictine Prep of Richmond, winning 78-74, while Calvert Hall rolled through over-matched tournament host Bishop Walsh, 75-34.
As has been the case all season, St. Joe relied on its trio of Division I bound seniors. Point guard Jaylen Adams, who played so well in the BCL Tournament, scored a game-high 27 points to will the Gaels past Benedictine. Adams, who will play at Jacksonville University next winter got plenty of help from Towson University recruit Jordan McNeil, who scored 20 points. BCL Player of the Year Phil Booth, on his way to Villanova, was limited to just eight points, but he did hit two clutch free throws in the final minute to help the Gaels lock down the win.
St. Joe led 65-56 with 6:59 to play, but Benedictine’s Robert Johnson, who will play his college ball in the Big 10 at Indiana, rallied the Cadets with 11 fourth quarter points and pushed his team in front, 68-66, with 3:45 to go.
Randy Miller, however, who scored 11 points for St. Joe countered with a three-pointer to push the Gaels back on top and they held on from there.
Calvert Hall had 12 different players score as the entire team saw plenty of action in the first game of the day. The Cardinals led 22-6 after one quarter and 35-16 at the half. Calvert Hall then salted away the victory with a 20-0 run in the third quarter.
Reggie Rouse was high point man for the Cardinals with 12 and Evan Phoenix netted 10. Sean Mayberry also had an outstanding all-around effort with five rebounds, three assists and two steals.
St. Joe, which emerged as champions of both the MIAA A Conference and the BCL Tournament needed overtime in each of its wins over Calvert Hall this season. On Dec. 11, at Calvert Hall, the Cardinals led most of the way before the Gaels staged a late rally to tie, before winning in OT, 62-57. They also topped the Cardinals in the BCL Tournament championship game, 72-69, in overtime, in a game that is now considered one of the best in BCL Tournament history.
Calvert Hall won the other meeting, going into Irvington and prevailing, 69-66, on Jan. 26.
With Saturday’s encounter being the final game of year for both teams, as well as the final game high school game in the careers of St. Joe’s big three, nothing will be left on the floor between these two rivals. Tip-off at Bobcat Arena is scheduled for 4:45 p.m.