No. 1 St. Frances top Mount St. Joseph, strengthens hold in BCL basketball; Davis and Lindsay combine for 45
by Derek Toney
Sunday’s boys basketball game between St. Frances Academy and Mount St. Joseph was a throwback to the yesteryears of the Baltimore Catholic League when games were played Friday nights and Sunday afternoons.
Whether it’s day or night, beating St. Frances continues to be a major undertaking for the rest of the BCL. The top-ranked Panthers posted a 66-60 victory over the No. 4 Gaels inside The Smith Center in Irvington.
University of South Carolina commit Bryce Lindsay scored 23 points for the Panthers (26-3), and Daquan Davis added 22. Junior post Amani Hansberry led Mount St. Joseph with 19 points and Bryson Tucker and Austin Abrams each finished with 14.
The East Baltimore school never trailed after the opening quarter, managing a late St. Joe push in regulation to remain perfect in BCL play at 9-0. St. Frances has won 24 consecutive BCL regular season decisions since 2020, and sit three games clear in the loss column with five league games left.
The Panthers are on the path to a record fifth straight BCL regular season championship after winning on the Smith Center hardwood for the first time since 2017.
“We executed the game plan…we got to close out games better down the stretch,” said St. Frances coach Nick Myles. “It’s tough to get a road win in this league, and, in this environment is great.”
The East Chase Street school led by as many as 14 points Sunday, but Mount St. Joseph trailed only 64-60 after a jumper by Tucker with 1:21 remaining in regulation. A free throw each by Lindsay and Jahnathan Lamothe, combined with a couple of Gael miscues, secured the Panthers’ first two-game regular season sweep of its Southwest Baltimore rival since the 2017-18 season.
“We knew they were going to come out hard on us,” said Lindsay. “Home court, a lot of fans, we just had to keep the momentum.”
Lindsay helped keep the Gaels’ student section muted for most of the first half. The 6-foot-3 sharpshooter from Poly, dropped three deep 3-pointers as part of a 15-0 surge, turning a 12-9 deficit into a 24-12 advantage for St. Frances in the second quarter.
Lindsay had 12 points in the opening half as St. Frances led, 37-28, at halftime.
Davis had the “touch” in the second half. The sophomore hit three straight daggers including from the corner near the Panthers’ bench, turning a 43-35 game into 52-39 late in the third.
Whether it’s Davis, Lindsay, Lamothe or junior Carlton Carrington, St. Frances has rode whoever’s in the proverbial zone this season.
“That’s the best part and the most confusing part, you never know who’s day it’s going to be,” said Myles. “You got to figure it out and when we figured it out we just try to go through that guy.”
“My guys kept feeding me, they knew I had the hot hand,” said Davis. “They kept giving the ball and I had to provide for them.”
The Panthers were in command, 62-51, after two Lindsay free throws with 2:52 left in regulation. But, a minute later, after a dunk from Hansberry off a steal by Austin Abrams, Mount St. Joseph (19-5, 7-4 BCL) had the deficit down to 62-55.
It was 64-58 after Ace Valentine’s 3-pointer from the near the Gaels’ student section. The Panthers turned the ball over on an inbounds violation, and Tucker, getting a pick from Hansberry, hit a short jumper to make it 64-60.
Mount St. Joseph got the ball after a defensive stop with 54 seconds left, but threw the ball away with 41.4 seconds left. Lindsay converted one of two free throws for a 65-60 with 16.9 seconds remaining.
The Gaels nearly lost the ball out of bounds as Abrams had to jump near the sidelines to save it. The ball came inbounds to Lamothe, who was fouled with 8.2 seconds to play.
It was the Gaels’ first home loss of the season.
Mount St. Joseph coach Pat Clatchey said the Panthers’ guard depth makes it difficult to game plan against.
“Whenever you play them, somebody is going to step up. Today it was Bryce and Davis…Cortez (Johnson) is a really good player and a factor on both ends of the floor,” said Clatchey, whose team’s six-game winning streak was snapped. “I thought our guys played hard…you can’t have empty trips especially late. They converted from the foul line and we didn’t.”
Sunday’s victory capped a successful week on the court for St. Frances, which handled No. 3 Our Lady of Mount Carmel Friday evening.
Off the court, the school community is coping with the passing of Lamar Patterson, a member of the football team. Patterson, a junior, was killed Wednesday morning when his car was struck by a MTA Light Rail train.
Myles said the basketball team is dedicating the season in his memory.
“It’s been a tough week…I didn’t know how we would respond, but the guys stayed the course,” said Myles, who’s the school’s athletic director. “It’s a big loss for our family. We’re moving forward day by day, that’s all you can do.”
No. 1 St. Frances Academy 66, No. 4 Mount St. Joseph 60
St. Frances – Lindsay 23, Davis 22, Johnson 6, Lamothe 6, Robinson 5, Carrington 4. Totals 21 16-19 66.
Mount St. Joseph – Hansberry 19, Abrams 14, Tucker 14, Valentine 12, Wingfield 1. Totals 24 5-9 60.
St. Frances 19 18 17 12 – 66
Mount St. Joseph 12 16 13 19 – 60