Calvert Hall Cardinals and John Carroll Patriots split the season series, each defending their home court. The first matchup was January 9th at John Carroll, JC winning 69-48. They wouldn't play again until February 4th, where Calvert Hall won 49-43. For the third and final time this season, they played for an opportunity to play for the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A conference title.
First and foremost, I would like to give a big shout out to the Red C, Calvert Hall's student section, who stormed the court once the game was over. This was an active group of kids that created a great atmosphere for the game, even battling John Carroll's student section who also came out strong. Calvert Hall punched their ticket to the championship game with a 75-61 victory over the Patriots. Calvert Hall never lost the lead in this one, starting the game on 10-2 run in the first 3 1/2 minutes, that pretty much set the tone for this one. Nico Johnson, who will attend Siena next fall, scored 7 of the Cardinals first 10 points, two of which came from a big-time dunk that got the RED C fired up.
John Carroll just couldn't get the stops they needed to turn the corner. Early turnovers really hurt the Patriots, who could never bounce back from that first quarter deficit. Along with the turnovers, missed shots was also an issue for the Patriots. They would create good looks, both Kimbal Mackenzie and Elijah Long penetrating to the basket, but just couldn't finish at the rim, and for that I give credit to the bigs of Calvert Hall.
Evan Phoenix and Justin Gorham played big down bottom, helping the Cardinals win the battle on the boards and in the paint. Phoenix finished with 20 points, 14 of which coming in the second half. When the Patriots applied the press, Gorham took advantage, beating JC's Mike Tertsea to the low post for easy layups.
JC in the second half began to hit their shots but couldn't stop Calvert Hall from scoring. In the third quarter, JC cut the lead to as low as 5, thanks to some good shooting by Kimbal Mackenzie. Kimbal started a 7-1 run by his self with a trey ball and sweet bank shot off the glass. Like I said though, the Cardinals would never allow them to turn the corner. Anytime the Patriots would make a run, the Cardinals would answer with one of their own.
While Kimbal Mackenzie, who finished with 25, did his best to keep his team in the game, Cardinals' senior guard, Drew Edwards, made sure that lead never went away. When Nico left the game in the middle of the 3rd quarter because of foul trouble, Edwards took over. He helped run the offense by playing in the middle of the paint, breaking the Patriot's 2-3 zone with good passes and mid-range shots. Edwards hit all 6 of his free throws in the 4th quarter, finishing with 25 points.
Calvert Hall will now play Mt. Carmel in the championship game Sunday at 5:30. These two also split the season series, Mt. Carmel winning the last matchup 93-90 in double overtime. It will be interesting to see how theses two evenly matched squads come out to play.