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No. 4 St. Frances boys basketball hands No. 1 Mount St. Joseph first loss in 64-59 OT thriller

When Mount Saint Joseph and St. Frances get together in boys basketball, the details are magnified, any runs are vital, and the poise at the end proves the difference.

Monday at packed St. Frances, the host Panthers impressively pulled through in an overtime classic.

Junior forward Donovan Flamer scored a game-high 20 points and sophomore guard Jasiah Cannady added 16 as No. 4 St. Frances owned the final two minutes of extra time to secure a 64-59 win to hand No. 1 Mount Saint Joseph its first loss this season after 19 wins.

St. Frances (15-6) improves to 6-1 in the Baltimore Catholic League and 4-2 in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference, while Mount Saint Joseph (19-1) is now 5-1 in the BCL and MIAA A Conference.

Tied at 50 going into overtime and again at 54 midway through the four-minute overtime, the Panthers got a big 3-pointer from Cannady, a steal and layup from Josiah Legree, a strong inside make by Flamer and hit three of four free throws in the final 36 seconds to send the Gaels home with a loss for the first time this season.

“At the end of the game, in the clutch moments, it was about knowing what to do, not making mistakes and staying disciplined,” Cannady said. “That was a big win for us. That’s a rivalry game. It’s going to boost our confidence and make us all better. That’s a great team and we’re going to see them again later in the season and I’m just proud of my team.”

The teams are longstanding powers and their rivalry has been the best in the past decade — by far.

On Monday, Mount Saint Joseph came out faster behind All-Metro forward Tyonne Farrell and Jordan Brathwaite. Farrell scored the Gaels’ first six points and Brathwaite hit a basket and 3-pointer to start a 10-0 run, capped by Brandon Holmes’ three-point play that gave the visitors an 18-9 lead late in the first quarter.

But the Panthers have a knack for playing through poor stretches only to regain their form. And when Legree penetrated and then kicked it out to Tyler Baldwin for a 3 with one second left in the first quarter, the deficit was cut to 18-16.

Struggling on offense to start the second half, the Panthers didn’t make a shot until there was 3:01 to play, but their defense only permitted two Mount Saint Joseph baskets to trail 34-29.

The home team closed with a 9-0 run — a 3 from Cannady capping the run to provide a 38-34 advantage entering the fourth quarter.

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The Panthers appeared poised to take hold of the game early in the frame when Cannady converted a three-point play and Flamer finished strong in the paint for a 43-35 lead with 6:03 to go. But the Gaels called timeout and had their run with Joseph Green hitting two baskets and a 3-pointer from Brathwaite cutting the Panthers’ lead to 43-42.

After Tyler Baldwin answered with a 3 to push the lead back up to 46-42, the Gaels got two free throws from Farrell and a basket by Brathwaite to get back even at 48. The teams exchanged two free throws to send the game into overtime, Brathwaite making two to tie the game at 50 with 50 seconds left.

Defense was key for the Panthers in overtime as they limited the Gaels to two field goals in the four minutes, the last coming with 2.9 seconds left after the home team stretched the lead to 64-57.

“We just had to stick together, play defense, get some rebounds and stops because we know we can put the ball in the basket,” Flamer said.

“I never played in an environment like this before and, to be honest, before the game, I was a little nervous. But I was like ‘You know what I’m just going to go out and play basketball.’ After the game, after getting this huge win against Mount Saint Joe, it just felt so good.”

Brathwaite finished with 19 points to lead the Gaels while Farrell added 16 and Ryan Truitt had 12.

Mount Saint Joseph coach Pat Clatchey said poor defensive rebounding gave the Panthers second-chance points, and several bad possessions in the third quarter proved most costly.

“[St. Frances] is a talented team. They had some guys that made some big plays and hit some big shots, and that’s what these games are usually decided by,” he said.

MSJ — Farrell 16, Holmes 8, Brathwaite 19, Truitt 12, Green 4. Totals: 20 15—18 59

SF — Flamer 20, Lawson 2, Egbiremolen 3, Fleming 4, Legree 9, Baldwin 10, Cannady 16. Totals: 22 14—23 64

Halftime: MSJ, 30-29