[Baltimore Sun] Mount Saint Joseph basketball edges Glenelg Country, 52-50, in MIAA A Conference semifinals

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Mount Saint Joseph junior Joe Green’s steal with four seconds left helped preserve a late lead in a 52-50 victory Thursday night over Glenelg Country School in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference basketball semifinals.

Sophomore BJ Ranson led the Gaels with 14 points, while the Dragons were led by Patrick Curtin with a game-high 32 points.

The Dragons (13-16) were trying to get the ball to Curtin for a potential game-tying 3-pointer, but Green picked off the handoff and was fouled. He made both free throws to extend the lead to five and Curtin’s banked 3-pointer at the buzzer only made it closer on the final scoreboard.

“Coach [Pat] Clatchey always makes us practice breaking up handoffs and Joe is one of the best at doing it,” Ranson said. “We do it every day and he just made a play that we normally practice.”

Green finished with three steals and a blocked shot to go with 10 points.

“It was team win, but Joe Green really stepped up and made some big plays,” Clatchey said.

Ranson, a reserve, made the big plays on offense, heating up like a microwave every time he entered the game. The Gaels led 14-11 after the first quarter with Glenelg Country’s Curtin scoring all of his team’s points.

Ranson pushed the lead up to nine with two 3-pointers in the first minute of the second quarter.

“I’m just going in looking to play the right way and I’m just going to go in there and get mine and do what I’ve got to do for this team,” Ranson said. “I know that Coach Clatchey wants me to step up and score the ball and play hard and that’s what I did.”

Said Clatchey: “He embraces moments like that. He’s tough, he’s confident, he’s poised, not afraid of the moment. He’s made big shots and big plays and he competes on defense.”

In the second quarter, the Gaels’ man-to-man defense had them switching Ryan Truitt, DJ Wingfield and Ranson on Curtin, and they held him scoreless.

Meanwhile, the Gaels had three players with six points, one with five and two with four in the opening half and led 31-20. The Dragons’ inside game was limited because 7-foot freshman Akol Nyok didn’t play because of injury.

“Our best big man was out,” Glenelg coach Garrett O’Donnell said. “We lost in rebounding.”

Deng Jok led the Dragons with eight rebounds.

Despite the loss of Nyok, Curtin ignited a third-quarter rally with 12 points to cut the deficit to six at the break, 43-37.

“[Curtin] can score, he’s a high-level scorer and a very confident player and he’s got the green light for them and he should because he can score a lot of points in bunches,” Clatchey said.

Glenelg Country’s Deng Jok makes a pass over Mount Saint Joseph’s Brandon Holmes in the Gaels’ 52-50 victory. (Craig Clary/Staff)

The Dragons cut the lead to three after a three by Curtin with 45 seconds left, but Ranson answered with an old-fashioned 3-point play with 21 seconds left.

Glenelg Country rallied in the fourth quarter, with a steal and an assist by Jalen Baker leading to a fast-break bucket by Curtin that cut the lead to one, 48-47, with 14 seconds left. Ranson made a pair of free throws with 11 seconds remaining to push the lead back to three. The Gaels finished 12 of 13 from the free-throw line.

Glenelg Country called a time out with eight seconds left before Green’s steal ended its chance for the tie.

“We prepare for late-game situations and our guys know you’ve got to get stops,” said Clatchey, whose Gaels have won 38 straight games at home and 104 games overall over the past three seasons. “We won a lot of close games this year.”

The Gaels improved to 34-4 this season and will play Archbishop Spalding at 6 p.m. on Saturday at UMBC in the championship game.

Mount Saint Joseph — 14 17 12 9 — 52

Glenelg Country — 11 9 17 13 — 50

MSJ: BJ Ranson 14, Joe Green 10, Ryan Truitt 10, Jordan Braithwaite 8, DJ Wingfield 6, Brandon Holmes 4.

G: Patrick Curtin 32, Kestor Crosse 6, Donavan Marshburn 5, Jalen Baker 4, Deng Jok 3.

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