Roman Catholic’s bid to defeat St. Joseph’s Prep seemed to be in jeopardy when junior standout and leading scorer Seth Lundy fouled out with seven minutes remaining.
But Allen Betrand and company picked up the slack in the remainder of Wednesday night’s Catholic League semifinal, propelling the determined Cahillites to a 69-66 triumph over the Hawks before a large crowd at the Palestra.
Roman was ahead by 42-36 when Lundy departed. A 9-0 burst that began with Lynn Greer’s three-pointer and was capped by Betrand’s short floater gave Matt Griffin’s squad a 54-39 cushion with 4 minutes, 18 seconds left to play.
“We have so many players that can contribute when needed,” Griffin said. “We took a next-guy-up mentality when Seth went out of the game.”
Betrand produced 12 of his game-high 20 points in the final quarter. The senior guard and Towson recruit added five blocked shots and seven boards.
“That comes from hustle, playing hard, and getting to the rim,” Griffin said.
Greer, a rising sophomore point guard, delivered 15 of his 17 points after the break. He shot 4 for 8 from the field (2 for 3 on treys) and 5 for 6 from the line in that span.
“He actually took over the game in the second half,” Griffin said. “His floor leadership was terrific.”
Roman (18-5) will take on regular-season champ Bonner-Prendergast (21-3) for top honors at 8:30 p.m. Monday back at the Palestra. The Friars downed Archbishop Carroll, 48-45, in Wednesday’s earlier semifinal.
The Cahillites are looking to capture their third crown in the last four years. Under former boss Chris McNesby, they topped Neumann-Goretti in 2015 and 2016.
For the Prep, which was seeking its first league crown since 2004, senior guards Kyle Thompson (four treys) and Darius Kinnel netted 25 and 19 points, respectively.
Roman jumped out to a 10-2 advantage on a burst that was capped by back-to-back three-pointers from Hakim Hart (11 points, seven boards, four assists) and Lundy (14 points, seven boards). But the Hawks responded with a 9-2 spurt that featured Trevor Wall’s driving bucket and Ed Croswell’s three-point play.
An alley-oop dunk by Betrand, courtesy of a feed from Greer, cut the gap to 17-16. The Hawks (15-9) answered again, this time with a 7-0 run that began with Thompson’s three-point play and ended with Darius Kinnel’s driving layup.
Behind Thompson (eight points), Croswell (seven points, six boards) and Wall (seven points, three assists), the Prep took a 24-20 lead into the locker room.
St. Joseph’s Prep 11 13 10 32-66
Roman Catholic 10 10 22 27-69
SJP: Kyle Thompson 25, Darius Kinnel 19, Ed Croswell 9, Trevor Wall 10, Gabe Arizin 3.
RC: Lynn Greer 17, Allen Betrand 20, John Kelly 7, Hakim Hart 11, Seth Lundy 14.