Posted On: 12/23/17 2:28 PM
Two of the areas top teams squared up against each other last night. St. Frances and Mt. St. Joe are no strangers to one another, as they’ve had instant classics in the past. Last night was no different, but the Panthers came out on top by a final score of 81-75 to improve to 13-1 on the season while the Gaels fall to 9-3.
Here are five takeaways from the game:
Elijah Epps plays the perfect game for the Panthers
The Panthers are a tough team to defend as is, but when Elijah Epps plays like he did last night, it’d be tough for anyone to beat them. The senior guard finished with 26 points that included going 10-for-10 from the charity stripe. He connected on two timely three-pointers in the third quarter to help the Panthers keep the slight cushion they had on the Gaels going into halftime. Epps also led the team with eight rebounds. He was active defensively, making the correct rotations and jumping lackadaisical passes.
Jordan Toles’ play off the bench helps Panthers get off to fast start
Toles checked into the game and immediately made his presence felt. He scored 16 of his 23 points in the first half including two three’s. It didn’t seem to matter who the Gaels threw his way, when he got the ball on the wing the only thing on his mind was to score. Whether it was taking his man to the basket or a jab step into a jumpshot, Toles looked smooth. If the sophomore stays as aggressive as he was last night, he’ll continue to be a major weapon off the bench for head coach Nick Myles as they get into the thick of conference play.
James Bishop and Jalen Smith’s big nights aren’t enough for the Gaels
In most cases if you were to look at the box score and see Bishop and Smith finishing with 28 and 26 points respectively, chances are the Gaels ultimately would win that game. The duo scored 54 of the 75 total points and didn’t get much help elsewhere. Kendall McMillian chipped in with nine points. Other than that, a few players finished with two or three points each. Smith had his usual dominant performance rebounding on both ends. Bishop scored his points in bunches. He’d be quiet for a stretch and then go off for back-t0-back triples that ignited the sold out arena.
Ace Baldwin fills the stat sheet….again.
It’s becoming routine for Baldwin to flirt with a double-double every time he steps on the floor. A little over a week ago, he recorded a triple-double in a win against Calvert Hall. Against the Gaels last night, Baldwin finished with 15 points, seven rebounds and five assists. More importantly, he controlled the game for the Panthers in both the halfcourt and out in transition. The sophomore floor general continues to grow into the area’s top guard and with more performances against marquee teams like last night, that argument keeps gaining strength.
Panthers claiming the top spot in the city?
St. Frances continues to add to their resume with marquee wins. They already had John Carroll, Iona Prep and St. Maria Goretti. Now they add the Gaels and improve to 13-1 overall and 6-0 in the MIAA A Conference. They’re next game will come against Carmel Christian in North Carolina on Dec. 27 before traveling to Charlotte for the Hoodies House Hoops Classic. Not only are they proving their worth in the city, but Coach Myles has done a solid job scheduling outside the state to showcase their talents along the East Coast.