ST. FRANCES

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - VAR­SITY -

na­tion­ally.

St. Frances, ranked No. 16 in the na­tion by ESPN and No. 22 by Max­Preps, will soon move up af­ter im­prov­ing to 31-3 on the sea­son while Oak Hill fell to 33-3.

“It was a lot of effort — a lot of effort,” West said. “Ev­ery­body gave it, ev­ery­body brought it, and that’s what made the game a lot eas­ier and more fun. We had a good time out there and ev­ery­body was do­ing what we had to do.”

The Pan­thers stated their case early Satur­day — play­ing ag­gres­sive de­fense and con­fi­dently on of­fense —by tak­ing hold of the game from the start and never let­ting go.

When West slammed home an in­side feed from Bald­win with 3 min­utes, 15 sec­onds to play in the first quar­ter, they al­ready had all five starters in the scor­ing col­umn for a 13-7 ad­van­tage that would ex­tend to 22-11 by the end of the frame.

The qual­ity in­side-out­side play con­tin­ued for the Pan­thers in the sec­ond quar­ter. By­ron Ire­land opened with a 3-pointer, fol­lowed by two more in­side bas­kets from West. Taion Robin­son’s bas­ket with just over one minute to play pro­vid­ing the big­gest lead of the first half at 39-22.

West, who had 10 points in the half, went in­side right be­fore the buzzer to put the Pan­thers up 41-27 at the break.

The third-quar­ter play from Staten and Bald­win typ­i­fied the fo­cus and de­ter­mi­na­tion the Pan­thers main­tained through­out the sec­ond half with the lead grow­ing to 30 points early in the fourth quar­ter.

“The kids played hard and I give them the credit,” St. Frances coach Nick Myles said. “As far as St. Frances basketball — it’s a huge win. Oak Hill is a na­tional power, a na­tional brand, and for us to win in con­vinc­ing fash­ion is great for our pro­gram.”

The Pan­thers have wel­comed all chal­lenges this sea­son — two of their losses com­ing against na­tion­ally ranked IMG and Kansas power Sun­rise Chris­tian Academy — as they pre­pare to de­fend their Mary­land In­ter­scholas­tic Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion and Bal­ti­more Catholic League cham­pi­onships. They close out their reg­u­lar sea­son next week, trav­el­ing to Loy­ola Blake­field on Wed­nes­day be­fore host­ing Mount Saint Joseph on Fri­day.

In the event opener, Rock Creek Chris­tian held off New Hope 73-67 in a bat­tle be­tween Prince Ge­orge’s County ri­vals.

Rock Creek got a game-high 24 points from Kyree Free­man-Davis, while Isaac James, a Pat­ter­son trans­fer, scored 18 points for New Hope to share team-high hon­ors with Jaylen Hall.

KARL MER­TON FER­RON/THE BAL­TI­MORE SUN

Oak Hill Academy (Va.) War­riors guard Cam Thomas watches St. Frances Academy for­ward Ju­lian Reese (10) steal the ball fol­low­ing a dou­ble team with guard Adrian Bald­win dur­ing the East Coast Bump tour­na­ment Satur­day at UMBC.

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