Sharp fourth-quarter defense by O'Connell and Springarn pulled out consolation-round victories last night in the 17th Annual O'Connell Christmas Basketball Tournament at O'Connell High School.

Kevin Darmody, who scored a game-high 34 points, tossed in five quick points in the final period to help O'Connell turn back Archbishop Malloy of Jamaica, N.Y., 60-57.

Springarn held deliberate St. Peter's of Staten Island, N.Y., without a field goal in the fourth quarter and escaped with a 40-45 triumph.

Darmody scored 25 points in the first half to stake O'Connel to a 35-rallied to within a point late in the contest. Thomas Tierney's two free throws with 1:53 remaining closed O'Connell's lead to 56-55.

But after an exchange of baskets, O'Connell's Thomas Cram, hit two free throws with 16 seconds left to insure the Knights' victory.

Spingarn (6-1) led throughout until Thomas Germinario sank two free throws to put St. Peter's ahead, 35-34, with 5:30 left.

But the Green Wave, held in check by ball-control tactics of the Staten Island, N.Y., team, took advantage of two quick turnovers to regain the lead.

Chris Perry drilled in a long jump shot from the corner and tipped in a teammate's attempt to give Spingarn a 38-35 advantage with 2:40 left.

St. Peter's got off on only four more attempts at its basket in the final minutes.

After trailing, 19-13, Dunbar scored the first seven points of the second half and completed 61 percent of its shots to defeat St. John's, 77-51, in a consolation of the Norfolk Catholic Christmas Tournament in Norfolk, Va. Dunbar, fifth place winner, was led by Joe Holston, who scored 11 of his 21 points after intermission, and Tony Gomillion, who added 13 in the second half.