O'Connell was the ungracious host, enjoying a laughter in its first-round game last night, while McKinley and Mackin needed clutch performances from their star guards to win in over-time in the 18th annual O'Connell Christmas Tournament.
O'Connell jumped out to a 42-22 lead at the half and never looked back in thrashing outmanned Archbishop Stepinac of White Plains, N.Y., 77-62; Kenny Payne sank two outside jumpers in the extra session to help Mackin get past tough Cardinal O'Hara of Philadelphia, 65-61; James Pannell scored seven of McKinley's eight over-time points in a 62-58 victory over Archbishop Molloy of Jamaica, N.Y., and Father Judge of Philadelphia took advantage of cold-shooting Carroll to breeze to a 69-54 victory.
In tonight's semifinals, Mackin (7-0) plays McKinley (3-2) at 7:30 and Father Judge (10-2) goes against O'Connell (7-1) at 9:15.
Consolation games match O'Hara (7-3) and Molloy (4-5) at 4 p.m. and Carroll (4-3) and Stepinac (3-6) at 5:45.
Kevin Darmody, O'Connell's 6-foot-7 scoring machine, and Ed Leonard each poured in 13 points in the first two periods to spark the last-breaking Knights to their biggest halftime lead of the season.
Nine of O'Connell's first-half baskets were layups off second shots or breakaways. Stepinac never made a serious run at O'Connell in the second half.
Carroll made only three of 13 field goals in the third period as Father Judge stretched a 10-point intermission lead to 48-26. Rick Marshall and Mike McCloskey each scored six points in the quarter.
Carroll shot a dismal 33 percent (21 of 63) and was beaten badly on the boards.
Marshall, with 20 points, and McCloskey and Joe Petrone, with 18 each, continuously outmuscled the Lions for easy baskets inside. Carroll scored 28 points in the final period, long after the outcome had been decided.
McKinley led most of the way until Glenn Wink sank four straight free throws to put Molloy ahead, 54-52, with 25 seconds left in regulation.
McKinley set up Pannell for a jump shot at the top of the key, and the 6-foot junior sank it with nine seconds remaining to send the game into overtime.
The extra session was Pannell's private showplace as he sank his team's first seven points to give it a 61-56 lead with 24 seconds left.
Mackin enjoyed a 55-47 advantage over O'Hara midway through the fourth quarter until Dave Kerins sank three straight jump shots to pull the Philadelphia visitors to within a basket, 57-55, with 2:13 to go in regulation. O'Hara's Bill Mitchell sank four free throws, sandwiched around a pair by Payne in the final seconds, to tie the game, 59-59, with 10 seconds left.
Mackin missed three shots in the waning seconds to bring about the overtime.
Payne opened the extra period with a 15-foot jumper to give Mackin a 61-59 edge. Kerins countered with a basket before Payne slipped past a tiring O'Hara defender for his 18th and 19th points of the game with 1:40 to play.
O'Hara committed a turnover and Mackin's Randy Massey sank his only point of the day to give the Trojans a 64-61 advantage with 17 seconds to play.