The 12th-ranked Mustangs of Bishop McNamara earned their first trip to Cole Field House for postseason play, using superior guard play and a 23-13 third quarter to cruise past 17th-ranked Carroll, 73-63, last night in a Metro Conference playoff game at DeMatha.
McNamara (25-5) will face Interhigh runner-up Spingarn in the 2 p.m. preliminary game to the city championship Sunday between Coolidge and DeMatha at Cole Field House.
"Our kids really deserved it," said Mustangs Coach Marty Waters, whose team has defeated Carroll three times this season.
"Three wins over Carroll is a treat in itself."
The Lions (20-9) jumped to a 19-15 first-quarter lead as 6-foot-5 forward Lawrence Moten, who led all scorers with 22 points, scored 13 in those first eight minutes, including a trio of three-point field goals for Carroll.
A surprise zone defense by the Lions, who have played man-to-man most of the season, forced McNamara to shoot from the outside as the Lions led most of the second quarter.
But McNamara's trapping defense and quick guards led by Tony Johnson (20 points and five steals) helped the Mustangs get on track. Two consecutive steals by Johnson resulted in five straight points as the Mustangs cut the deficit to 21-20.
A jumper by Aquila Mathews with 0:54 left, only the Lions' second field goal of the quarter, gave Carroll a 27-25 halftime lead.
Nate Joy, who scored 19 points, got hot in the third quarter and hit three three-pointers. Combined with Johnson's three steals that resulted into six more points, that helped stake McNamara to a 46-40 lead. Mark McGlone's layup at the buzzer to end the third quarter made the score 48-40.
Carroll opened the fourth quarter with three straight baskets, Moten's steal and layup cutting the margin to 48-46. But the Lions scored only one field goal the next 4 1/2 minutes, while Martin Somerville (10 points) and Joy combined for eight straight points.
Joy's layup on a backdoor pass from Quinn Harris (18 points and eight rebounds) put McNamara up by 60-49 with 2:36 left and it was Cole Field House, here they come.