Co-Authored by Greg Keidel ’19 and Christopher Flynn ’19
As spring sports begin and final cuts are being made, we look back at this year’s basketball season.
The Gaels were led by seniors Pierre Johnson, Randy Miller, and Miles Wilson; juniors Justice Kendall, Darryl Morsell, and Nigel Jackson; and sophomore Jalen Smith. The team finished 31-5 and won the BCL regular season championship.
There are many ways to describe this season, but when we talked to Coach Clatchey he said this season was “very successful.” Even after finishing last season “on a down note,” as he called it, this season was a “redemption” season.
- The season started with two road wins and a hard loss by double digits to St. Frances at home.
- The team dug deep and won six straight with a big road win at John Carroll and another at the Iolani Classic in Hawaii.
- They fell then to Lone Peak, who rank 29th in the country, by only one point (47-46).
- Again though, the team persevered and won fifteen games straight, including victories over St. Frances, Goretti, and Glenelg Country in that run.
- Then, with four games left in the season, they fell to Glenelg Country. As usual though, the Gaels came back and six days later beat Glenelg Country.
- The Gaels faced St. Frances in the MIAA A Conference Championship, where they lost, even though they gave great effort (75-67).
- In the BCL tournament, the team easily passed Loyola (59-44) and Calvert Hall (93-51). They advanced to face John Carroll. Sadly, John Carroll’s Immanuel Quickley hit a 3-point shot with 1.8 seconds left, leaving the Gaels one final opportunity to get a shot off, but it was slightly to the right and missed. This heartbreaking loss gave the Gaels their 5th loss of season (51-50).
When we asked about the seniors in key roles leaving this year, Coach said, “We have a good nucleus coming back,” and mentioned the 31-0 JV team who has possible players moving up and helping fill those roles.
We asked Coach Clatchey if there were any moments from this season that would stick with him forever. He said the trip to Hawaii in general will stick with everyone. About the team though, he said the character of the team was something he was proud of, as well as the fact that they never lost two games in a row. When asked about this season and if there were any regrets, Coach Clatchey expressed disappointment in losing the championships, but no regrets.
Losing both the MIAA championship as well as the BCL should not describe the Gaels’ season though. The Gaels were still very impressive this season with their 31-5 record. Getting to the championships was high on their list of goals to accomplish, and they did that this year. Next year they will take it a step further, winning both the MIAA and BCL Championship.
Playing in the Alhambra Tournament on March 10-12, Mount Saint Joseph started with a loss, but finished strong, beating St. Frances 65-60 and nationally-ranked Gonzaga 63-62 with a buzzer beater by Pierre Johnson.
As Coach Clatchey said earlier, “We are accustomed to competing and winning championships,” we asked how the team plans to bounce back strong for next year. He said that the players just need to get better and be committed to improving their skills, hopefully with the “understanding that it’s a team game. It’s a process, and competing and winning championships are an expectation here.”