Baltimore City- Two of Baltimore Catholic League’s top programs clash tonight in East Baltimore. Both teams are coming off loses in the Charm City Challenge and are looking to bounce back into the win column. St Frances (4-1) host St Maria Goretti (5-1) for their third home game of the season. So far, the Panthers recorded easy victories over Mt Carmel (88-51) and John Carroll (89-42). As for Goretti, the Gaels are 2-1 away from home. Two road wins were against Boys Latin (60-56) and Loyola (64-56).
After seeing both teams play in the Charm City Challenge we anticipate a matchup of two contrasting styles. St Frances is an athletic team who is effective moving the ball quickly down court and attacking the basket. The Panthers favor pressuring the ball in man to man defense and will extend to full court. Offensively, the defending BCL champs are probably one of the best teams in the area at attacking the rim. They methodically move the ball until angles are created for the drive. St Frances is also good at turning defensive rebounds into long outlet passes for lay-ups or dunks. What we have yet to see is the Panthers ability to knock down jumpers on a “consistent” bases. Teams will attempt to take away their strengths by playing variations of zones. Thus the ability to knock down the mid range jumper and three pointer will play a major role in the Panthers success.
Contrary to St. Frances, St Maria Goretti’s athleticism isn’t the Gaels strength but they do have athletes. Gaels are more of a technical squad who picks their spots to create chances at the basket. Goretti is tough to defend because of their constant movement on offense, designed to knock down open jumpers or generate close range shots. Typically four out of five players on the court can hit a mid range jumper or three pointer at a decent clip. We didn’t see much designed for interior play offensively unless its attacking the basket off the dribble. Gaels will push the ball under favorable numbers and they have enough solid ball-handlers who look to score off of press breaks. On defense, Goretti can do a little bit of everything. Man-to-Man seem to be their defense of choice, but will take away dribble drives with help side movement. At some point, they will switch to a zone against poor outside shooting teams.
Bench play is going to be factor in tonight’s game. Both teams can go rather deep into their bench but quality of minutes differ. St Frances’ bench can put up starter points. Goretti still leans on the remaining starters on the floor to score with relievers filling in a secondary role. Neither team has much of a drop off when dealing with bench minutes.
Players to Watch
St. Maria Goretti
Abdou Tetchueng Tsimbila
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