Patriots come close to defeating No. 3 Mustangs


Malcolm McMillan (11) pushes past Montrose’s Carmelo Bentancourt (5) and Justin Anderson (23). The unranked Patriots nearly defeated the Mustangs, who are ranked No. 3 in the nation.

As the only team not ranked in the Powerade Fab 50 ESPN RISE Boys Basketball Rankings, John Carroll nearly knocked out No. 3 Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.) in the opening game of the single elimination-tournament Thursday afternoon. However, Montrose came away with the win, defeating the Patriots 64-59.

Jarred Jones took the first two points for the Patriots, followed by a quick return from the top-seeded Mustangs. The teams battled continuously with the lead changing 17 times, until John Carroll pulled away with a narrow 26-24 lead at the end of the first quarter. Ronald Scott contributed 16 points for the Patriots, including two three-point shots.

Taken aback by the Patriots’ quick defense, “I was intimidated,” Michael Carrera said.

Having not played since Feb. 15, “We were rusty,” Montrose coach Stu Vetter said. However, “We did a good job withstanding the first quarter.” Vetter credited John Carroll’s game strategy, adding that the Mustangs had to devise a new plan for the second quarter—get the ball inside more.

The second quarter was another back-and-forth battle, as Montrose snatched the rebounds and John Carroll stole the ball back.

As the clock winded down, the Patriots took a 35-33 lead, and the Mustangs called a timeout with just under a minute left. Back on the court, two foul shots from Carrera tied the score at 35 to finish out the half.

In the third quarter, Carrera began slipping behind the zone, getting easy put-backs and layups for the Mustangs. Montrose’s Justin Anderson made a critical steal from Jones before dunking the ball to bring the score to 51-43, Mustangs.

The Patriots had their chance to take back the lead in the fourth quarter with numerous scoring opportunities, but they could convert enough shots. A shot from Malcolm McMillan brought the Patriots closer to Montrose’s tight 59-57 lead. On a later John Carroll breakaway that would have tied the game, too many passes allowed the Mustang defense to get back and block the shot. “We missed some crucial shots,” McMillan said. “We needed to capitalize on everything, but we didn’t do that.”

With a run at the end and Johnson’s two foul shots, the Mustangs clinched the game with a 63-59 win.

Scott led both teams with 25 points, followed by Johnson with 19.

Though the Patriots were only five points from advancing in the tournament, McMillan was hardly disappointed with his team’s performance. “It’s been a great season, and I wouldn’t trade my teammates for anyone in the world,” he said.

“[Montrose is] the No. 3 team in the country, and you have to give them credit,” John Carroll coach Tony Martin said.

Jenny Hottle is the Online Chief and Kristin Marzullo is the Photo and Design Chief for “The Patriot” and