- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 20, 2002

With Matt Hilleary recording a double-double, Catholic overwhelmed St. Mary's (Md.) 85-65 in the first round of the Capital Athletic Conference tournament last night at the DuFour Center.
Hilleary, a junior forward from Manassas, Va., finished with 26 points and 16 rebounds, adding to what is becoming a thick file of achievements. Will Morley also had a double-double, with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Kevin Wise added 16 points.
The Cardinals (23-2) took an 11-0 lead at the start and appeared on their way to a no-fuss outcome. Two early timeouts by Seahawks coach Alfred Johnson stopped the onslaught. The Seahwaks (5-21) started to fight back behind long-range gunner Brandon Jones, who entered the game averaging a conference-high 23.6 points. Try as they might, the Seahawks could not cope with the Cardinals' inside strength.
It was the 200th career win in 10 seasons for coach Mike Lonergan and the first postseason step for the Cardinals, who hope to secure a first-round bye in the NCAA tournament and then play host to the next three rounds before the Final Four in Salem, Va., next month.
The Cardinals, the defending Division III national champions, appear poised to make another run at the top prize, judging by their efficient work against the Seahawks.
The Cardinals coasted to a 46-32 lead at halftime, warding off a number of surges from the plucky visitors. Hilleary was just too much for the Seahawks, nearly posting a double-double in the first half, with 17 points and nine rebounds in 18 minutes. The Cardinals abused the Seahawks on the glass, fashioning a 27-17 rebounding advantage in the first half. Jones hit a couple of 3-point bombs for the Seahawks to keep it somewhat respectable.
The Seahawks cut the deficit to 52-43 on a 3-pointer by Matt Miller with 14:47 left. A basket by Craig Avallone, a 3-pointer by Wise and two free throws by Bobby Henning pushed the Cardinals' lead back to 59-43 with 11:52 left.
"It was an ugly win," Lonergan said. "But we came out of it in good physical shape, and I was able to get my point guard [the previously injured Henning] some minutes. We'll take it. Our main goal was to advance."
The Cardinals will play Goucher tomorrow night in the CAC tournament semifinals.
As for Johnson and the Seahawks, they have the offseason to figure out an answer for Hilleary and Morley. They had none last night.
Notes Selections for the 48-team Division III national tournament will be announced during an Internet selection show (www.D3hoops.com) Sunday at 9 p.m. First-round play begins next Thursday …
History of sorts was made in the preliminary game as the Catholic women claimed their first conference tournament victory in 11 years and only their second in 32 seasons, defeating Goucher 65-41.
"Our girls are on cloud nine now," said first-year coach Maggie Lonergan, wife of the men's coach. "They think they can take on the world. They think they can beat anyone. They're ready to go."


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