ST. JAMES, Md. -- Jermaine Thomas hit a tough pull up jumper and a pair of free throws in the 1:07 to propel Thomas Johnson H.S. to a 56-49 victory over Montrose Christian on Friday night at the St. James Invitational Tournament.
With the win, the Patriots advanced to tonight's championship against Notre Dame Academy of Virginia.
Johnson pretty much was in control for much of the contest against Montrose Christian, but the Mustangs got to within a point midway through the fourth quarter.
With the Patriots clinging to a 51-49 lead, the La Salle bound Thomas finished off Montrose Christian for good.
With 1:07 to play, he pulled up on the baseline and used his strength to shake off a defender and finesse a short jumper into the basket to push the lead to four points.
Following a missed three pointer by the Mustangs' Troy Hailey, Thomas was fouled with 26.4 seconds to play and hit a pair of free throws that increased the bulge to six.
Johnson finished the game with 23 points to lead all scorers, and his junior backcourt mate at Johnson, 6-2 off guard Thomas Richard, added 16 in the win.
Linas Kleiza, a bull strong 6-7, 230 pound junior power forward from Lithuania, pumped in 18 points for Montrose in the loss. Point guard Rich Baker was the only other Mustang to hit for double figures, as he tallied 11 points.
Montrose will face National Christian on Saturday in the third place game of the St. James Invitational Tournament.