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St. Benedict's Wins Slam Dunk By Dave Telep Date: Dec 31, 2002 LEWES, Del. - Alex Galindo and his St. Benedict's teammates claimed the championship at the 13th Slam Dunk To The Beach. Galindo was named the MVP of the event as the Gray Bees rallied to beat Archbishop Spalding. Dan Hurley's St. Benedict's team remained undefeated this season and defeated a tough Archbishop Spalding crew 49-48 to win the 2002 Slam Dunk To The Beach. Junior small forward Alex Galindo scored 8 points and had 11 rebounds in the championship game, capping a very consistent three-game performance. He was named the MVP of the tournament. Spalding led for three quarters and was nursing a 3-point lead when the fourth quarter began. However, Mike Glick's team could muster just 4 fourth quarter points as St. Benedict's completed the rally. JR Smith canned a 3-pointer to tie the score at 44. Minutes later, junior center Stanley Branch, nursing a high ankle sprain, blocked a shot on the perimeter and followed it up with a free throw to give St. Benedict's a working margin of 49-47. Galindo then fouled Matt Latonick in the act of shooting a 3-pointer with 7.9 seconds remaining. Latonick stepped to the line and sank one of the three free throws. On the last attempt, Will Bowers got his hands on the miss and then Rudy Gay rebounded the ball and missed a shot from short range. From there St. Benedict's held on. Smith (13 points) Branch (13) and Art Bowers (10) led St. Benedict's in scoring but Hurley's team was really the sum of all its parts. For Spalding, Gay and Bowers came of age during the tournament. Gay had a superior first half in the title game and finished with 20 and 9. His offensive rebounding really seemed to stick out in our mind and also the energy he brought to the team, especially in the first quarter. Bowers has come a long way. He clearly has intentions of being more than just another body on Maryland's roster. His skill level has improved, he's passing well and he can score with his back to the basket. He's a much improved player with the biggest change in his game coming in his attitude, aggressiveness and intensity. He's starting to really come into his own. 2002 Slam Dunk All-Tournament Team: Rudy Gay, Will Bowers, Oumar Sylla, Leon Powe, Demetris Nichols, Shane Clark, Kyle Lowry.
St. Benedict's (N.J.) dashes dream of 'national' crown By Pat O'Malley Sun Staff Originally published December 31, 2002 Archbishop Spalding's dream of winning a national title of sorts ended with a 49-48 loss to St. Benedict's (N.J.) last night in the final of the 13th Slam Dunk to the Beach National Invitational championship bracket at Cape Henlopen High in Lewes, Del. Stanley Branch, a 6-foot-8 senior who had 13 points, had a dunk and free throw in the final 30 seconds to seal the win. Spalding scored only four points in the final period and missed a chance to win it in the waning seconds. The Cavaliers hit just one of three from the line and missed a put-back and tip-in in the last six seconds. "I thought we played our best game of the season, but we came up a point short after controlling most of the game," said Spalding coach Mike Glick, whose Cavaliers (8-2) joined Dunbar as the only Baltimore-area teams to play in the final. Dunbar lost in 1997 to St. Patrick's of Elizabeth, N.J., 56-47. Rudy Gay (20 points) and 7-0 Will Bowers (11) led No. 4 Spalding and were named to the all-tournament team. Gay had 12 of his points in the first half as the Cavs built a 33-25 lead by shooting 46 percent from the field. St. Benedict's (7-0) is coached by former Seton Hall star Danny Hurley. Copyright © 2002, The Baltimore Sun
Missed tip-ins at the buzzer allow Jersey’s St. Benedict’s to cling to one-point victory by Gary Adornato 12/31/2002 Rudy Gay and Will Bowers each had an opportunity at a game-winning tip-in, in the final eight seconds, but neither could get the ball to drop as Archbishop Spalding lost a heart-breaking, 49-48, decision to St. Benedict’s (NJ), in the championship game of the Slam Dunk at the Beach Tournament, last night in Lewes, Delaware. The Cavaliers (8-2), rated #4 in the latest Baltimore rankings, missed a golden opportunity to become the first area team to win the prestigious national event, when senior guard Matt Latonick was fouled while attempting a three-point field goal with just 7.9 seconds remaining and St. Benedict’s clinging to a 49-47 lead. Latonick, however, missed the first and third shots and, despite excellent efforts by both Gay and Bowers, the ensuing tips did not fall. St. Benedict’s, which trailed the Cavaliers nearly the entire game, took its first lead since the early minutes, when Art Bowers fed 6’-8” Stanley Branch for a dunk with 3:01 remaining in the game. Branch then added a free-throw in the final 30-seconds to put the Gray Bees up by two. Spalding built a 10-point lead early in the third quarter, but Benedict’s Bowers, who is headed to the University of Massachusetts on a basketball scholarship next fall, hit a 15-foot jumper to start a rally and another, with just 1:29 left in the period, to tie the game at 41. The victory should boost St. Benedict’s into the national rankings. The Gray Bees are undefeated and won the Great Florida Shootout last week, beating Lexington Catholic (KY), which was ranked in the top five in the nation by USA Today at the time, in the championship game. The last Baltimore team to reach the Slam Dunk at the Beach championship game was Dunbar, in 1997, when it lost to St. Patrick’s, also of New Jersey. Branch and J.R. Smith led St. Benedict’s with 13-points apiece, including three each in the decisive fourth quarter in which the Newark school outscored Spalding by an 8-4 margin. Bowers had 10-points and seven rebounds and Alex Galindo grabbed 11 rebounds for St. Benedicts, which amassed a 29-4 advantage in second-chance points. Gay, a junior, led Spalding with 20-points, including 12 in the first half when the Cavaliers built a 33-25 lead. And Bowers, Spalding’s 7’-0” senior center had 11-points. Both were named to the all-tournament team. Spalding returns to action in the MIAA A Conference on Friday, when it hosts Cardinal Gibbons.
By Pat O'Malley Sun Staff Originally published December 26, 2002 Will Bowers of Archbishop Spalding has literally inched his way to a full basketball scholarship at the University of Maryland. Bowers has grown from a 6-foot-5 grade schooler who practically had to be pushed onto the court into a 7-0 senior who has flashed enough potential to be recruited by the defending NCAA champions. Basketball didn't particularly interest him until his sophomore year in high school. When he was in grade school, his mother, Karen Bowers, signed him up for youth basketball without telling him. Bowers reluctantly played through ninth grade because "I was so tall and my parents wanted me to play." He got even taller in high school, going from 6-7 as a freshman to 6-9 as a sophomore to 6-11 as a junior before reaching his current height. As Bowers grew, so did his passion for the game. "I was weak and uncoordinated as a freshman and was only playing because I was tall," Bowers said. "I started growing in the offseason and by the fall I was about 6-9 and a lot stronger [from lifting weights]. I was a starter [as a sophomore], and I started to realize that I could play. "My confidence was really up, and I started to love the game and wanted to get better." And though his statistics might not show it, Bowers has dramatically developed his game: He runs the court well and is an intelligent passer and tough rebounder, with good hands, agility in the post and a soft touch on medium-range jumpers. In fact, his coach, Mike Glick, has such faith in him that Glick set up a play to give Bowers a last-second, three-point shot last week at Eleanor Roosevelt. Bowers made a 22-footer, sending the game into overtime. Spalding defeated the defending Class 4A state champion, 56-51. "He has a tremendous upside because of his versatility," Glick said, "and I can only see Gary [Williams, Terps coach] turning him into an excellent Division I player." Glick's teams don't feature high scorers - former Sun Player of the Year Derrick Snowden's 15.4 has been Spalding's highest average during Glick's four seasons - so Bowers has not put up big numbers. Bowers is averaging 10.0 points and 6.0 rebounds this season for the No. 4 Cavaliers after last season's 12.2 and 6.0. Those undistinguished statistics have raised questions about Bowers' suitability as an Atlantic Coast Conference recruit. "It might seem to be a little bit of a stretch for Bowers to be going to Maryland, but who can question Gary Williams' judgment?" said Paul Baker, a former high school and college coach and longtime commentator on the local basketball scene. "Gary has proven he has a keen eye for kids and projects them very well." Still, Baker said Bowers has slow feet, which could hinder him in college and possibly mean he will sit out next season as a redshirt. "Few 7-footers are good enough to play more than 25 minutes at the next level," Baker said. "Seven-footers are becoming less and less of a commodity." However, Morgan Wootten, the Hall of Fame coach who recently retired from DeMatha High in Hyattsville, said Bowers is "a good, solid prospect who is agile enough and has a fine touch for a big man." Spalding assistant coach Ralph Burley, a mentor to Bowers after persuading the Hanover resident to choose Spalding over Mount St. Joseph, said: "I don't think he will be redshirted, but I think he can come in and get minutes. I don't how many minutes he will get, but I think he can help the team. He's not going to be [an] All-American his freshman year, but in time, if he keeps working the way he did this summer, I think the sky is the limit for him." Calvert Hall coach Mark Ama- tucci, who once coached at Loyola College and Anne Arundel Community College, has seen Bowers in action. "He runs the floor well and has a nice touch for his size," Amatucci said. "Maryland obviously has the confidence to develop him." Bowers was nothing special as a 6-7, 190-pound freshman on the Spalding JV, and he thought he was finished growing. "The doctors projected me to stop growing at 6-7, and I thought I was pretty much done, but I ended up growing another 5 inches," said Bowers, who weighs 250 pounds. His father, Bill Bowers, is 6-5, his mother 6-0. He has a 6-8 cousin. Bowers recently set a school record for all-time blocked shots and is averaging 2.0 blocks this season. Last season, he was named All-County and second-team All-Metro for the No. 4 Cavaliers. The honors recognized the improvement built, in part, on summers spent playing Amateur Athletic Union ball. Maryland assistant Jimmy Patsos scouted Bowers extensively last season and recommended the Spalding junior to Williams. The Terps offered a full scholarship in July and by July 27, Bowers committed orally. Bowers, who more than quali-fies academically with a 3.30 grade point average and 1,310 on his SAT, chose the Terps over such schools as Connecticut, Notre Dame and Stanford. "At first, I couldn't under- stand why he picked Maryland over Stanford and Notre Dame," said Karen Bowers, but I asked him [and] he said, 'Because this is where I will be happy,' and what other words could a mother want to hear? I thought, this is great, because he's going to be close to home and I'll still be able to do his laundry. Oh, boy." Bowers' dad said he was disappointed their only child didn't want to take visits to some of the other schools. "He told me he knew he wanted to go to Maryland and couldn't see having other schools spend money to fly him out there and feed him if he had no intention of going there," Bill Bowers said. "I thought that was a pretty mature thing to do and not take advantage of a free trip to California or whatever." Bowers said he simply liked everything about the Maryland situation and the Terps liked everything about him, especially his potential. "I need to work on my athleti- cism, quick jumping and my left hand because the ACC is full of talented players," Bowers said. "Gary Williams is known for taking big men not necessarily rated high by the analysts and Internet people and improving them and putting them in a better position after four years than a lot of guys rated ahead of them." Copyright © 2002, The Baltimore Sun
Bowers 16-Points & Brackney’s bench spark lead Cavs 12/27/2002 Senior Will Bowers scored 10 of his game-high 16-points in the final quarter, as #4 Archbishop Spalding limited Georgetown Prep, ranked #20 in Washington, to only one field goal in the final seven minutes and rallied to a 45-40 victory, in the first round of the Slam Dunk at the Beach tournament in Lewes, Delaware. The Cavaliers will now move on to face Cardinal Dougherty of the Philadelphia Catholic League on Saturday at 8:00 pm, in the semifinals. Trailing 38-33 following a three-pointer by Georgetown Prep senior guard Pat Coyle, Spalding’s Tim Brackney made a layup and Bowers, a 7-foot center, followed with a three-pointer - just the third in his career - to tie the game at 38. He also hit a trey last week to send the Cavs to overtime, in a game they eventually won, against Eleanor Roosevelt. Spalding (7-1) took the lead for good when junior guard Rudy Gay converted two free throws with 3:42 left, and extended its lead to 42-38 when Bowers added two more free throws with 52-seconds remaining. Brackney, a senior guard, scored eight points off the bench to spark the Cavs and Gay scored six.