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Strong 2nd half by No. 3 tops No. 4 Panthers, 62-59 By Pete Bielski Special To The Sun Originally published February 22, 2004 The Archbishop Spalding boys basketball team overcame a slow and ugly start to defeat red-hot St. Frances, 62-59, in a Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference semifinal yesterday at Spalding. The win puts No. 3 Spalding (24-6) into tomorrow's title game against No. 2 Cardinal Gibbons, which beat top-ranked Mount St. Joseph, 60-51, in yesterday's other semifinal. But it didn't come without an early scare for the host Cavaliers, who nearly came unraveled after falling behind by 13 points in the first half. "I wouldn't call it panic, but we were definitely frustrated," said Spalding forward Rudy Gay, who finished with 21 points and 14 rebounds. "We had to settle down, take our shots and make good decisions. I don't think we were in control of our emotions ... and we weren't playing like a team." It was teamwork, along with 9-for-12 shooting from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter, that secured the victory. Spalding trimmed a nine-point halftime deficit to one point to start the final quarter, then used a 12-5 surge to take command at 51-45. No. 4 St. Frances (23-6), which entered the game on an eight-game winning streak, never regained the lead, despite twice trimming the margin to one point. Gordon Brown hit a 25-foot three-pointer with 24 seconds remaining to make it 58-57, but Gay responded with a three-point play to get the lead back to four with 17 seconds left. The Panthers had a chance to force overtime at the buzzer, but Darron Edwards' desperation three-point try was off the mark. St. Frances seemed to have forgotten about a pair of earlier losses to the Cavaliers. They moved to a 16-13 lead after eight minutes, then quickly expanded it to 30-17 behind senior center Gordon Chase (nine points). But late in the half, Spalding switched to a trapping defense and scored four straight points to trim the lead to nine and take momentum into halftime. Copyright © 2004, The Baltimore Sun | Get home delivery
Originally published Feb 22, 2004 by Mike Preston The Baltimore Sun RUDY GAY WANTS to get a learner's permit. He wants to plan for the prom, talk on the cell phone, hang out at the mall and get in more time on the PlayStation. Rudy Gay is about to become a regular 17-year-old high school student at Archbishop Spalding again. It hasn't been that way since last summer when Gay left the prestigious Nike camp in Indianapolis as one of the top-rated high school basketball players in the country. Kentucky coach Tubby Smith has stopped by, and so has Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim. Gay made a visit to Maryland and flew up to Connecticut. And oh, the phone calls. Just about every Division I coach in America tried to reach out and touch Gay. When a 6-foot-8 kid averages 25 points and 10 rebounds, people talk and they listen. But in another week, Gay's career at Spalding will have ended, and he can start preparing for his freshman season at Connecticut. Until then, he has some unfinished personal business. "I wasn't concerned about missing out on usual things students do, because you have to sacrifice for the things you want," said Gay, an Essex resident. "Between trying to find the right college and preparing for the season, there hasn't been much time for anything." "But I'm glad things are starting to wind down," Gay said. "Maybe now I can get that learner's permit. That bugs me, because my mom is always late picking me up." Gay laughs. He has a warm sense of humor, which only few know about. They only know Rudy Gay, national basketball phenom. They don't know about Rudy Gay, the Christian. Or that Gay likes going to the movies, listening to R&B and rap music (favorite singers are Jay-Z and Musiq), or may want to become a sportscaster. Gay comes from a good family. His 's mother, Rae Lynn, is director of a Head Start program in Baltimore City. His father, Rudy Sr., is involved in the landscaping business. Gay had the opportunity to schmooze with Michael Jordan for a couple of days at Jordan's camp last summer where he was a counselor, but the person he admires most is his late grandfather, Richard Austin, who taught him about keeping a family together. Gay is polite, shy and humble, so much in fact, that he sometimes leaves church early because he doesn't really want to talk about himself or basketball. He doesn't know what all this fuss is really about. "I've always considered myself an average player, and still do most of the time," Gay said. Until last summer, Gay was only rated slightly above average. Between his sophomore and junior seasons, he was the last of 400 players extended an invitation to the Nike camp. He never completed it because of a chipped tooth. But Gay wasn't happy with his performance before the injury. "I was there, just trying to survive," Gay said. "I don't know if the talent was that good, but I just wasn't strong enough. I got pushed around and stuff." Gay got the message. In the summer between his junior and senior seasons, he spent more time in the weight room, increasing his weight from 190 to 215. He worked on different parts of his game, especially inside. He also grew from 6-6 to 6-8, and his shoe size went from a size 12 shoe to a 14 1/2. "I think Rudy was underrated the first year he came out of the Nike camp," said Anthony Lewis, his Amateur Athletic Union coach at Cecil-Kirk in Baltimore. "If he hadn't gotten injured, there would have been that gradual progress instead of that jump-out kind of thing last year. "Basically, it was maturity," Lewis said. "He refined his game. He worked on ball-handling, on an exploding first step and gaining a quicker release. He wanted to get better." Gay is almost the total package. You hate to say it because it because it puts the kid under more pressure and scrutiny, but he has NBA potential. He's got the long arms and long legs, and the magical vertical leap. During a recent game against No.1 Mount St. Joseph, Gay had seven dunks. There was the windmill, the reverse under the basket, the breakaway and, for an encoreemphasis, the one-handed put-back. Despite his height, Gay has the crossover, break-your-ankle kind of dribble that allows him to blow by defenders at the top of the key. He plays well with his back to the basket, and has a nice shooting motion. A weakness? Gay has to improve on his shooting stroke from outside. But hey, that will come in time, too. "Every time out on the court this season, I had to be ready because everybody wants to beat you," Gay said. "I hear trash-talking all the time, that I'm overrated, I can't do this, I can't do that. I've heard it all. But I think if they are that worried enough about me, and want to talk trash to me, then I'm on their minds." But that's all just about over now. Gay is about to take another step. His career started at age 5 on the playgrounds of Edgemere and the hard courts of the Neubian Church League church league games in Turners Station. It has taken him to Dundalk Middle, where he dunked for the first time in the seventh grade, to two AAU teams, two high schools and through some of the best college coaches in the game. But Gay hasn't changed. "The most important thing I've tried to teach him is to put God first in your life, and make sure this is what he wants you to do," said Rae Lynn, who played high school basketball, as did Rudy Sr. "God won't ever leave you, he won't ever forsake you. "I was looking forward to his senior year, and I wanted him to enjoy it," she said. "I didn't want him to feel the pressure of the recruiting process, didn't want it to be so stressful. I think we managed it well. We set our standards, and made a decision from within our family structure as a family And now Rudy can get back to a somewhat normal life, and work on getting that learner's permit." Copyright © 2004, The Baltimore Sun | Get home delivery
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Spalding Gets By St. Frances, 62-59

Posted by Michael Glick at Feb 21, 2004 4:00PM PST ( 0 Comments )
By Mark Thomas February 22, 2004 Magazine Staff With his team trailing St. Frances by 9 at 26-17 with 2:57 left in the first half and with the team still feeling the sluggish, after-effects of a heart-breaking, overtime 76-75 loss to Mt. St. Joseph, Spalding head coach Mike Glick leaned in a little closer to his team’s huddle. With confidence in his voice, he told his players that “Our shots aren’t falling, but you’ll win it with defense”. It was a prediction that made you think Glick knew something that the rest of us watching didn’t, because up until that point, Spalding’s defense wasn’t much better than its offense. In the end, Glick’s words proved to be prophetic, as Spalding rallied from a 9 point halftime deficit to defeat St. Frances 62-59 in the MIAA playoffs. Rudy Gay led the way with 21 points and a typical Rudy-esque stat sheet stuffer performance. St. Frances did its best to push Gay out of the low post and make the McDonald’s All-American catch the ball farther away from the basket. They did and he still scored. And when he wasn’t scoring, he was being unselfish in transition, working a textbook 2 on 1 when the game was on the line. In fact, Spalding finally caught and overtook St. Frances after Gay stole the ball and paired with wingman Jesse Brooks in transition against a lone St. Frances defender. Gay drew the defense, hit Brooks (12 points) in stride with a pass and Brooks not only made the basket, but was fouled. The converted free throw put Spalding up 39-38 with :23 left in the 3rd period. In multiple key sequences, Gay was able to grab offensive rebounds and put-back his teammates misses. A Gay offensive board and dunk put Spalding on top 41-40 to start the 4th period. A Gay follow put Spalding up 53-50 with 3:15 left in regulation. And with Spalding struggling to hold on to the ball and a 58-57 lead with just :17 left in the 4th, Gay went to the basket where he got a bucket and a foul. The four point, 61-57 lead held up, but not without St. Frances getting a tough look at a possible tying three-pointer at the buzzer. Spalding trailed by as much as 13 at 30-17 in the first half. A quick look at Spalding’s results for the season indicated that the St. Frances offensive output spelled T-R-O-U-B-L-E for Spalding, because in games that Spalding’s opponents have scored 60 or more points, the Cavaliers (24-6) are only 5-6. St. Frances went right at Spalding’s opening 2-1-2 defense and sliced it like a steak knife. Multiple times the Panthers were able to pass or attack out of the high post and get high percentage shots. Moreover, not only was Spalding dealing with post- Mt. St. Joseph malaise, but they’d already beaten St. Frances twice during the regular season. St. Frances 6-6 sophomore Rashawn Alexander had his way, with 8 points by halftime. He nailed baseline jumpers, threw down a dunk when the defense didn’t get back in time and he was effective from the high post. About the only thing he didn’t do well was convert free throws. Meantime, St. Frances 6-4 F Gordon Chase was blatantly telling a Spalding player that he wasn’t going to bother guarding him. The irony is that this same guy who indicated that defense wasn't necessary would foul out of the game in the fourth quarter. Looking for a way to energize his lethargic troops in the 2nd quarter, Glick called time out and told them that they were switching to man to man defense. The move may have been strategic, but perhaps equally as much motivational. You can’t be as stagnant when you have to chase your opponent around. Slowly, Spalding started to respond, but a comeback wouldn’t be easy, because St. Frances could smell blood. Early in the 2nd half, with Spalding creeping closer, St. Frances guard Darron Edwards threw a lob pass towards the basket, releasing the ball from just inside half court. On the other end, 6-3 teammate Gordon Brown came from the opposite side of the court to meet the pass in mid-air. The pass was a tad high and actually touched the backboard as an in-flight Brown caught it with two hands, took it off the backboard and slammed it home. The St. Frances contingent rose to their feet and Brown let out a yell to celebrate the highlight reel maneuver. The dunk put St. Frances up 32-26, but moments later Rudy Gay answered for Spalding. A baseline jumper brought Spalding to within 32-28. After a defensive stop, Gay put-back a miss to bring Spalding within two at 32-30. The stakes were raised and neither team backed off an inch the rest of the way. Down the stretch, Spalding got key contributions from an attacking Jesse Brooks and Johann Jones who came in off the bench. With things tight, Glick mentioned to Jones that he was going to have to do his part and the 6-4 sophomore responded. With Spalding defending a three point lead, he drew a charge. The ensuing trip down court to the offensive end, Jones hit a high percentage shot to push the lead to five at 55-50 with 2:40 to go. Spalding also got 10 points from Justin Castleberry. Coach William Wells’ St. Frances squad was led by Rashawn Alexander’s 18, Gordon Brown’s 18, Gordon Chase’s 9, while star guard Darnell Harris was held to just 5 points. And as a statistical note, Spalding held St. Frances (23-6) under the magical number of 60 points. That improves Spalding’s record to 19-0 when holding the opposition under 60 points. Spalding advances to meet Cardinal Gibbons at 8PM on Monday. The game will be played at Gilman.
Feb 19th 2004 by Gary Adornato Rudy Gay, Archbishop Spalding's 6'-9" senior forward, who signed with the University of Connecticut earlier this year, will be named a McDonald's High School All-American later today, has learned. Gay, who transfered to Spalding from Eastern Tech in Baltimore County, prior to his junior year, burst onto the national scene last summer with a sensational performance at the prestigious Nike camp in Indianapolis. From there his stock as a national recruit began to rise and by the time classes resumed in September many recruiting services had him ranked as a top 10 player. Long rumored to be headed to the University of Maryland, where former Spalding teammate Will Bowers signed last year, Gay eventually opted for Connecticut because of its pro-style system and the opportunity to start as a freshman. This season Gay has averaged 25-points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game, leading Spalding to the second seed for the upcoming MIAA A Conference playoffs. The Cavaliers (23-6), currently ranked third in Baltimore, will open the post season on Saturday, at home, with a 2:00 pm semifinal game against the winner of tonight's quarterfinal game between #4 St. Frances and #20 Towson Catholic, at St. Frances (7:15 pm). The official announcement of the 24 boys named to play in the 27th McDonald's All-American Game will be made today at 4:30 pm, during a nationally televised broadcast to be carried live on both ESPN and ESPNews. The McDonald's Game, which will be played this year at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City, is considered the premier high school all-star showcase and landing a McDonald's All-American has long been considered the top prize for any college program. Over the years the game has featured many of the game's biggest stars, including Michael Jordan, Chris Webber, Shaquille O'Neal, Vince Carter and, last year, LeBron James, among others. Gay, who will play on the East squad, is not the only member of the MIAA to participate in the game. Earlier this month, McDonald's announced that Cardinal Gibbons head coach Bob Flynn would lead the East team. The McDonald's All-American Game will take place on March 31 and it will be broadcast live on ESPN, beginning at 9:00 pm (EST).
CAVS NOW TIED FOR FIRST WHILE VIKINGS REACH BRINK OF PLAYOFF ELIMINATION Battling for its playoff life and seeking its biggest win since joining the MIAA this year, St. John's at Prospect Hall gave third-ranked Archbishop Spalding all it wanted and then some, last night in Frederick. In the end, however, an exhausted Cavalier squad, playing its third game in as many days and its second straight without star Rudy Gay, summoned just enough reserve energy to survive with a 61-57 MIAA A Conference basketball victory, which allowed it to move into a first place tie with Mount St. Joseph. Led by junior Corey Dorsey, who scored a team-high 14-points, St. John's held a three-point lead at the half and entered the fourth quarter with a two-point advantage, at 47-45. Spalding (21-4, 11-2), however, rallied behind the play of Justin Castleberry, who led the Cavs with 14- points, as well as Lawrence Dixon and Marquis Sullivan, who combined for 20-points. Gay, who injured his right ankle in the first half of Saturday's victory at McDonogh, may test it on Wednesday when Spalding hosts Loyola. If not, he hopes to be ready to go on Thursday when the Cavaliers visit #4 St. Joe in a battle for first place in the A Conference. Following that game, Spalding will travel to New Jersey to play Philadelphia's Cardinal Dougherty at Seton Hall University on Saturday, before closing its regular season schedule on Sunday with a visit to Loyola. St. John's (9-15, 4-10), which fell a full game behind Towson Catholic in the race for sixth place and the final playoff spot in the A Conference, also received 10-points from Jered Lyons. The Vikings now must win their final two games, at Towson Catholic (5-9) on Thursday and at second-ranked Cardinal Gibbons on Sunday to remain alive in the playoff hunt. Even with both of those wins, St. John's would need Towson Catholic to also lose its season finale against St. Joe, on Sunday, because the Owls hold the tiebreak advantage.