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Long 3-point try rims out at buzzer; Cavs' Bowers finishes with 23 points By Pat O'Malley Sun Staff Originally published March 15, 2003 FROSTBURG -- When the 43rd Alhambra Catholic Invitational began at Frostburg State University on Thursday, it was conceivable that No. 3 Mount St. Joseph and No. 7 Archbishop Spalding could meet in the final. Not going to happen -- neither team will be there. The chance of the top two teams in the Baltimore Catholic League meeting in the final ended when BCL champion St. Joe dropped its first game Thursday while runner-up Spalding was victorious. The hopes of one Baltimore team in the final disappeared last night as Jesse Brooks' desperation three-point shot from just over midcourt hit the side of the rim and out to give Philadelphia's St. Joseph's Prep a thrilling 54-52 victory. "It didn't miss by much, but praise the Lord it didn't go in," said St. Joseph's veteran coach Speedy Morris. The Cavaliers (26-7) lost at the buzzer much the same way they did to Mount St. Joseph in the BCL tournament final, 49-48. They had the ball and the chance to win, and once again, 7-footer Will Bowers had a big game with 23 points, scoring eight in the final quarter as Spalding rallied. "It just didn't happen, but I'm so proud of our players," said Spalding coach Mike Glick, whose Cavs were emotional in their locker room afterward and unable to talk to the media. "They played a great game and battled back the whole time [continually behind by six or seven points], and it typifies our season, just one possession away." Coach William Wells' 1996 St. Frances Panthers with Mark Karcher are the last BCL team to win the tournament. St. Joseph's has never won the Alhambra and was third last year under Morris, who won the prestigious tournament in 1975 and 1976 with Philadelphia's Roman Catholic. The Hawks (27-1) will play at 8:15 tonight for the crown against Bishop O'Connell, while Spalding plays in the championship third-place game at 6:30 p.m. against Judge Memorial of Salt Lake City. Morris, who also coached at La Salle University before returning to the high school ranks with St. Joseph's Prep, knows his Hawks did not do the things they usually do to win. "I'm happy with our defense to hold a team like that to 52 points, but we just got a little shaky at the end," said Morris, whose team's only loss was to Roman Catholic, 65-59, but the Hawks went on to win the Philadelphia Catholic League. "With an eight-point lead [50-42 with 2:28 left], we missed two layups, turned it over twice and missed four foul shots. We gave them a chance to win the game." St. Joseph's made three of its last seven shots at the foul line to finish 12-for-17. Spalding only went to the line three times the entire game and made all three. Dave Douglas sank a pair for the Cavs with 30 seconds remaining to put his team within 52-50. T.J. Valerio sank the second of two for the Hawks to make it 53-50, but a drive and layup by Brooks cut it to 53-52 with 20 seconds on the clock. Douglas stole the inbounds pass, but the Cavs missed a shot and turned it over. John Griffin, who combined with Mark Zoller for 31 points, was fouled and sank the first of two with 2.5 seconds left for a 54-52 lead. Spalding immediately got the ball to Brooks for the last shot. St. Joseph's (Pa.) 54, Spalding 52 (semifinals) S--Bowers 23, Brackney 3, Brooks 5, Douglas 2, Dixon 2, Durr 8, Gay 6, Latonick 3. Totals 22 3-3 52. SJ--Zoller 15, Griffin 16, Clark 8, Valerio 9, Eisenmann 6. Totals 17 12-17 54. Half: SJ, 24-22. Copyright © 2003, The Baltimore Sun
By Jeff Seidel Special To The Sun Originally published March 14, 2003 FROSTBURG - Will Bowers made outside shots and ruled the lane, Rudy Gay pitched in with some bone-rattling dunks and Jesse Brooks did almost anything he wanted. Simply put, No. 8 Spalding overwhelmed DeMatha. Bowers scored a game-high 21 points and Brooks added 10 points and eight assists as Spalding recovered from a slow start for a 68-39 victory over DeMatha in the first round of the 43rd Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament last night at Frostburg State. The Cavaliers advanced to tonight's semifinal against St. Joseph Prep (Pa.), a 93-47 winner over Bishop Walsh. St. Joseph Prep, which improved to 26-1, is considered by many to be the tournament's best. But Spalding (26-6) gave a performance yesterday that will be hard to top. The Cavaliers shot 54 percent from the field (20-for-37) - including going 7-for-11 on three-pointers - and controlled the game for the last three quarters in recording their first victory ever over the Stags. The Stags had 18 points in the first 10 minutes, but Spalding switched from a man-to-man to a 1-2-2 with a tall player up top that stopped DeMatha from sending the ball inside. After that, the Stags stuck mostly to outside shots and didn't hit many. They finished only 11 of 37 from the field and hit only 11 of 21 free throws. They also missed nine of 11 free throws. "That was our best overall team performance of the year," Bowers said. "It was just great." He led an offense that DeMatha couldn't stop. The 7-foot center, who's headed for Maryland next season, hit a three-pointer from the deep corner early and several high-percentage shots down low, shaking off DeMatha double-teams throughout. "He was just great," Spalding coach Mike Glick said. "He did everything tonight." Point guard Brooks helped the Cavaliers find shots inside and outside, and they pretty much dictated play after a slow start left them trailing, 18-17, early in the second period. Tim Brackney (12 points) made four three-pointers to open up DeMatha's defense. Gay fnished with eight points, including some dunks that brought the crowd to its feet. Spalding broke the game open with a 26-4 run that gave it a 43-22 lead midway through the third quarter. Mamadi Diane led the Stags with 18 points. S-Bowers 13, Brackney 12, Brooks 10, Douglas 2, Durr 5, Galinat 5, Gay 8, Latonick 3, Sullivan 2. Totals 20 7-10 68. D-Henry 2, Green 10, Dickerson 1, Diane 18, Danley 6, Adedeji 2. Totals 11 11-21 39. Half: S, 32-20. Copyright © 2003, The Baltimore Sun
Spalding misses 5 shots in final eight seconds for Gaels to seal 49-48 thriller By Pat O'Malley Sun Staff Originally published March 5, 2003 Mount St. Joseph coach Pat Clatchey said the "NCAA couldn't have had a better finish than that," seconds after his Gaels survived a 49-48 decision over Archbishop Spalding to win their first Baltimore Catholic League tournament title in the 32-year history of the event Spalding got off five shots under the basket in the last eight seconds, but came up empty as the No. 3-ranked Gaels (28-3) also claimed the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference title with more than 2,700 looking on last night at Goucher College. "It seemed like the longest two seconds of my life," said St. Joe 6-foot-6 senior Anthony Fair, who had eight points and six rebounds. "I was just going for the ball and the buzzer finally sounded and the crowd erupted. I heard the crowd yell and I knew it was over and I couldn't believe it. I love Clatchey - we all do - and this is for him." Clatchey is in his 11th season at the Irvington school and had tears rolling down his cheeks after a wild celebration at midcourt. Both teams received bids to the prestigious Alhambra Catholic Invitational at Frostburg State in Cumberland on March 13-15. Alhambra had given St. Joe a berth in the tournament last week and Spalding received a bid yesterday when Gonzaga of D.C. turned its down. On a night when Gaels big man Will Thomas was limited to one field goal and five points by Spalding's Rudy Gay, senior guard Keon Lattimore stepped up with four three-pointers, two in each half, and had 20 points. It was Mount St. Joe's third win over the No. 8 Cavaliers (25-6). "Before the game, our coach said everybody says it's tough to beat somebody three times, but he told us you only have to beat them once," said Lattimore. "I had a real good game, but I couldn't have done it without my teammates. We've been playing together since we were freshmen and we have a lot of clutch players. We definitely got the monkey off our backs. We're No. 1 right now, champions baby." Thomas, who was the surprising John Plevyak Tournament Most Valuable Player over Lattimore, did toss in what proved to be the game-winning point from the line with 1:07 remaining. Seven-footer Will Bowers, who had a career-high 26 points to go with seven rebounds for Spalding, put the Cavaliers within 49-48 with 40 seconds remaining. The Gaels' Kyle O'Connor (six points) and Spalding's Jesse Brooks missed free throws in the last 29 seconds. After Brooks (six points) failed on his attempt to tie the game in a one-and-one situation with 14 seconds left, the scramble for the rebound went out off of Mount St. Joseph with 12 seconds left. During a timeout, Spalding set up a play for Bowers, who had 60 points in three games. He got the ball for a short jumper, but the 8-footer hit the rim. A frenzied attempt to tip the ball in failed as nearly everybody on both teams seemed to be up in the air and vying for the basketball. "These guys just don't quit, and kept on doing what we've been doing all year," Clatchey said. The game was tied 25-25 at the half and it was back and forth in the second half with Spalding leading 42-39 after three periods. Lattimore's final three-pointer with 5:43 left tied it at 42, and after a basket by Gay (eight points, 14 rebounds) gave the Cavaliers a 44-42 lead, sophomore Brian Johnson hit a three-pointer to put the Gaels back up, 45-44, with 3:00 left. Bowers made it 46-45 Spalding, but O'Connor followed with a three-pointer to give the Gaels the lead for good with 1:59 left. "Our kids played great but give St. Joe's all the credit," said Spalding coach Mike Glick. The winners shot 37 percent and the losers 38 percent. Lattimore, Thomas, Bowers, Gay and Darnell Harris of St. Frances and Mike Popoko of McDonogh were named to the All-Tournament team. Copyright © 2003, The Baltimore Sun
By Heather A. Dinich Washington Post Staff Writers Wednesday, March 5, 2003; Page D04 A career-high 26 points from senior center Will Bowers wasn't enough for Spalding to defend its Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association 'A' Conference boys' basketball championship last night, as the Cavaliers fell, 49-48, to Mount St. Joseph's at Goucher College in Baltimore. Spalding (24-6) was down one point and had possession with 12 seconds left but missed five straight chances. The Gaels (28-3) defeated them for the third time this season. "It's the most horrible feeling in the world right now," said Bowers, who has committed to the University of Maryland. "It's the game you love and when you can't come out on top. . . . We played as hard as we could and we tried our best in every area. It was a hard-fought game and I can't really explain what happened. Individual stats don't mean anything when you lose a championship game." Spalding Coach Mike Glick had learned from his previous losses to Mount St. Joseph's that playing a man-to-man defense against the Gaels didn't work, so he switched to a 2-3 zone last night. Still, Mount St. Joseph's shot well from the perimeter, including three three-pointers in the final five minutes of the game that gave the Gaels a 48-46 lead with 1:58 remaining. Mount St. Joseph's senior forward Keon Lattimore had a team-high 20 points, including four of the team's seven three-pointers. Spalding junior forward Rudy Gay, a transfer from Eastern Tech in Baltimore and the team's leading scorer, was held to eight points, but he had three blocked shots and nine rebounds. Bowers finished with six rebounds and made the team's final basket with 40 seconds remaining to pull Spalding within one. "I was proud of the way we executed our game plan," Glick said. "We played as hard as we could. Will is going to Maryland for a reason. He's a great player." © 2003 The Washington Post Company
Gaels win first tournament title in the 32-year history of the Baltimore Catholic League by Gary Adornato 03/04/2003 It was a twelve-second span every bit as agonizing, to the Mount St. Joseph faithful, as the school’s 32-year wait for a Baltimore Catholic League basketball championship. When if finally concluded, the Gaels had survived a wild five-shot flurry from Archbishop Spalding and captured their long coveted first BCL title with a 49-48 win over the defending champion Cavaliers. The victory also earned the MIAA A Conference crown for St. Joe. (Photos from this contest were shot by Gary Knoll of PhotosOfMe.com. To see a complete series of photos from this game, all available for purchase, log onto www.photosofme.com) “The NCAA talks about March Madness, but I doubt if they have anything that can match this finish,” said St. Joe head coach Pat Clatchey, in describing the game’s closing sequence. The play began following a held ball situation under the Spalding basket and the possession arrow favoring the Cavaliers. Off the in-bounds pass, Spalding junior Rudy Gay missed a short jumper and in the ensuing scramble it seemed as if all 10 players on the floor got a hand on the ball at one time or another. The ball was tipped towards the rim repeatedly, but it never found its way into the basket. “This is incredible. It’s great for Coach Clatchey, the school, our alumni and my teammates,” said St. Joe senior Keon Lattimore, who seemingly willed his team to victory with an electrifying 20-point, seven-rebound performance, including four three-point field goals. “This is a big monkey off of our backs.” Lattimore, not necessarily known as an outside threat, hit one trey in each quarter. On the first, the Gaels’ captured their first lead, 12-11, with 1:11 remaining in the opening period, and each of the other three forged ties in the contest. “Keon is a winner, it’s as simple as that,” said Clatchey. “He will make mistakes sometimes, but more often than not, he’s going to help you win.” Lattimore also got some help from beyond the arc, as the Gaels nailed a total of seven three-pointers, including three in the fourth quarter. After a Lattimore trey tied the game, 42-42, with 5:41 remaining, Brian Johnson connected from long-range to push the third-ranked Gaels in front for the first time in the second half, 45-44, with just three minutes left. Spalding countered with a basket from center Will Bowers, who led all scorers with 26-points, before St. Joe’s Kyle O’Connor hit a three-pointer to put the Gaels in front, 48-46. St. Joe’s Will Thomas, who was later named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, sank a free-throw with 1:07 left to stretch the lead to three, but Bowers answered again, sinking a ten-foot turnaround fader from the paint, to trim the lead back to one, 49-48. With 28-seconds left, O’Connor failed to convert the front end of a one-and-one situation, but Spalding’s Dave Douglas returned the favor, with just 14-seconds left, setting the stage for the game’s stirring finish. The result spoiled Spalding’s bid to win the tournament for a second consecutive season and the fourth time in the last five years, but head coach Mike Glick indicated that it was simply “St. Joe’s year.” “We had our chances, but all of the credit has to go to St. Joe,” said Glick. “They have certainly had a number of great teams who could have won championships, had a shot fallen, here or there. Tonight they got the shots to fall and they deserve to be champions. I am also proud of my players. We executed our game plan perfectly and we are proud to have been part of one of the better finals in the history of the BCL.” Bowers’ 26-points set a new career high, as the seven-foot senior, headed for the University of Maryland to play for the defending national champions, played perhaps the finest game of his high school career. He was extremely aggressive on the offensive end of the floor, displaying a rapidly improving post game and an impressive shooting touch. Ironically, Lattimore is also headed to Maryland on an athletic scholarship, but he will ply his talents on the gridiron. Last night, both players were selected to the All-Tournament Team. Joining them on the squad was Gay, who had eight-points last night and played lock down defense on Thomas, the BCL’s Player of the Year. Thomas, who was brilliant in the Gaels’ two other tournament victories, was limited to single field goal and just five points in the title game. Rounding out the team were Mike Popoko of McDonogh and Darnell Harris of St. Frances. In addition, St. Joe’s Anthony Fair, who scored eight-points last night, was given the tournament’s Sportsmanship Award. All was not lost for the eighth-ranked Cavaliers (25-6), as they accepted an invitation, earlier in the day, to the prestigious Alhambra Catholic Invitational, which will take place at Frostburg State University, later this month. As the BCL champion, St. Joe (28-3) received an automatic bid to the event.