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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.
Defense, size edge help Cavs hold off McDonogh, answer coach's challenge By Jeff Zrebiec Sun Staff Originally published March 4, 2003 Archbishop Spalding will make its fourth Baltimore Catholic League tournament final appearance in the past five years tonight, and the Cavaliers can thank a stern Sunday lecture from coach Mike Glick. Disappointed in his team's performance in a six-point victory over Calvert Hall in Sunday's quarterfinals, Glick scolded his team in the locker room after the game. The Cavaliers responded last night. Relying on a tough zone defense and a huge advantage inside, the eighth-ranked Cavaliers downed No. 9 McDonogh, 53-47, at Goucher College in the first of two BCL semifinals. The Cavaliers' third victory over the Eagles this season vaulted them into tonight's 7:30 final against Mount St. Joseph, a 58-55 winner over St. Frances in the nightcap. Spalding (24-5) trailed for just the first 2 1/2 minutes before opening up a double-digit lead that it maintained late into the third quarter. McDonogh made a run, cutting its deficit to 49-44 with under two minutes to play, but the veteran Cavaliers refused to fold down the stretch. "I thought we played very tentatively on Sunday and I challenged the team," Glick said. "I thought we were in awe of the moment, but tonight, I thought we seized it. We played more unselfishly and more aggressively and that was the difference." Nobody seemed to get Glick's message any clearer than Cavaliers senior Will Bowers. The 7-foot center, headed for the University of Maryland, touched the ball early and often on both ends of the court. In what Glick called his best performance all season in a BCL game, Bowers had 21 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks. The Eagles, whose biggest player, Michael Popoko, is 6-6, were pesky all night but had no answer for Bowers and 6-7 junior Rudy Gay, who had 12 points, seven rebounds and five blocks. "I played with more of a what-do-I-have-to-lose attitude," Bowers said. "I just wanted to be more aggressive and take the ball to the hole and draw fouls." Said Gay: "We are just much bigger and rebound better and I think that's why we came out with three victories over them." Bowers had nine points and four rebounds in the fourth quarter. That and the Cavaliers' zone defense, which limited the Eagles to 2-for-9 shooting in the first quarter, were the prime reasons McDonogh trailed 31-17 at halftime. "We just weren't moving the ball enough early," said Eagles coach Matt MacMullan, whose team ended its season at 25-5. "But Spalding played great and they deserved to win." The Eagles, led by Popoko's 16 points and nine rebounds, certainly deserve credit for not going away. Trailing 37-21 early in the third quarter, the Eagles got back into the game on two baseline three-pointers from junior guard Corey Davis. The second one cut the Cavaliers' lead to 39-31. Popoko's put-back and Justin Drummond's pull-up jumper made it 48-43 with 2:30 to play. Two minutes later, Drummond, fouled while attempting a three-pointer, sank all three free throws to make it 51-47. But the Cavaliers broke the Eagles' press and Gay made a baseline layup with 20 seconds left to seal the deal. "We played in national tournaments to prepare for this tournament," Glick said. "And then we played scared on Sunday. But we didn't tonight, and I don't think we will tomorrow." Copyright © 2003, The Baltimore Sun
MIAA/BCL TOURNAMENT: SPALDING, ST. JOE, MCDONOGH & ST. FRANCES REACH SEMIFINALS Cavs to meet Eagles, Gaels to battle Panthers tonight by Tim Koelble 03/03/2003 Archbishop Spalding opened the four-game affair and defense of its title with a 52-46 victory over 7th-seeded Calvert Hall on Sunday at Goucher College in the quarterfinals of the 32nd annual Baltimore Catholic League Tournament. Top-seeded Mount St. Joseph advanced with a 54-44 win over 8th-seed Towson Catholic. In the third game of the day, 3rd-seeded McDonogh went overtime to defeat 6th-seeded St. Maria Goretti, 47-39. To top off the evening, 4th-seeded St. Frances downed 5th-seed Cardinal Gibbons, 72-60. In today’s semifinals, second-seeded Archbishop Spalding meets McDonogh at 5 p.m. and the nightcap will pit top-seeded Mount St. Joseph against St. Frances at 6:45 p.m. The winners return to Goucher College Tuesday night for the championship battle at 7:30. During the regular season Spalding defeated McDonogh twice while St. Frances and St. Joe split, including St. Frances’ 54-52 upset win over the Gaels on February 25. ARCHBISHOP SPALDING 52, CALVERT HALL 46 Archbishop Spalding (23-5) easily handled Calvert Hall twice during the regular season, but found the going tougher en route to its 52-46 quarterfinal victory. “This is tournament time and I hope we learned a lot today and come out Monday not so tentative,” said Spalding coach Mike Glick. “We were tentative, but we made pressure free throws.” Spalding hit 19-of-27 for the game, including 17-of-22 in the second half and five each from Jesse Brooks and Dave Douglas down the stretch. “I thought Brooks and Lawrence Dixon did very well off the bench for us,” Glick said. Dixon contributed four-points and got his first BCL tournament experience as a sophomore. Calvert Hall (14-16) was led by senior Jack McClinton, who finished his career with 20-points, including 14 in the second half. Junior Maurice Martin had a yeoman performance with 14-points and 14-rebounds, most coming in the second half as he constantly battled Spalding’s big front line of 7-footer Will Bowers and the 6’-7” Rudy Gay. Martin also went to the line seven times, the only trips the Cardinals made in the contest. “We were able to make adjustments that kept us in the game,” said Calvert coach Mark Amatucci. “We just have to play a completely correct game to beat a team like Spalding.” Archbishop Spalding 52 Bowers 6-1-13, Brooks 1-8-11, Gay 1-3-5, Douglas 3-6-12, Latonick 0-1-1, Dixon 2-0-4, Durr 3-0-6. Totals 16-19-52. Calvert Hall 46 McClinton 9-0-20, Phillips 2-0-4, Thompson 2-0-4, Morton 1-0-2, Martin 6-2-14, Driver 1-0-2. Spalding 13 12 6 21 – 52 Calvert Hall 9 3 14 20 – 46 Three-point goals—(AS) Brooks; (CH) McClinton 2.
Senior Bowers, Junior Gay Focus On MIAA Crown Members of the Mount St. Joseph's and Spalding boys' basketball teams play before a packed gym. The Cavaliers lost, 63-57, and are the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament. (Photos Don Wright For The Washington Post) By Heather A. Dinich Washington Post Staff Writer Thursday, February 20, 2003; Page AA15 In the first game of the season, Spalding 7-foot senior center Will Bowers slammed a two-handed dunk at the Morgan Wootten Invitational at the University of Maryland Comcast Center, his future home court. Junior forward Rudy Gay, a 6-7 forward, jammed an alley-oop pass with 32 seconds remaining to seal the 56-52 win in that game against nationally ranked Archbishop Molloy of New York. Together, Gay and Bowers had four dunks in the tournament. The tone for the season was set. Entering this week, Gay, a transfer from Eastern Tech in Baltimore, led the team with 14.1 points and seven rebounds per game. Bowers followed with 11.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. The pair of big men has led the Cavaliers to national prominence and a possible second-place finish in the combined Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association's A-Conference/Baltimore Catholic League. "Will and Rudy complement each other excellently," said Spalding Coach Mike Glick. "Both players have the ability to play inside, both have the ability to pass the basketball inside and shoot the ball from the outside. They're both very versatile players. "As a coach, it puts me in a very advantageous position to be able to pull one of them away from the basket while keeping the other one in. I think they have a great rapport with each other. There is competition amongst themselves in practice, but never in a game. I don't think either Rudy or Will cares who scores or rebounds as long as we win, which is rare to find these days." Gay and Bowers are Glick's most recent success stories -- 16 of his previous players have gone on to play Division I basketball. And this pair, along with a deep supporting lineup, has provided the Cavaliers their third 20-victory season in four years. Spalding had been unstoppable at home this season until Friday, when they lost to Mount St. Joseph, 63-57. The Cavaliers final regular season game against Loyola was postponed Sunday. The Cavaliers are the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament, which was scheduled to begin Friday at Goucher College but could be changed because of weather. Spalding (21-5, 12-3) entered the week having won 13 of its last 15 games. Bowers and Gay work together off the court, too. Bowers, who has committed to the University of Maryland, is helping Gay navigate the sometimes overwhelming recruiting process. "The same coaches are coming at me that were coming at him," Gay said. "He tells me about them and what he likes and what he doesn't. He doesn't want to see me going anywhere I probably wouldn't be pleased with later. Of course, he's trying to press me to go to Maryland." Gay and Bowers compete differently -- Gay likes to take more fadeaway jumpers and calls himself more of a "finesse" player. Bowers drives hard and draws the fouls. Both of them, Glick said, are very hard on themselves. "In film sessions, they are critical of their performances," Glick said. "They tend not to make excuses. They take responsibility. Will and Rudy are very coachable kids." With defenses keying in on Bowers, Gay has been free to score -- he contributed 33 points in last week's 74-65 win against St. Francis while Bowers was held to two points. Against Mount St. Joseph, Bowers led the team with 16 points, and Gay added 11. "I don't think it would be worth anything if we didn't play together," said Gay, who scored all of Spalding's points in a 9-2 run with less than four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. "We wouldn't be winning like we are. We have a great team. They take a lot of pressure off us. We just complement everything they do." The pair does get some help. Junior point guard Jesse Brooks leads the team with 5.5 assists per game, and senior Dave Douglas is the team's top defensive player. Douglas said he wouldn't have reached his potential this year without being pushed by his teammates. "It makes me better as a player," said Douglas, who scored a career-high 17 points last week against St. Francis. "I know if I go to the hole soft, it's getting sent to half court or I might get dunked on at practice. "I have to look out for certain things other people might not have to look out for. It helps everyone in the long run. People also double-team Will a lot; that's how I've been getting a lot of my points. "It's been a great experience," Douglas said. "I've known Jesse and Will since I was small, we grew up playing together. You add Rudy, and you have a special team." © 2003 The Washington Post Company
Cavaliers pull even with St. Joe, host Gaels this Friday 02/13/2003 Junior transfer Rudy Gay scored a season-high 33-points and Dave Douglas added 17-points to lead #6 Archbishop Spalding to a critical 74-65 MIAA A Conference victory over #10 St. Frances, last night at Spalding. It was the seventh straight win for the defending champions of the A Conference and the Baltimore Catholic League, and it pulled the Cavaliers (24-2, 12-2 BCL, and 10-2 in the A Conference) even with #3 Mount St. Joseph, atop the standings in both leagues. St. Joe, which has won 16 consecutive games, will travel to Spalding this Friday, at 7:00 pm, to meet the Cavaliers in a first-place showdown that, in all likelyhood, will determine the regular season champion and the top seed for next week's MIAA A/BCL Tournament, to be held at Goucher College.