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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 To see a complete series of photos from this game, all available for purchase, log onto “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.