Boys basketball: Spalding rolls, Annapolis bows

Posted by Michael Glick on Dec 08 2002 at 04:00PM PST
Published December 8th By KEVIN BRADFORD, Staff Writer Anne Arundel Capital/Gazette COLLEGE PARK -- Archbishop Spalding earned a monumental victory over a storied national program. Annapolis was flat-out embarrassed in a lopsided loss to one of Maryland's most successful public schools. That was the difference between the two Anne Arundel County schools in yesterday's seventh annual Morgan Wootten Invitational at the University of Maryland's Comcast Center. Rudy Gay and Will Bowers led the way as Spalding, ranked No. 2 in the state, defeated Archbishop Molloy 56-52 in a showdown between Baltimore Catholic League and New York Catholic League powerhouses. "I think it's a significant win for our program, our league and Anne Arundel County. Our league is viewed as not as competitive as the New York Catholic League, but this shows our league can play at the national level," Spalding coach Mike Glick. Richard Thomas had 29 points, six rebounds and five steals as seven-time state champion Thomas Johnson handled Annapolis 76-52 in the first prep game ever at Comcast in the opening game of the event. Thomas Johnson, which has won the fourth-most state titles in Maryland history and is ranked No. 6 in the state, ended Annapolis' 42-game regular-season winning streak. It was the Panthers' first regular-season loss since falling to Dulaney 64-61 exactly two years to the day on Dec. 7, 2000. Archbishop Molloy, the alma mater of former ACC and NBA star guards Kenny Anderson and Kenny Smith, has won 817 games and five New York Catholic championships under legendary 45-year coach Jack Curran. Yet the Briarwood, N.Y., school, which finished last season ranked No. 5 in the East Region by USA Today, couldn't handle Gay and Bowers in the post. "Spalding is very good. They have the constant factors with both big guys in the middle. Both are good and Gay played excellent. He was hard to keep away from the basket," Curran said. Gay, a 6-foot-7 swingman rated as one of the nation's top juniors, had 18 points, nine rebounds, two blocked shots and made 8-of-9 field goals in his Spalding debut after transferring from Eastern Tech in Baltimore. "I was so proud of Rudy's performance. He played so composed despite having four fouls the whole fourth quarter. Great players make great plays in big games, and that's what he did. He gives us a versatile player who can play inside or out," Glick said. Bowers, a 7-foot, 250-pound senior center who signed with defending NCAA champion Maryland, totaled 12 points, five boards and one block in his first game on his future homecourt. Gay and Bowers combined for four of the high-flying Cavaliers' five dunks. Bowers couldn't have asked for a better start as he threw down a two-handed monster dunk for his first basket at Comcast. He showed off his athletic ability later in the game when he took a fastbreak pass from point guard Jesse Brooks on the wing and soared in for another slam. While Bowers lifted Spalding in the first half with eight points, Gay took over after halftime with 13 points, including nine in the decisive fourth quarter. "Rudy really carried us in the second half. It's a really good win for us. We could've folded at some parts of the game, but we didn't," Bowers said. Gay put an exclamation point on the win when he jammed home an alley-oop pass from Brooks with 32 seconds left. "Coming from Eastern Tech, we didn't play teams like this. It's great to beat a team with such a great past," Gay said. Brooks, a junior point guard, had an impressive all-around floor game directing the offense with 10 points, eight assists and three rebounds. Senior guard Dave Douglas also stepped up with eight points on 4-for-6 shooting. Douglas also anchored a packed-in defense that held Molloy 5-11 senior guard Marlon Smith, a major Division I recruit, to just 12 points on 3-of-9 shooting. In the first game, Thomas Johnson executed its flex offense to near-perfection in shooting 60 percent from the field (26-for-43) and 56 percent from 3-point range (9-16). The Patriots limited the Panthers to 39 percent shooting (17-for-44). Annapolis senior forward Josh Johnson had a double-double with 16 points and 14 rebounds. The Panthers lost their fifth straight game on the University of Maryland campus, where they've made a state-record 25 state tournament appearances. They fell to 7-24 all-time in College Park, where they haven't won since capturing their second state title in 1990. "This game was a lesson. Hopefully we can get back here (for the state tournament). I think we can do it. We just need to look at the tape and see what we did wrong and try to have another great season," Johnson said. Annapolis senior guard Laronja Owens, the returning county Player of the Year who averaged 23.4 points last year, was held to 12 points. "They are a well-coached team," Owens said of Thomas Johnson. "We got some experience against another competition level and we'll know how to handle it when we play another tough team later." Spalding (1-0)13111517--56 Molloy (2-1)1513915--52 Spalding (56)Douglas 4-6 0-2 8, Durr 1-6 0-0 2, Latonick 1-5 0-0 3, Gay 8-9 2-4 18, Brackney 1-4 0-0 3, Bowers 4-8 4-8 12, Brooks 3-6 4-6 10. Totals: 22-44 10-18 56. 3-Pointers: 2-9 (Latonick 1-5, Brackney 1-3, Brooks 0-1).Molloy (52)Miller 1-10 0-0 3, Mackey 0-1 0-0 0, Smith 3-9 4-4 12, Gaines 7-10 5-8 23, Marnika 1-8 1-2 3, Abit 4-4 3-4 11. Totals: 19-42 13-18 52. 3-Pointers: 7-27 (Miller 1-9, Mackey 0-1, Smith 2-7, Gaines 4-6, Marnika 0-4). Published December 08, 2002, The Capital, Annapolis, Md. Copyright © 2002 The Capital, Annapolis, Md.


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