Spalding Falls in And 1 Championship in 2 OT

Posted by Michael Glick on Jun 23 2003 at 05:00PM PDT
Oxon Hill Captures And 1 Tournament Title -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Mark Thomas Magazine Staff Down 5 points with :31.6 left in regulation, it looked like curtains for Oxon Hill in their And 1 Tournament Championship match with Spalding. The Clippers weren’t ready to exit stage left or right as losers and rallied to tie the game, eventually winning in double overtime, 56-51. Oxon Hill now advances to play next Saturday in Philadelphia, where they’ll meet up with that region’s champion. Spalding could all but taste the championship waters before they evaporated. Oxon Hill’s swarming defense forced Spalding into turnovers, which ultimately did them in. In the crucial, end of regulation sequence, Oxon Hill’s Frank Gerald hit 2-2 free throws to cut it to 51-48 Spalding with :31.6 left. With under :20 left to play, Spalding tried to break Oxon Hill’s full court press. With few options at his disposal, Rudy Gay turned up court with the ball, heading down the middle of the backcourt. From behind, Carlton Williams was able to get a hand on the ball and knock it out. The Clippers pounced on the ball and took over with :14.1 left and trailing 51-48. In the half court set, Oxon Hill worked it to Will Gill in the left corner and Gill gave the ever-growing crowd a thrill, bottoming out a three-pointer to tie it at 51 with :02.7 left. The truncated overtime periods went 2:00. That meant that for once, winning the jump ball actually mattered. Neither team was able to score in the first OT. The song remained the same in the second OT, until the :38.9 mark when Oxon Hill’s Rob Robinson came up with a tip follow. The Clippers took a 53-51 lead and sank 3 free throws down the stretch to provide the final margin. Overall, both teams played with tremendous intensity and effort. Rudy Gay was a stat sheet stuffer, with 14 points, 14 rebounds, 3 blocks and some highlight reel slams. Oxon Hill was able to hold the pre-season all-American to 6-18 shooting from the floor. Jesse Brooks and Justin Castleberry added 11 points a piece for Spalding. Both were very adept at penetrating and getting points in the lane. Brooks had 4 assists and 6 rebounds. Castleberry had 5 rebounds. One thing Spalding didn’t get much of was any kind of perimeter threat. They made 1 of 8 from three-point land. Oxon Hill got a team high 14 points from Gill. Jeremy Johnson was a worker bee extraordinaire, scoring 13 points, grabbing a team high 8 rebounds and dishing out 4 assists. Frank Gerald was right there with him, contributing 12 points and 7 assists. Robinson provided the game winning points, which were 2 of his 7 for the game, and the follow also counts as one of his 5 rebounds. While Spalding was plagued by turnovers and not much of a threat from three, Oxon Hill was less than perfect from the free throw line, where they went 8-16. Either team could’ve sealed the game with a better performance in those categories and that is something there coaching staffs will point out to them. Oxon Hill was guided by summer coach Duane Moore, while Spalding was coached by capable assistant Andrew Sachs. Both did great jobs getting their teams through the tournament. Come from behinds were the theme of the day for Oxon Hill. In the semi-finals, they trailed a Brian Johnson-less O’Connell by 13 before rallying to win 58-54. Spalding had a much easier time, winning big over a quality DeMatha team. For some reason, Spalding just isn’t a good match-up for the Stags. The WCAC was well represented by tough squads from McNamara, Paul VI and St. John’s as well. McNamara and Paul VI played a nail-biter Sunday afternoon, that I believe the Mustangs were able to win. Both sides competed very hard, reflecting the nature of their head coaches. St. John’s hammered a Springbrook team that had two things working against them- number two option Louis Brookins is sitting the tournament out with an injured wrist and the other factor seemed to be disinterest. The Blue Devils beat St. John’s earlier this year at the High Point summer league, but today the Johnnies came out thirsty. They have an impressive lineup of players that are long and lean. They all seem to be able to cover the floor well. I was particularly impressed by Duane Anderson’s ability to run the floor and play in the half court. His long arms make him very effective. Freshman Nolan Smith looked nothing like a freshman, starting in the SJC backcourt. Suitland was also able to play well for stretches after a disappointing opening round loss to Chambersburg, PA.


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