Spalding's 6-foot-6 Bryan Wade is only in his first year of organized basketball, but coach Lee Dove has been saying all season that "all (Wade) needs is confidence."
If the Cavaliers' 65-58 victory yesterday over Severn is any indication, Wade has almost -- if not already -- arrived.
The 16-year-old junior scored a season-high 30 points, including 8-for-10 shooting from the free-throw line, and ripped down 13 rebounds.
"Tonight may have been just what he needed," said Dove, whose Cavaliers are 5-14 overall and 3-7 in Division I of the Maryland Scholastic Association's C Conference.
"When people asked me how we'd do at the beginning of the year, I said we were young but that we'd surprise a few people," added Dove, who starts a senior, a sophomore and three juniors.
"Severn's a good team, and I had been both dreading and anticipating this game for a long time. I don't know what Bryan ate before tonight's game, but whatever it was, I hope he keeps eating it."
Severn was the main course yesterday.
And Wade, with assistance from junior forward Pat Mohr (22 points, 5-for-8 from theline), helped the Cavaliers devour Division II Severn (7-5, 4-2).
Even Wade seemed at a loss to explain his success.
"Everything was falling for me," he said. "I was getting off of the ground, and I was getting every rebound. I think Severn came into this game expecting an easy game, but everyone on our team played great tonight."
The Cavaliers enjoyed their biggest lead of the game, 50-37, just over a minute into the fourth quarter, but sophomores Brad Fowler (14 points) and Jake Mack (12) and junior Jason Moran (12) nearly brought Severn back.
Spalding's tempo slowed momentarily when Mohr left the game with an ankle injury. He returned with two minutes left in the game, but the Admirals had hustled back to trail by one point, 57-56.
But with 1 minute, 37 seconds remaining in the game, Severn's leading rebounder -- senior Brendan Haggerty (six points) -- fouled out ofthe game, and the Admirals never got closer than four points the rest of the way.
"The big guy hurt us, but a lot of that was because we got behind and had to trap and press. That left him open a lot of times," said Severn coach Jim Doyle, who also lost Moran to five fouls with 24 seconds left in the game. "We came back and made it close, but once we let them believe they could win, they were hard to handle."
Severn did manage an early lead after Chris Pitkin (10 points) scored eight points and Mack added six to stake the Admirals to a 20-12 first-quarter advantage.
But Spalding, which got a buzzer-beating three-pointer from Mohr to end the first quarter, opened the second with six unanswered points and trailed, 20-18.
Then Wade began crashing the boards and scoring on the inside with turnarounds, while Mohr attacked from the perimeter.
Wade scored eight of his 14 first-half points in the period and -- assisted by six points from Mohr -- helped the Admirals tie the game at 28 by halftime.
With 1:39 togo in the half, Spalding junior Pat Calabrese's double-pump put-back tied the game at 26-26 before Wade scored to give the Cavaliers their first lead, 28-26.
Severn's Moran (12 points) made a layup to tie the game at 28 with seven seconds left in the half.
The Cavaliers outscored the Admirals, 18-9, in the third quarter, including ninepoints from Wade.
After Severn's Mack scored the first points of the period to give his squad a 30-28 lead, the Cavaliers went on a 10-0 run for a 38-30 lead, including two jumpers and an underhanded layup by Mohr.
The Cavaliers maintained an 8-7 edge the rest of the period for a 46-37 advantage to start the fourth quarter.