How ugly was yesterday's Maryland Scholastic Association C Conference final at the Baltimore Arena? Just look at the numbers.
St. Paul's and Boys' Latin shot a combined 19 percent in the first half, as the Lakers made two of their 17 shots. For the game, the teams committed 40 turnovers and missed 77 of 107 shots, including seven air balls.
Ugliness aside, No. 20 St. Paul's (29-3) pulled out a 55-42 overtime win to claim the C Conference title at the Metro Classic.
"That wasn't too pretty," said St. Paul's coach Rick Collins, "but we'll be glad to win ugly."
Tied at 38 at the end of regulation, the Crusaders outscored the Lakers, 17-4, in the three-minute overtime. During the stretch, they went 4-for-4 from the field -- making as many baskets as they had in the previous 11 minutes -- and held Boys' Latin to 1-for-8.
St. Paul's Rob Bouse (16 points, 10 rebounds) and Most Valuable Player Shane Tanzymore (16 points, 10 rebounds, three steals, two blocked shots) each scored six in the overtime.
"We tried to be patient [in the overtime]," said Tanzymore, who, after missing his first eight shots, hit six of his last nine. "We went back to simple things with a pure motion offense, trying to free up Rob and myself. We didn't call one play in overtime."
Boys' Latin coach Hugh Gelston said the Lakers (20-14) had trouble adjusting to the dimensions of the arena -- misjudging distances to the basket.
The Crusaders' Bouse said his team, which scored its fourth win over the Lakers in as many games this season, was better prepared. "When you first come in here, you have trouble with your shots. For the past couple days, though, we've practiced at Loyola College to get a feel for it."
Early on, it showed.
Boys' Latin missed its first six shots before Stan Ross (15 points, 19 rebounds) scored with 1 minute, 54 seconds left in the quarter. Meanwhile, Bouse hit two three-pointers midway through the quarter to give St. Paul's an 11-3 lead.
But with the exception of Bouse, the Crusaders struggled from the field. Even though the Lakers hit just one of their first 15 shots, St. Paul's led by five and was up 18-10 at halftime.
"In the first half, I got free by coming off picks," said Bouse. "They were only guarding me from about 17 feet. In the second half, though, they came out to about 23 feet, and that means Shane."
With the Lakers double-teaming Bouse, the Crusaders' 6-foot-5 senior center took off -- scoring all of his points in the second half and overtime. He had three layups in the third quarter to help St. Paul's extend its lead to 31-18.
"I wasn't used to the depth perception early in the game," said Tanzymore, "but the coach told me to keep on shooting, and my shots started to fall."
In the fourth quarter, so did the Lakers'.
Josh Pomles and Chris Krastel hit three-pointers, and Gene Lower added four points, as Boys' Latin tied the game at 32 with 3:26 left in regulation. Lower gave Boys' Latin its only lead, 34-33, on a baseline jumper from 10 feet with 2:34 left.
But with under a minute to play, Tanzymore and Jeff Springer scored on layups to send the game into overtime.
Then, Tanzymore and Bouse scored 12 of their team's 14 points in helping the Crusaders build a 48-40 lead with 1:13 to play. By the time Boys' Latin made its first basket, the game was decided.
"We had a lot of trouble on offense," said Boys' Latin's Gelston. "We rushed shots and missed a couple front ends of one-and-ones. Defensively, we got into foul trouble and we had to switch some assignments."
Said St. Paul's Collins: "We tell the kids that offense wins games and defense wins championships. That turned out to be the case today."