Charm City Classic shapes up as a beauty again this year

January 11, 1993|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,Staff Writer

There isn't a playoff format to decide which boys high school team is the best in the country. But the Charm City Classic is shaping up to be the closest thing to that.

Three of the past four mythical national champions -- Dunbar, Simon Gratz of Philadelphia and St. Anthony's of New Jersey -- will be showcased on Friday and Saturday at the Towson Center.

Overall, five teams currently ranked in the USA Today's Super 25 will be playing -- Simon Gratz, ranked No. 1, No. 4 St. Anthony's, No. 6 St. John's Prospect Hall, No. 9 Dunbar of D.C. and the Poets, ranked No. 10.

"There are 44,000 senior high schools in the country and we're fortunate enough to have five of the best teams in America," said Bill Spotts, president of the Spotts Foundation and the promoter of the Charm City Classic, during a press conference yesterday.

Simon Gratz, led by 6-foot-11 center Rasheed Wallace, considered to be the best player in the nation, will play the area's No. 2 team, Lake Clifton, Friday at 7 p.m.

The Poets, ranked No. 1 in the area, will meet St. Anthony's at 9 p.m., in a rematch of last year's finale. Last year's game, won by Dunbar, 49-47, was the Poets' final hurdle on the national level en route to the national title. St. John's Prospect Hall will play Towson Catholic, in a preliminary game at 5 p.m.

In Saturday's 5 p.m. preliminary game, Southern will meet HTC Dunbar of D.C., which is top-ranked in the Washington area. At 7 p.m., St. Anthony's, which won the national title in 1988-89, plays Lake Clifton to be followed at 9 p.m. by Simon Gratz and the Poets.

For Simon Gratz, which lost twice lost to Dunbar last season, the Charm City Classic will be its final major test on the national level.

"It's kind of tough," said Simon Gratz coach Bill Ellerbee, whose team won the 1989-90 national championship. "I was talking to Pete Pompey [Dunbar coach] about being in the same situation last season. It's tough, but you have to make the kids understand that every game is like a championship game."

The Spotts Foundation, which also put together the Charm City/Big Apple Challenge in December, will be giving the proceeds from the Charm City Classic to the St. Vincent's Center for Abused Children, to Bea Gaddy in her cause to feed the hungry in the Baltimore area, and for tutorial services for the Scholastic Aptitude Test.

Tickets are available at the Towson Center and all TicketMaster locations. Reserved tourney tickets are $18 and single tickets are $10 and $7 for general admission seats.

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