St. Paul's handles Boys' Latin, 60-49

January 11, 1995|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,Special to The Sun

St. Paul's coach Rick Collins likes to think that playing fundamentally sound basketball can help his team overcome even the biggest obstacles.

Yesterday at Boys' Latin that philosophy survived the acid test.

Despite shooting 34 percent from the field, St. Paul's did little else wrong en route to a 60-49 win in a battle of unbeaten division leaders in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference.

The Crusaders committed just two turnovers in the second half -- none in the fourth quarter -- rebounded strong the entire game and made 14 of their 18 foul shots in the final 6:50 to seal the victory.

"We tell our kids that there are two things that we can do consistently every time we play -- play good defense and rebound," said Collins. "We might be off shooting one night but if you rebound well and play good defense you're going to be in games. That really came through for us today."

The win improves St. Paul's to 10-2 overall and 6-0 in the league -- records the Crusaders haven't seen since making the C Conference championship game five straight years in the late 1980s and early '90s.

It's even sweeter considering that the Crusaders went 9-10 last year with virtually the same team.

Collins attributes the turnaround to hard work and maturity.

"We knew we were a young team and that we were going to grow, and the coaches had to be patient," said Collins. "Now, this is the deepest team I've ever had."

Nine players scored for St. Paul's yesterday, with 6-foot-1 sophomore

Justin Singleton (16 points) and junior Chris Kakel (10) leading the way.

Singleton did the bulk of his damage on slashing drives to the basket, but he also kept the Lakers' defense off balance with two three-pointers.

The guard's clutch free-throw shooting (5-for-6 in the final three minutes) also helped St. Paul's survive a fourth-quarter run that saw its 16-point lead dwindle to four with just over two minutes left.

"The fourth quarter is crunch time," said Singleton. "The one thing that motivates us is staying above people and not playing down to their level. When they stepped up we really rose to the occasion."

For Boys' Latin (8-5, 5-1), the story was poor shooting -- nearly 10 percent below its season average -- and a bit of frustration.

"We kept putting them on the foul line and they hardly ever missed," said Lakers coach Hugh Gelston. "They've got quick guards and they handle the ball pretty well."

Gelston said that a rematch in February's B Conference championship game is a real possibility.

"I'd like to think so," he said, "but St. Paul's is a little bit better than the rest of the teams [in the league]. The rest of us are just a notch below."

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