Hall's upset bid stalls in 2nd half CHARM CITY CLASSIC

January 29, 1995|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,Special to The Sun

For more than one half yesterday, Calvert Hall was on top of the basketball world. For 19 exquisite minutes, Baltimore's eighth-ranked team looked like one of the nation's elite.

The Cardinals took a 28-27 halftime lead against New Jersey's Paterson Catholic -- the 14th-ranked team in the country, according to USA Today. They held the lead until midway through the third quarter.

Ahead by one with 4:56 left in the third quarter, the Cardinals were outscored 30-5 over the next 11 minutes and lost, 64-43, in the Northwest bracket consolation game of the Charm City Classic at Loyola College's Reitz Arena.

"I really think this is a game we could've stolen," said Calvert Hall coach Mark Amatucci. "We came out in the first half and played extremely well. We were patient offensively and got some good shots."

But, perhaps more importantly, the Cardinals got a large number of second and third looks at the basket. Thanks to good rebounding, they forged their way to the lead despite shooting 28 percent (11-for-30) in the first half.

"We wanted to run when we could, and in the first half we executed our game plan pretty well," said forward Tavar Witherspoon, who led the Cardinals with 18 points and 11 rebounds. "In the second half, though, they stepped up their game and started to rebound."

Led by 6-foot-10 junior forward Timmy Thomas -- widely considered to be the best underclassman in the country -- Paterson Catholic (11-3) began to open its lead midway through the third quarter.

Thomas (15 points, 11 rebounds, three blocks) was nearly unstoppable inside, and along with Vincent Mitchell (17 points) and Davvon Bethea (10), helped the Cougars shoot 60 percent from the field in the second half.

After watching his team lose by 11 to Prospect Hall on Friday, coach Jimmy Salmon said the Cougars were still reeling.

"I don't think we recovered from [Friday] night," said Salmon. "We weren't as aggressive mentally as we normally are. [Friday] night, we expected to win. Today, we could've easily lost."

The loss was the second in two days for the Cardinals (15-6), who dropped a 74-43 decision on Friday to nationally top-ranked Oak Hill (Va.) Academy.

For the second straight game, they had to battle a huge height disadvantage in the frontcourt -- this time, an average of four inches.

For the players, however, the difference between the two games was night and day.

"We tried to take that bad game we had [Friday] and turn it around today," said Witherspoon. "Height really shouldn't matter."

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