Frederick's Prospect Hall dominates St. Raymond's in Charm City Classic Boys basketball

January 26, 1996|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

For Prospect Hall, a little bit of touch and a lot of defense went a long way in yesterday's opening round of the Charm City Classic.

The Frederick team -- ranked 15th in the nation by USA Today -- built an early lead with seven three-pointers in the first half, then kept it by holding St. Raymond's of New York to 30-percent field-goal shooting en route to an 80-64 win at the Towson Center.

"I thought we had a strong defensive effort," said Vikings coach Stu Vetter. "We were able to mix our man-to-man and zone, and we kept them off-balance."

The Vikings advance in the Northwest Bracket to tomorrow's 8:30 championship game, where they will face the winner of last night's late game between locally top-ranked Southern and nationally top-ranked St. Anthony of New Jersey.

The Vikings are likely to get a tougher challenge in the finals.

There was no better way to describe St. Raymond's yesterday than ice cold. After hitting two of their first three shots, the Ravens threw away any chance of an upset by misfiring on 20 of their next 21.

"We just couldn't put the ball in the basket," said coach Gary DeCesare, whose team shot 30 percent for the game. "We got 82 shots, and they were all good looks at the basket, but they wouldn't go in. We have young kids and that's what happens."

This season, it's happened all too often.

The junior-dominated Ravens (4-10) have taken their lumps against a killer schedule that has included six nationally ranked opponents. Before yesterday, they had lost their previous four games by two points or less.

This one, however, wasn't even close.

Early on, 6-foot-3 senior Raul de Pablo drew the Ravens' defenstoward the perimeter by nailing four three-pointers in the first 14 minutes. Then, with the middle open, 6-foot-6 senior Nate James -- a preseason All-American -- finished the job, scoring 25 of his game-high 27 points on 9-for-10 shooting in the second half.

Vetter said his team's ability to break the Ravens' full-court press was a key to the win.

"They have one of the best full-court presses in the country," said Vetter. "I thought we did a great job of beating the press and converting it into easy baskets."

The first half belonged to Prospect Hall (11-2). Despite getting outrebounded, 29-13, the Vikings took advantage of the Ravens' poor shooting to rally from an early deficit and build a 35-22 lead by the break.

St. Raymond's was frigid from the field, hitting just three of its first 29 shots and shooting 15 percent for the half. Time and again, the Ravens grabbed offensive rebounds only to miss easy follow-ups in the paint.

Meanwhile, Prospect Hall seemed to be making every three-pointer it took. For the half, the Vikings sank as many three-pointers (eight) as the Ravens sank field goals.

De Pablo led Prospect Hall with 12 points, all on three-pointers,

in the half.

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