Calvert stuns taller Annapolis, 71-60 Nicolini's 31 for naught

Cavaliers avenge '96 loss

Class 4A/Boys basketball

March 08, 1997|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Senior shooting guard Todd Nicolini's career-high 31 points, including six three-pointers, were wasted as No. 7 Annapolis was stunned 71-60 by Calvert High in the Class 4A East final played in Southern Maryland last night.

The host Cavaliers took exceptional care of the ball (just one turnover to nine by Annapolis in the first half) and bombed in nine three-pointers. Senior guard Lamont Hawkins knocked down five threes to lead a trio of Cavaliers in double digits with 21 points.

Calvert earned its first trip in eight years to the University of Maryland's Cole Field House for the Class 4A final four. It will be the Cavs' fifth trip overall, the first four occurring in 1972, 1973 and then in 1987 and 1989.

The Cavaliers (21-4) denied Annapolis (20-6) a state record 24th trip to College Park and will play the South Region champion at 7 p.m. Thursday at Cole in the state semifinals.

The South region semifinals among Parkdale, Eleanor Roosevelt, Largo and Suitland were played at Prince Georges Community College last night, with the final tonight at PGCC.

Hawkins and most of the Calvert team played in last year's 63-60 heart-breaker at Annapolis in the region semifinals, and the Panthers went on to win the region.

"It really helped playing the game at home, where we only lost one time this year," said Hawkins. "Senior year, going to Cole Field House -- can't wait."

Hawkins and his teammates committed only one turnover in the first half and made Annapolis pay for nine in taking a 39-25 lead at the break.

The Cavs, who led 19-18 after the first period, would have been farther in front had it not been for Nicolini's trio of threes and 15 points in the first half. The 5-foot-9 Nicolini scored all seven Annapolis points in the second period to keep the Panthers in the game.

"We have good ball-handlers, and it's a senior ball club, so that's what we expect," said Calvert coach Bill Stewart. "They're a quality ball club, and we didn't expect anything easy.

"They've got two quality players inside, and we wanted to put a lot of pressure on their perimeter and bang inside with our five so-called big men."

Calvert, which has no player taller than 6-4, was out-rebounded by only 28-27. Guard Lionel Sewell (eight points ) led with eight boards, followed by seven from Dewayne Williams and five from James Dent (who also had 10 points).

For Annapolis, Germaine "Boo" Diggs, who had game-high totals of 13 boards and five blocked shots, missed several opportunities in the paint in the first half going 3-for-8 from the floor.

The 6-foot-7 Diggs finished with 12 points, but the Cavs did a superb job denying him the ball in the second half. His 6-8 teammate, Brian Barber, scored all 11 of his points in the final two periods after getting in foul trouble and finally fouling out with 3: 24 left in the game.

Pub Date: 3/08/97

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