The nation's No. 1-ranked team showed the country's No. 1 high school junior prospect in last night's Northwest bracket semifinal of the Charm City Classic that winning a game takes more than one player.
Jason Capel and Damien Wilkins and top-ranked St. John's at Prospect Hall (16-0), dominated Newport School (20-3), of Kensington in Montgomery County, 66-43.
Capel scored 28 points, grabbed nine rebounds and made five of six free throws for the Frederick school. The 6-foot-7 Wilkins scored 18, snagged six rebounds, and made six foul shots in the rout at the Towson Center.
The Vikings, winners of 27 straight, used a brutal defensive press to jump out to a 12-0 lead. By halftime it was 37-18.
Newport, ranked No. 3 in the Washington, D.C., area by The Washington Post, was within 48-35 entering the final period, but then Capel -- a 6-foot-8 forward rated among the nation's top five players -- scored eight points in a 12-2 run early in the fourth quarter that pushed the lead to 60-37.
The Vikings will play the nation's 20th-ranked team, Mount Zion Christian Academy of Durham, N.C., at 9 tonight. Mount Zion beat Laurel's Pallotti last night. Pallotti and Newport will meet at 5: 30 p.m. today in a consolation.
Word was that Newport's 6-9 junior DerMarr Johnson, rated the nation's No. 1 junior, had considered declaring himself eligible for the NBA draft after high school, and some have projected him as a top 15 pick if he were to do so.
But Johnson, who scored 12 of his 15 points from three-point range, downplayed that notion after the game.
"I've joked about it a little bit, but right now that's not on my mind," said Johnson, who in the first half blocked a shot by Capel, dunked over Capel, and sank an NBA-distance three-pointer with 25 seconds left in the half.
"For the most part, we lacked composure in the game," said Johnson, whose teammate, Eric Wills, scored 13 points. "We played a little scared."
Capel said the game wasn't as much about showing up Johnson as retaining the No. 1-ranking the Vikings lost at last year's classic after Mark Karcher's buzzer-beating three-pointer lifted St. Frances to a 75-74 victory.
Capel, whose older brother, Jeff Capel, recently completed his eligibility at Duke, also said he was aware of DeMatha's loss Thursday night to Anderson of Indiana. DeMatha (21-1) was ranked No. 2 nationally and Anderson 14th.
Pub Date: 1/31/98