Archbishop Spalding steps it up with 2-0 start in Catholic League

SIDELINES

January 11, 2001|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

If you haven't noticed, Archbishop Spalding's boys basketball team is on a roll.

Ordinarily two wins in a row might not qualify as a roll, but when you consider the two wins by the young Cavaliers this week, it's not that much of a stretch.

Spalding was below .500 last week and struggling at 5-7 as it prepared to open defense of its Baltimore Catholic League title at home Sunday against powerful, preseason favorite Towson Catholic with a visit to another contender in St. Frances set for Tuesday.

An 0-2 start in BCL action seemed likely for the Cavaliers. Now after a 49-43 upset of then No. 2-ranked Towson Catholic (10-2) followed by a 43-36 victory at No. 5 St. Frances (10-3), Spalding has sent shock waves through the league.

Those BCL teams who were thinking paybacks for the two-time champions are now saying, "Looks like Spalding is not ready to put up the white flag."

With only two seniors, in Chris Ravello and Ayinde Simon, the Cavaliers are coming of age just in time for the BCL grind.

"The biggest things are we have changed our style of play and matured at the same time," said coach Mike Glick.

"We've slowed things down offensively, more patient and ball control than we were. Everybody gets a touch or two before we shoot and everybody is together now."

Glick said losing Ravello and junior Cory Hudson to academic ineligibility for 10 days a couple weeks ago did not help team continuity and contributed to the slide after a 3-1 start.

"Not only did it hurt in games, but they were not allowed to practice either," said Glick.

The return of those two starters has enabled Glick to blend his underclassmen nicely in the mix, and the result has been outstanding play by sophomores Tim Brackney, 6-6 Gus Durr and 6-10 Will Bowers.

Brackney had a team-high 12 points and Bowers dominated inside with nine points, eight rebounds and three blocks against Towson Catholic. The latter played without two starters in blue-chip junior, 6-7 Carmello Anthony, and 6-8 sophomore Byron Joynes, but the win was not diminished when Spalding traveled to Baltimore to upset St. Frances.

In that one, Ravello and Hudson had 12 points each while Bowers had 11 points, eight rebounds and nine blocks, five in the first period as the Cavaliers held the Panthers to just six points in the first half (17-6 Spalding).

"The emergence of Will [Bowers] as a dominating player inside has been a big key, " said Glick, pointing to the way his team's full ensemble has complemented his young, constantly-learning center who resides in Hanover.

"And Cory Hudson and Gus Durr have stabilized the middle for us. I'm encouraged, but it's only 2-0 and we still have a lot of work to do in a league where anybody can beat anybody on a given night."

Spalding plays host to Loyola at 8 p.m. tomorrow and the game will be broadcast live on WNAV radio (1430 AM) with Southern-Harwood grad Joe Miller doing play-by-play and Glen Burnie attorney-turned-basketball analyst Steve Peroutka chiming in.

Sideliners

No. 12-ranked Glen Burnie (11-0) kept its streak alive with a 68-61 win over Broadneck (1-11) Tuesday. The 11-0 start is the best at Glen Burnie since 1947.

Over the weekend, coach Mike Rudd thought that 1961 or even 1952, two state tournament years for the Gophers, might have produced as good a start. But after a tedious search through dusty yearbooks with Kay Bogle, wife of Rudd's predecessor Terry Bogle, the '47 team's 16-0 season was discovered on Monday.

The '47 team lost its final game by 39-19 to Sparrows Point in the state semis. "They were county champions, because they beat Annapolis, the only other county team, twice that year," said Rudd on Monday.

Not to take anything away from the '47 Gophers, but one of their 16 wins was over an alumni team. Last year's 22-0 unbeaten regular season by Annapolis still stands as the best by a county team.

Have a note for Sidelines? E-mail patomalleysports@aol.com or call Pat O'Malley's 24-hour Sportsline at 410-647-2499.

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