St. Frances, Spalding taking games on road

Panthers in Texas, Cavs in S.C. for hoops tourneys

High Schools

December 24, 2003|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Top-ranked St. Frances and No. 5 Archbishop Spalding will represent Baltimore-area boys basketball in showcase tournaments this holiday season.

St. Frances (8-1) leaves Saturday for College Station, Texas, and the McDonald's Christmas Invitational that is set to begin Monday and run through next Wednesday.

Spalding (5-0) will begin play in the Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach, S.C., on Friday. The tournament will run through Tuesday, with the final televised live on ESPN2 at 8 p.m.

A slam-dunk contest will precede the title game, and Spalding's Rudy Gay, a 6-foot-9 forward headed to the University of Connecticut, will be among the top contenders.

"Rudy has a great chance to win the slam-dunk," said Spalding coach Mike Glick.

St. Frances had also entered last weekend's Mission Prep Classic in San Luis Obispo, Calif., but had to drop out when expenses became prohibitive.

"It was going to cost us $8,600 to fly the team out there and we decided we couldn't do it, " said St. Frances coach William Wells.

"So, we're going to Texas for what should be a very good tournament. Playing in it will only help us for when we get going in our league in January."

Led by Darnell Harris, Gus Chase and Gordon Brown, the Panthers are 1-0 in the Baltimore Catholic League/Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference.

Their first game after the Texas trip is a visit to Spalding Jan. 4.

The Cavs (1-0 BCL) will open the Beach Ball Classic against the Landmark Christian War Eagles of Fairburn, Ga., at 8:30 p.m. Friday. The game will be broadcast live on WNAV (1430 AM).

The War Eagles boast one of the top point guards in the nation (junior Justin Holland) and a national top-15 prospect (senior center Randolph Morris).

"It's going to be a great challenge for us, " said Glick. "We're one of the few [nationally] unranked teams in the tournament. We're going to play four games down there and it should give us a benchmark to see where we're at, and what we have to do to get better and play in the tough BCL/MIAA."

If the Cavaliers win Friday, they will play at 10:15 p.m. Saturday, likely against Edgewater (Fla.), which is ranked No. 25 nationally by USA Today.

"They're [Edgewater] probably the best team in the tournament, " said Glick.

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