Gay, Spalding rise to occasion

Triple double by senior leads No. 5 Cavaliers past No. 1 St. Frances, 79-67

Boys basketball

High Schools

January 05, 2004|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Rudy Gay brought his `A' game to Archbishop Spalding's small gym yesterday in Severn and left top-ranked St. Frances reeling.

Gay, 6 feet 9, put up a triple double with a career-high 35 points, 12 rebounds and 10 blocked shots to lead No. 5 Spalding over the Panthers, 79-67. He appeared at times to be a one-man show for the Cavaliers (9-1) in the highly anticipated boys basketball showdown.

"It was my best game at Spalding [in two years at the school]," Gay said.

St. Frances (12-2) started with a box-and-one defense on Gay that proved futile as the University of Connecticut-bound senior scored practically every way imaginable and was 14-for-17 from the field.

"When they got up by 15 [29-14] in the first half, we had to get out of it [the box], but it was too late, " said St. Frances coach William Wells, whose team had just won four straight in College Station, Texas, to win the McDonald's All-Star Classic.

"We lost the game in the first half. It was won at that point. Rudy is a good player, but I'm disappointed in our offense. We never ran any offensive pattern."

St. Frances was 1-for-16 from the field in the second quarter and trailed 33-22 at the half. The Panthers finished 23-for-72 (32 percent) for the game, compared with Spalding's 31-for-59 (53 percent).

"We spent an hour and a half yesterday on the box-and-one," Spalding coach Mike Glick said. "But we're more than just Rudy Gay. Our backcourt and bench are very important to us. We're a defensive team before we're an offensive team."

Darnell Harris, St. Frances' leading scorer, was held in the first half to two of his 23 total points by Spalding's superb defense, which has given up 60 points only twice this season.

Harris had six of his team's nine three-pointers.

Spalding made nine of 10 shots from the field in the final eight minutes to prevent the Panthers from getting back into the game. The Cavaliers' Justin Castleberry scored eight of his 15 points in the final quarter, when teammate Marquis Sullivan had four of his 12.

"When Rudy is playing like that, it makes the game a lot easier for the whole team," said Spalding point guard Jesse Brooks, who had six points and seven assists.

Gay made four three-pointers (three of them in an 11-point first quarter), hit a few pull-up jumpers in the paint and just outside it, drove the lane and dunked four times.

Two dunks came with both hands, one was a tomahawk that shook the backboard and one was a reverse two-hander with his knees nearly as high as his head.

Did Gay - who won the slam-dunk contest last week at the Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach, S.C., where the Cavaliers went 2-1 - show the standing-room-only crowd all his tricks?

"I don't know. I've always got a few surprises," he said, beaming. "We had to come out and let everybody know we are better than them."

The Cavaliers improved to 3-0 in the Baltimore Catholic League and 2-0 in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference.

St. Frances slipped to 1-1 in both leagues.

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