|Stumbling back to No. 1?|
St. Frances Academy’s boys’ basketball team is in position to reclaim the No. 1 ranking in Varsity Sports Network’s Top 20. The Panthers didn’t exactly make a ringing statement Saturday.
No. 2 St. Frances defeated Spingarn from the District, 82-71, in double overtime at the Maryland Challenge Mixer at Coolidge’s Williams Activity Center in the nation’s capital. Top-ranked Dunbar pulled away from No. 3 John Carroll, 69-58, while No. 5 Milford Mill Academy fell, 77-69, to undefeated Theodore Roosevelt (D.C.).
The Panthers (25-4 overall) got a game-high 38 points from Loyola University-bound forward Maurice White, but the east Baltimore school needed a 90-second surge in the second OT to finally break away from Spingarn (6-10). For most of the game, the MIAA A and Baltimore Catholic league-leaders were listless against a team several District basketball observers in attendance Saturday felt was inferior.
“I’m disappointment with the total effort,” said St. Frances coach Nick Myles. “We’re a much better team than we showed today. Our guys weren’t prepared and I have to take the blame.”
“We have to play together as a group. We came out so sluggish,” said White. “We can’t afford that because teams aren’t going to lay down. We got to be ready.”
Sophomore point Kurt Lee, who missed two free throws late in the first overtime opened the door for Spingarn’s forcing overtime No. 2, hit a short jumper in the lane giving St. Frances the lead for good, 69-68. White followed with a steal, leading to two free throws by junior forward Dwayne Morgan with 2:21 remaining in the second overtime.
Panthers senior guard Dayshawn Wells intercepted the ensuing inbound pass to the right of the basket, and quickly found Khalil Richards, who drop a short jumper in the lane. Wells forced Green Wave guard Jerome West into a turnover on the next inbounds, leading to two free throws from Lee extending St. Frances’ advantage to 75-68 with 1:38 left.
It appeared it would be an easy Saturday for St. Frances, scoring the first eight points in regulation. But Spingarn, which will be closing its doors at the end of the District school term, battled back claiming a five-point advantage in the third quarter as Myles sat his ineffective starters.
They appeared to get the message as senior Tevon Saddler scored off a pass from Wells, presenting St. Frances with a 49-43 lead with 5:17 remaining in regulation. The Green Wave didn’t go away, responding with a 12-3 run to regain the lead, 55-52.
White got St. Frances even at 57 with a three-pointer with 50 seconds remaining in regulation. The Panthers regained possession with 39 seconds remaining after Spingarn lost the ball on the ensuing inbounds, but Saddler missed a short jumper with eight seconds left. The Green Wave wasn’t able to get the ball out of St. Frances’ side before the end of regulation.
The Green Wave had a 62-59 lead after a three-point play that resulted in Saddler fouling out with 3:13 left in the first overtime. A Morgan tip-in of his own miss and a drive by White regained the lead for Panthers, 65-63.
After again turning the ball over, this time on a five-second violation, Spingarn fouled Lee with 14 seconds left. Lee missed both free throws in the double bonus.
Spingarn’s Fred Anderson grabbed the rebound and dribbled the ball up several feet. He sent pass to Washington who was out of position. Washington reached out for the ball with his right hand and it deflected towards the basket. West got it went in for the tying basket with three seconds left in the first overtime.
After the less than satisfying win, St. Frances spent a half-hour in its locker room. The Panthers look to reestablish momentum for the final week of regular season starting Monday against McDonogh School.
Myles said he’s hoping his team can complete its match with Archbishop Spalding Tuesday evening. The game was stopped at halftime Friday after several electronic items were stolen from the visitors’ locker room area at the Chase Street school.
“The school is working with Spalding in this unfortunate situation,” said Myles, who’s also St. Frances’ athletic director.
After dropping its first game to a local opponent Friday, top-ranked Dunbar rebounded with a second half push to turn away John Carroll in a matchup of reigning league champions. Kamau Stokes scored 22 points for the Poets (16-2), and Keandre Gibson added 15.
Tied at 25 at halftime, Dunbar outscored the two-time defending MIAA A Conference champ Patriots (22-9), 17-5, as Stokes hit runner before the buzzer for a 42-30 advantage. Stokes, who transferred from the Bel Air school to Dunbar during the summer, had 16 points in the second half.
“I was looking forward to the game, but it’s the same as any other game,” said Stokes, whose team lost at No. 18 Lake Clifton, 56-47, Friday afternoon.
Rodney Elliott, Stokes’ former backcourt mate and son of the former Dunbar and University of Maryland standout, had a game-high 26 points for John Carroll. The Patriots led 18-14 after the opening quarter and 25-20 late in the second before the Baltimore City Division I champ Poets got even before intermission.
A three-pointer by Gibson gave the Orleans Street school the lead for a good at 32-29. Dax Miles scored all 12 of his points over the final two quarters.
“We started off slow again but we were to stay close. We had foul trouble but got real good production from our bench,” said Poets coach Diego Jones. “We played more as a team.”
“At halftime I told the team if we lose the game it’s because we failed to take advantage in the second quarter,” said John Carroll coach Tony Martin. “We should’ve been up eight to 10 points and when you give a team life, it comes back to bite you.”
Despite trailing the entire second half, Milford Mill Academy refused to wilt against the District’s top public squad Theodore Roosevelt. The Rough Riders went on a late surge to remain undefeated.
Junior guard Johnnie Shuler had a game-high 31 points for Roosevelt (18-0), ranked No. 3 in the District region by the Washington Post, and Mike Warren added 13. Justin Jenifer led Milford Mill (16-2) with 20 points and senior guard Bruce Watkins finished with 19.
Down 11 late in the third quarter, the Millers closed to 54-51 after Jenifer’s runner from inside half court fell through the basket. The Baltimore County champs were within 65-64 with 3:59 left in regulation after a free throw from Jenifer.
Shuler responded with a basket and Warren, a transfer from St. Frances, dropped a three-pointer for a six-point advantage. Down 70-67, Milford Mill couldn’t get a couple of follow-up attempts to fall and the Rough Riders received two free throws from Shuler and a dunk by Jabril Faulkener to put the game away.
“We showed great composure through a lot of adversity,” said Millers coach Mike Silverman, whose team led 20-15 after the first quarter before Roosevelt went on a 13-0 run to gain the lead for good. “It’s a tough pill to swallow right now, but we have to build off this and get better.”
Last Updated (Monday, 04 February 2013 07:31)