St. Pauls's senior Iba Camara felt vindicated Sunday in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference championship game against Boys' Latin.
Camara, a 6-foot-9, 225-pound center who transferred from Admiral Farragut Academy in St. Petersburg, Fla., originally intended to go to Boys' Latin, but he said he didn't get accepted to the school.
Camara remembered that when he scored 19 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead the Crusaders to a 62-45 victory over Boys’ Latin at UMBC Sunday.
"Of course it was on my mind that we were playing BL," said Camara, who signed to play at the University of New Hampshire.
Daniel Wilson, Zach Bare and Alexander Matsinye finished with 10 points each to help St. Paul’s to its fifth B Conference title since 1996 and second under head coach Seth Goldberg.
The Crusaders (17-8) didn't look anything like a championship-caliber team early in the year.
"This was a special one because we had a tough December, but we lost only one game in January and February," Goldberg said. "The turnaround was tremendous."
St. Paul's looked unbeatable against Boys' Latin.
The Crusaders took control early, jumping out to a 15-2 lead in the first six minutes. Boys' Latin shot 1-for-8 from the floor during that stretch while St. Paul's went 6-for-11.
"We had some turnovers early," said Boys' Latin coach Cliff Rees, whose team had seven turnovers in the first quarter and shot 12-for-45 overall (26 percent). "I think some jitters might have caused that. Then, our shots weren't falling. The avalanche went on from there."
Boys' Latin only made two shots in the second quarter, and trailed 34-18 at halftime.
St. Paul's led by as many as 26 points in the third quarter, starting the period on a 20-10 run.
"You are not going to find many teams with the kind of size and guard play that St. Paul's has," Rees said.
Junior forward Patrick Spencer paced Boys’ Latin (19-9) with 18 points. Kodye Pugh added 11 points and seven rebounds. Jordan Brooks (7 points), his cousin Blair (7) and Jerel Acker (2) also scored for the Lakers.
Juan Kearson (5), Tre Hamer (4) and Daniel Wilson (3) accounted for the rest of St. Paul's points.
Both coaches were talking about Camara after the game.
"He only played half to three quarters of the game because of foul trouble," Goldberg said.
Rees would have loved to coach a player the caliber of Camara, who had nine scholarship offers.
"Obviously, it was a big disapoinment to not have a 6-9 skilled player come into the program," he said. "We are very careful about senior transfers, but he ended up at a great place with a great coach."