Nine days removed from its shocking upset of then-No. 1 Mount St. Joseph, No. 6 Archbishop Spalding took to its home court Friday night looking to topple another giant.
This time, however, unbeaten St. Frances proved to be too big of an obstacle for the Cavaliers.
The top-ranked Panthers dominated the glass, nabbing eight offensive rebounds in the second half, to break open a tight game for a 61-51 win.
Junior guard Maurice White had 23 points and eight rebounds, 6-foot-8 junior forward Dwayne Morgan added 17 points and senior guard Tevon Saddler contributed 15 points and six rebounds for St. Frances (12-0, 5-0 in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference, 4-0 in the Catholic League), which outscored Spalding, 22-9, to open the second half.
"The key to tonight's game was dominating inside, and I think we did a pretty good job of doing it," St. Frances coach Nick Myles said. "We only had four offensive rebounds at halftime. We felt that we had a significant size advantage at a bunch of different positions, so we definitely talked about attacking the offensive glass."
The Panthers did the bulk of their damage with aggressive play in the paint, time and again turning missed long-range jumpers into easy second-chance points.
"We talked about playing hard and not letting them get any easy transition points. Then just keep putting it back on the glass everytime," White said. "We got some easy points."
After falling behind by as much as 13, the Cavaliers (7-4, 3-1, 2-1) rallied in the fourth quarter behind the scoring of forward Earl Potts (16 points) and guard Martel Massimini (11), pulling to within four on Potts' fast-break layup off a turnover with 3:52 left.
Spalding, however, would get no closer, as St. Frances reeled off the next eight points, punctuated by Morgan's emphatic slam.
Cavaliers coach Derrick Lewis, the former standout forward at the University of Maryland, was critical of his team's effort, particularly on the glass.
"I can talk about rebounding because I used to rebound. I wasn't the biggest guy on the floor, but I wanted it more than everyone else," Lewis said. "These guys didn't want it tonight. We were outhustled and outplayed, as far as effort."
St. Frances 61, Spalding 51
St. Frances -- Saddler 13, Lee 5, Wells 2, Ayemi 1, Morgan 17, White 23. Totals: 22 9-12 61.
Spalding – Dalce 6, Grant 4, Massimini 11, Harris 5m Jefferson 2, Potts 16, Meiklejohn 7. Totals: 19 9-13 51.
Half: St. Frances, 28-24Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun