With University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban and Ohio State assistant coach Luke Fickell on hand to witness the Calvert Hall-Gilman basketball game Wednesday night, Greyhound senior Cyrus Jones showed that his superb athletic ability is hardly limited to the gridiron.
The area's top football recruit is being wooed by those two powerhouses — and several other big-time programs — after leading the Greyhounds to the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference title last month.
On the court, the 5-foot-11 shooting guard exploded for 14 points in the third quarter to rally Gilman (3-1) past the Cardinals (2-4), 77-68, at the Finney Athletic Center In Roland Park.
Jones, who also collected eight rebounds, finished with a game-high 23 points in the victory.
"Cyrus is starting to play within himself now," Gilman coach Owen Daly. "He's starting to trust the other guys on the team, knowing he doesn't have to do it all himself. In the first quarter, before he got going, a guy like Ryan (Ripken) really helped him out."
Gilman trailed, 39-35, midway through the third period when Jones hits successive three-pointers, and the hosts never trailed again.
Held to just seven points in the opening half, Jones went five-of-seven from the floor in the third period as the Greyhounds built a 48-41 advantage heading into the final quarter.
Ripken's put-back completed a withering 13-2 run before Calvert Hall responded with back-to-back baskets by senior Julian Davis and sophomore Sean Mayberry early in the fourth quarter.
However, a three-point play by sophomore guard Ben Grace, a nifty move in the paint by senior forward Jake Matthai and two Ripken free throws gave Gilman a 56-45 lead with 5:16 remaining.
The game essentially became a free-throw shooting exhibition after that, as Grace made 11 of 12 attempts from the line to secure the win.
A Jones dunk at the buzzer was an exclamation mark on the satisfying triumph.
"We played a normal man-to-man on him," Calvert Hall coach John Bauersfeld said. "But some of those shots were from more than 20 feet. There's not much you can do about those."
The most recent Gilman win over Calvert Hall on the court was a 55-54 thriller in 2005 in which the Greyhounds overcame a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit.
Prior to that, the last time Gilman prevailed over the Cardinals was a 49-46 battle in 1959.
Calvert Hall (68)-Julian Davis, 10; Sean Mayberry, 8; Denzel Richardson, 8; Justin Beck, 22; Conor McVan, 2; Wesley Blackwell, 9; Ryan Smith, 6; Danny Grace, 3
Gilman (77)- Kareem Montgomery, 4; Ben Grace, 19; Cyrus Jones, 23; Cory Watson, 2; Jake Matthai, 8; Ryan Ripken, 21