Boys' Latin coach Hugh Gelston doesn't remember his first victory. He does remember his first defeat -- a loss to Towson Catholic in his first game, 24 years ago.
Yesterday, Gelston recorded his 400th victory, as his Lakers defeated Arlington Baptist, 42-36, in an opening-round game of the Independent Schools Tournament at Gilman's Finney Center.
In other opening-round action, eighth-seed Friends edged ninth-seed Lutheran, 43-41, and sixth-seed John Carroll defeated seed Park, 51-41. Tenth-seed Archbishop Spalding surprised seventh-seed St. Mary's 63-52. McDonogh, St. Paul's, Severn, and Gilman received opening-round byes.
For today's quarterfinals, John Carroll will face third-seed St. Paul's, Spalding will play second-seed Severn and Friends will take on top seeded McDonogh.
Boys' Latin (16-9) will face Gilman, the four-time defending champion, in a 2 p.m. quarterfinal game. The Lakers have reached the semifinals four consecutive years. Gilman defeated the Lakers, 71-66, in the semifinals of the Laker Tournament in December.
In 24 seasons, Gelston's record is 400-216. Two of those victories came Friday, when Boys' Latin defeated Mount Carmel, 60-45, in the afternoon and Arlington Baptist, 55-46, at night. Before and after defeating Arlington Baptist again yesterday, he downplayed the milestone.
"It doesn't feel any different," Gelston said. "It just means that I'm old and I've been around for long time, I guess."
The 400th win wasn't easy. Boys' Latin built a 14-point lead late in third quarter, before Arlington Baptist (4-11) closed to three with 36 seconds remaining. The Lakers converted five of eight free throws down the stretch to win.
Senior forward Matt Ryan led Boys' Latin with 17 points. Senior forward Phil Booker added 16, with 14 rebounds. Freshman forward Jake Butler scored a game-high 18 for Arlington Baptist.
In the first half, Arlington Baptist slowed the pace to counter Boys' Latin's height advantage. It worked in Baptist's favor, with the team trailing only 15-11 at the halftime.
In the second half, the Lakers looked as if they were going to pull away, outscoring Arlington Baptist 14-4 to build their largest advantage at 29-15 with 1:54 left in the third period. But they missed their next five shots, and Arlington Baptist scored eight straight, to cut the lead to 29-23.
"Every game we've had this year has been a struggle," Gelston said. "We don't seem to be able to put together an eight- or 10-point run and put a team away."
In other action, Friends (8-10) moved into the quarterfinals as sophomore guard Sean Armstrong scored 15 and Spencer Deering added 11. Brian Corbin and Tom McLemore scored 18 and 11, respectively, for Lutheran (8-9).
With three seconds remaining in regulation, Lutheran had an opportunity to tie, but Joel Davis' shot was partially blocked. McLemore got the rebound, but his follow-up missed at the buzzer.
After trailing 13-0, Spalding (7-9) rallied to become the first lower-seeded team to defeat a higher seed in the tournament's five-year history. Sophomore guard Pat Mohr scored 21 and senior guard Doug Little added 13 for Spalding. Junior guard Charles McCloud and senior center Rory Kiernan scored 21 and 20 respectively for St. Mary's (9-10).
John Carroll (10-10) outscored Park (3-15), 34-20, in the second half, when junior guard Myron Cole scored 12 of his game-high 20. Freshman forward Jon Grissom and guard junior guard Josh Carlin each scored 10 for Park.