When St. Paul's began yesterday's Maryland Scholastic Association C Conference quarterfinal against Archbishop Spalding by missing 12 of its first 13 shots, Crusaders coach Rick Collins became concerned.
It took a mid-quarter glance at the scoreboard, and the sight of his team leading 2-1, to put Collins at ease.
The host Crusaders, the third seed, went on to score 11 straight and held a double-digit lead for most of the second half in cruising to a 68-53 win.
St. Paul's advances to tomorrow's 7 p.m. semifinal against seventh seed Archbishop Curley, a 57-50 upset winner over second seed Boys' Latin in another quarterfinal game.
In other tournament games, Severn defeated Friends, 82-48, and St. Mary's defeated John Carroll, 57-55. St. Mary's will play at Severn in the other semifinal tomorrow at 3:45.
The Crusaders are shooting for their second straight conference title. After their start yesterday, however, Collins is just happy to advance.
"We were getting good shots," said Collins, "but nothing was falling in. We tried to get our inside game working, but that took awhile."
But when forward Simms Jenkins finally got rolling, there was no stopping him.
Jenkins scored 16 of his season-high 27 points in the second half. That, along with his 10 rebounds, was enough to hold a scrappy Spalding team at bay.
Rob Bouse added 15 points for St. Paul's, and Jeff Paxson led the Cavaliers with 14.