Top-ranked Archbishop Spalding methodically built a fairly comfortable lead at the half, then simply poured it on to defeat No. 10 St. Frances, 71-45, in Severn last night.
Junior Tremaine Robinson's 16 points led the Cavaliers, who improved to 18-2 on the season and 7-0 in the Catholic League.
With a 27-15 lead at intermission, the Cavaliers' defensive pressure and smart offensive decisions took over in the third quarter as they scored on four straight possessions midway through to take a 35-17 lead.
Senior Aleksander Pavlovic, replacing injured senior center Derrick Goode, thus adding a guard to the lineup, scored 13 points. Junior guard Isaac Brooks added 11 for the Cavaliers, who had 10 players reach the scoring column.
"In the second half, we came out and competed a lot harder," said Spalding coach Tony Martin. "One of the keys with St. Frances is their athleticism and aggressiveness. You really have to take care of the ball on offense and take good shots.
"We were struggling a little in our half-court offense in the first half against their zone, so I told [players] they had to make some things happen defensively -- and we did."
After St. Frances (6-6, 1-4) got a jumper from Terrence Whitters on its opening possession in the second half to cut the Cavaliers' lead to 27-17, the Panthers missed their next 10 shots and turned the ball three more times.
At the other end, James Bowen hit consecutive jumpers, Robinson got a steal and lay-in, which Pavlovic followed with an inside basket to put the game away midway through the third quarter.
"At halftime, Coach Martin yelled at us a little, and in the second half we just came out and played a lot harder," said Pavlovic. "With three guards out there, we're a fast team -- that's the biggest reason we won."
The Panthers were never able to find offensive flow, hitting only 28 percent from the field in a first half that included 11 turnovers.
St. Frances coach William Wells was quick to credit the Cavaliers.
"Tony has them playing very sound as a team," said Wells, whose roster includes nine sophomores and freshmen. "We wanted to dribble too much and didn't know when to pick the ball up and make the correct pass. Against a good team, you have to finish.
"We have to start believing in ourselves and show some character. We have to understand this is not playground basketball anymore. It's high school basketball, and we have to learn to play with a whistle."
The Panthers got a game-high 11 points from sophomore guard Keon Johnson. Whitters added eight and Jamal Brunt and Gerald Brown each had seven.
Pub Date: 1/29/99