For a half, McDonogh outplayed top-ranked Archbishop Spalding yesterday in Owings Mills, but the Eagles apparently left their game in the locker room at the break.
Playing tenacious man-to-man defense, outshooting the Cavaliers 45 percent to 39 percent in their half-court offense, and out-rebounding the visitors 11-10, the No. 11 Eagles (14-5) took a 23-22 lead to the break.
But Spalding (20-2) started the second half with a 12-2 run on the way to doubling up the Eagles, 24-12, in the third quarter and going on to a 60-53 victory in a matchup of, respectively, Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A and B Conference leaders.
The game produced another bitter non-league loss for the Eagles, who scored 12 points (seven-for-eight at the line) in the final minute to shave a 15-point deficit.
Earlier this season, coach Matt MacMullan's team trailed No. 4 Annapolis 27-24 at the half before losing, 56-48. They later took a 17-point lead into the final period but lost to No. 3 Towson Catholic, 55-47.
"We play good defense against everybody," said MacMullan. "Our problem wasn't on defense tonight. They made some great shots in the third quarter, and you can't give that team any layups, or they'll beat you."
The Cavaliers, also atop Baltimore's Catholic League, won their 10th straight after taking control in the torrid third quarter, landing seven of nine shots from the floor and seven-of-eight from the line.
Aleksandar Pavlovic and Tremaine Robinson scored the first 10 and combined for 13 of Spalding's 24 crucial points following intermission.
Robinson, who tied Derrick Snowden (four rebounds, five steals, three assists) for team scoring honors with 15 points, sandwiched two of his four slam-dunks between a pair of treys by Pavlovic.
Derrick Goode, Spalding's 7-foot senior center who is nursing ankle and back injuries, contributed a basket and two boards in the third-period surge. James Bowen chipped in 11 points.
Neither side took good care of the ball, McDonogh turning it over 20 times and Spalding 19.
But in the second half, the Cavaliers turned McDonogh's mistakes into points, which helped offset an outstanding effort by the Eagles' 6-5 junior David Lunn.
Lunn (five rebounds, three steals) scored 11 points in each half to finish with a game-high 22. T.C. Cosby (eight points), Eric King (seven points) and Bobby Benson, who had five assists and six points, complemented Lunn.
"They're a very good team, and to beat them, we had to play a perfect game with no turnovers," said Lunn, who despite a bad back scored on several back-door layups and from the perimeter.
McDonogh scored 12 close-in points to lead 17-16 after the first period. Lunn had 11 of the points but did not score in a lackluster 6-6 second period.
The 6-8 Pavlovic and 6-3 Robinson threw up stop signs in the lane and on the baseline to deny Lunn. McDonogh's half-court offense seemed to bog down after that.
It was just the third time this season that Spalding trailed at the half, but each time, the Cavaliers bounced back to win.
Pub Date: 2/04/99