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Archbishop Spalding boys basketball overwhelms Loyola Blakefield, 71-40, for fifth straight win

When at its best this season, the Archbishop Spalding boys basketball team is working hard on defense and sharing the ball on offense.

That was particularly evident against visiting Loyola Blakefield in a decisive chunk of the second quarter on Monday night. In a stretch covering less than three minutes, the Cavaliers pressured the ball, forced turnovers and scored at the other end, leading to 14 straight points that paved the way for a surprisingly comfortable 71-40 win over the Dons in Severn.

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Juniors Ty Peterson and Cam Whitmore shared game-high honors with 16 points, and Jordan Pennick (13 points) and CJ Scott (10 points) helped in the balanced performance.

After a season-opening loss to St. Frances, the Cavaliers have rattled off five straight wins. The Dons, who lost standout junior forward Gavin Walsh to an ankle injury three minutes into the game, fell to 2-4.

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“It’s a tribute to the players — when they lock in, we’re a really good team,” Spalding coach Josh Pratt said. “We preach championship effort and we’re just taking advantage of opportunities. [Loyola coach Josh Davalli] has a really good team, and if you would have told me this would be the outcome, I wouldn’t have bought it.”

The Cavaliers already enjoyed an advantage in size and depth going into the game, so Walsh’s early departure was especially painful.

Early in the second quarter, the Cavaliers’ trapping defense and efficient scoring sent them to victory. Scott scored on the fastbreak, Jalen Bouknight and Peterson followed with back-to-back 3-pointers, Whitmore dunked and Peterson converted a three-point play and added a basket to put the Cavaliers up 30-16 with 2:25 to play in the first half.

The lead grew to 36-17 at the half.

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“I think intensity was the big thing,” Peterson said. “We pushed the ball and got our shooters open, so that’s what really helped us build the lead.”

Spalding's Christopher Scott shoots over Loyola's Ty Hepting during the first quarter Monday night.
Spalding's Christopher Scott shoots over Loyola's Ty Hepting during the first quarter Monday night. (Kenneth K. Lam)

Pratt was most pleased to see the balanced scoring — 10 players scored for Spalding — as the Cavaliers continue to grow throughout the abbreviated season.

“They’ve been practicing extremely hard and I think they appreciate the season; they’re taking advantage of the opportunity,” he said. “We preach it can be taken away tomorrow, so we’re being really careful with the COVID protocols and things like that. I got a bunch of great character kids and they hold each other accountable. You can see that develop and I’m proud of that.”

Peterson sees something special taking place. When asked what makes the team special, he quickly replied: “I think just sticking together. We have good leaders on the team, we all play hard and are just doing the little things — getting back on defense, encouraging each other — stuff like that.”

The Dons got 12 points from Cam Smith and nine off the bench from Foti Georgelis. After the Cavaliers opened the third quarter with five quick points, pushing the advantage to 41-17, the Dons responded with a 9-0 run that showed their makeup.

The teams return to action Wednesday, with Spalding visiting McDonogh at 5 p.m. and Loyola traveling to Gerstell for a 6:30 p.m. start.

LB — Walsh 2, Smith 12, Dixon 5, T. Hepting 2, Fischer 8, Galloway 2, Georgelis 9. Totals: 15 6-11 40

AS — Pennick 13, Whitmore 16, Scott 10, Peterson 16, Bouknight 6, Saucier 2, Nwosu 2, Elung 2, Kostacopoulos 3, Brown 1. Totals: 28 9-14 71

Half: AS, 36-17

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