Local teams take shot at St. James today

February 14, 2002

Local teams take shot at St. James today


Today's Games

4 p.m. - Notre Dame (Va.) vs. St. James

5:30 p.m. - Laurinburg (N.C.) vs. National Christian

7 p.m. - Thomas Johnson vs. Riverdale Baptist

8:30 p.m. - Montrose Christian vs. St. John's-PH

ST. JAMES - St. John's at Prospect Hall can't seem to get away from its own past.

In 2001, the Vikings' boys basketball team returned to the St. James Invitational Tournament for the first time without Stu Vetter as coach - only to face him and his Montrose Christian squad in the first round.


Tonight in the first-round finale, they've got to do it again.

"We love it," St. John's coach Bruce Kelley said. "We've had that 'first time' thing and that's over. Now it's just a basketball game against a good team.


"We play in summer league with these guys; we know their guys."

The Vikings (20-5, No. 7 Herald-Mail poll) also know what success at St. James can do to a team. Last season, they beat Thomas Johnson in the tournament's most exciting game, giving them a mythical Frederick city title and a world of respect.

"They know what kind of notoriety they can get," Kelley said. "They saw what can happen if they play well and get a win."

The Vikings' only problem could arrive on Friday. Point guard Jered Lyons and reserve guard Jon Griffin may miss that day's game, and possibly Saturday's, because of personal reasons. Both are Seventh Day Adventists, and their religion prohibits activities from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> For the home-standing Saints, it's again a matter of David vs. Goliath. It's not exactly Oak Hill, like it was last season - just the most up-and-coming team in the Washington metro area in Notre Dame Academy.

"In the past, we've just had to be superhuman," St. James coach Wayne Ridenour said. "But we'll still have to play very well. Man to man, we just don't quite match up with them."

If anything, the Saints will have the best crowd for the next three days, as the student section along the far baseline will be as rowdy as ever. St. James looks to break a three-game losing streak in its own tournament.

"I've enjoyed this group of kids as much as any I've ever had," Ridenour said. "But we're a different flock of birds here."

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