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No crying by Saints after loss to Notre Dame at SJIT

February 15, 2002

No crying by Saints after loss to Notre Dame at SJIT



By DAN SPEARS
dans@herald-mail.com


ST. JAMES - St. James coach Wayne Ridenour got what he wanted on Thursday afternoon in the first round of the 29th St. James Invitational Tournament. So did Notre Dame (Va.) Academy coach Larry Cullinane.

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It all added up to a 76-55 victory for the Dragons over the never-say-die Saints in the tipoff game of the tournament.

"I said if we could compete, I'd be pleased with our game," Ridenour said. "And we did. It was a nice game for us. I'm proud of them."

Notre Dame, ranked No. 1 in metro Washington earlier this season, stormed out of the gate, opening up a 10-point lead in the game's first seven minutes and led by 20 just 45 seconds into the first half.

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But St. James kept plugging, and the suddenly disinterested Dragons let them back in it.

"We told them 10 days ago that the focus was going to be on Friday," Cullinane said. "They had to do whatever it took to get them through Thursday.

"We controlled it early, and I think the guys thought they'd go away. In the third quarter, they were motivated and we weren't - a good mark for them."

St. James got leading scorers Jared Knotts and Brandon Monroe untracked and closed within 10. It was down 11 after the first play of the fourth quarter before Notre Dame locked back in. Florida-State bound Todd Galloway and Daevon Haskins controlled the backcourt in a 21-8 run over the next six minutes that decided things.

"It was just about being motivated," said Cullinane, whose team plays National Christian for the third time this season in tonight's nightcap at 8:30. "But I think we have to really have to step up and play great (tonight). And they know it."

Joe Posey finished with 21 points while Galloway had 17, including three 3s for each. For St. James, Knotts had 22 and Monroe had 20, while freshman Andrew Dewey chipped in nine and got the biggest cheers from the student section.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> In the second game, National Christian hit six 3-pointers in the first half and coasted to a surprisingly easy 78-61victory over the Laurinburg (N.C.) Institute, which entered the game ranked No. 17 in the country by USA Today.

The Eagles led by six after one quarter before blowing the Tigers away in the second. Point guard Earl Risby and swingman Charlie Bell took complete control as National Christian led by as many as 19 in the period.

Things got no better after the break for Laurinburg, which continued to miss open shot after open shot and throw outlet passes that could only be classified terrible, at best. Reserve guard Javid Padilla put up the best fight of the night for the Tigers, taking an elbow in the throat from Risby and yanking his headband down over his eyes to run away. Risby was ejected on the play.

Risby finished with a game-high 20, while Bell finished with 16. Jonathan Lyles led Laurinburg with 14 points.

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