Digital Harbor boys’ basketball coach Johnny Grimes said his team was little nervous going into its regular season debut Wednesday evening against Archbishop Spalding. It didn’t take long for the No. 5 Rams to find their comfort zone.

Digital Harbor opened a 21-point halftime advantage en route to a 57-28 decision over the No. 16 Cavaliers in a non-league contest in Severn. Ronald Epps scored a game-high 13 points and junior guard Dajuan Cook added 12 for the Rams (1-0 overall).

The Baltimore City school led by as many as 33 points against the MIAA A/Baltimore Catholic league program. With a talented roster of transfers and newcomers, Digital Harbor is expected to be a contender in the Baltimore City league as well as a Class 2A state championship hopeful.

Cook, a transfer from St. Frances Academy who logged quality minutes late in the season as a freshman on City College’s 2009 Class 2A state title squad, and Smith, who spent last season at Huntingtown (West Va.) Prep, both hit the ground running in their debut for Digital. The backcourt combined for 12 points as Digital opened up a 16-6 advantage.

“I think they [Smith and Grimes] set the momentum,” said Grimes. “Defensively, I thought we did real well on the ball and jumping the passing lane.”

Overwhelming the Cavaliers in transition, the Rams upped the lead to 31-10 after intermission. Epps poured in seven points as Digital Harbor led 46-19 after three periods. A follow up by Dontrell Kelly made it 55-22 midway in the final period.

“We were real anxious to get out there on the court,” said Cook. “We just had to turn to the pressure up and get out on them early.”

It made for a long night for the Cavaliers, who suffered their worst loss of the young season. Spalding coach Derrick Lewis was embarrassed by his team’s showing.

“Our players were scared to play them from the opening jump ball,” said Lewis, who made them practice for 15 minutes after the game’s conclusion. “They played harder against each other than they did in the game.”

The Cavaliers will take on Glenelg Country in a MIAA non-conference game Friday. The game is also a candidate the inaugural Varsity Sports Network/Fox 45 Game of the Week.

Digital Harbor gets it first major test Friday evening, taking on No. 2 St. Frances Academy at the inaugural Under Armour Invitational at St. Frances.

“We’ll be ready,” said Grimes. “We’re going to have to find a way to Greg [Lewis] off the boards, and try to put a little pressure on R.J. [Williams].”

“It’s the biggest game on our schedule,” said Smith.


No. 5 Digital Harbor 57, No. 16 Spalding 28
Digital Harbor1615151157
Archbishop Spalding649928
Digital Harbor: Cook 12, Smith 8, Epps 13, N. Manns 8, M. Manns 5, Kelly 6, White 3, Williams 3. Totals: 19 14-21 57.
Archbishop Spalding: Brown 2, Kemp 4, Fisher 7, Dalce 1, Potts 5, Grey 7. Totals: 11 5-8 28.
Halftime: Digital Harbor 31, Spalding 10