With only a non-conference tournament remaining before the calendar turns over into 2011, the No. 17 St. Paul’s basketball program can look back on 2010 as an absolute success.

In February, the Crusaders won the MIAA B Conference championship and, on Thursday, the Crusaders traveled to Laurel and bounced host St. Vincent Pallotti, 51-34, to capture their eighth win in nine starts this season.  Further, St. Paul’s is off to a 6-0 start in the league.

“In the first half, we came out with a lot of intensity,” said Crusaders coach Seth Goldberg.  “In the second half, Pallotti kind of gathered themselves and we didn’t have the same fire that we did in the first half but we found it.”

As has been its custom for much of the year, St. Paul’s rolled out to a fast start and kept building its lead.  The Crusaders led 12-4 at the end of one quarter and after a buzzer beater by Nigel Sydnor, were ahead 31-11 at the half. 

Sydnor paced the offense with 14 points and Tanner Brooks added 11, all in the first half.  In addition, Lamont Wade, Cliff Cornish and Tony Williams combined for 16 points.

“Coach Goldberg has been talking to us the past couple of weeks about trying to get us started with a good, four minute quarter,” said Sydnor.  “Today we took advantage of the opportunity to come in early, get loose and play as hard as we could.”

Kamau Williard and Langston Barnett each scored eight points to pace the Panthers, which fell to 4-9 overall and 1-6 in the B Conference.

Pallotti was more aggressive in the second half, going on a 7-0 run early in the third quarter to close the 22-point deficit to 15 but the Crusaders (8-1) were too much to handle offensively.

Barnett“That’s been the story of our season so far, the tale of two halves,” said Pallotti coach Shae Johnson.  “We have a lot of inexperienced guards that are new to the team or haven’t played before and we’re just struggling. The guys are working hard, so we’re going to rest up for Christmas, then try to get better.”

He added: “St. Paul’s is the No. 1 team. They are undefeated in the conference so you can’t come out lackluster against them.  You have to come out hard, aggressive and make shots; those were three things that we didn’t do in the first half.”

St. Paul’s will play in the Bethel (VA) Tournament (Dec. 28-29) before returning to conference play with two huge contests the week of Jan. 3.  On the third, the Crusaders will visit Gilman and on the fifth they will be at home to host Glenelg Country, which is also to an undefeated start in the conference.

“For us, it’s about day-in and day-out getting better,” said Goldberg.  “Our goal is to be the best team that this team can be by the end of the year. If the record shows that we’re undefeated and we won a championship or we lost 10 games, then so be it as long as we are the best team we can be.”


No. 17 St. Paul’s 51, St. Vincent Pallotti 34
St. Paul’s
St. Vincent Pallotti
St. Paul’s: Sydnor 14, Davis 6, Brooks 11, Cornish 5, Wade 6, Williams 5, Martinez 2, Norris 2. Totals: 18 11-12 51.
St. Vincent Pallotti: Smith 5, Willard 8, Barnett, 8, Scott 1, Williams 3, Bright 3, Adesanya 3, Holland 1, White 2. Totals: 11 11-18 35.