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Maryland high school basketball news and notes (3/5/2024)

St. Frances stars go from MPSSAA state titles to a BCL crown; Spalding in Maryland Private School States field;

This time a year ago, Trent Egbiremolen and Josiah LeGree were helping their respective teams to a Maryland state public boys basketball championship. The pair added another title to their resume over the weekend.

St. Frances Academy claimed the 53rd Baltimore Catholic League Tournament crown with a 58-53 victory over Archbishop Spalding at Goucher College. LeGree was the tourney’s Most Valuable Player and Egmirebolen was selected to the all-tournament team.

“I know my teammates trust me…we stuck together,” said LeGree, a 6-foot-1 senior guard. “You can’t lose confidence especially in a game like this.”

LeGree had 25 points, six rebounds, three steals and three assists in the title game. He totaled 59 points in the Panthers’ three tournament victories with 14 3-pointers (six in championship).

LeGree exploded last postseason for Parkville, which claimed the Maryland Class 4A state title (program’s first). He saved the Knights’ season, hitting a 3-pointer as time expired in a 67-66 victory over Dulaney in the North Region I final.

After each won a Maryland public state boys basketball championship last year, Josiah LeGree (left) and Trent Egbiremolen helped St. Frances to a 11th Baltimore Catholic League Tournament title last weekend. Egbiremolen was named to the all-tournament team while LeGree was the tourney’s Most Valuable Player.

After each won a Maryland public state boys basketball championship last year, Josiah LeGree (left) and Trent Egbiremolen helped St. Frances to a 11th Baltimore Catholic League Tournament title last weekend. Egbiremolen was named to the all-tournament team while LeGree was the tourney’s Most Valuable Player.

LeGree, who finished with 27 points in the Dulaney thriller, scored 22 points against Meade in the 4A state final at the University of Maryland. He averaged 15.5 points and 5.3 assists, earning All-Metro first-team status by the Baltimore Sun.

LeGree appeared to be headed to Loyola Blakefield where his coach at Parkville, Josh Czerski, became the new coach at the Towson, Maryland private school, but opted to transfer to St. Frances.

LeGree, who’s attracting interest from Furman University, was appreciative of Czerski and St. Frances coach Nick Myles.

“I thanks Coach Josh for developing me…Coach Nick and the coaching staff for letting me put the extra hours in the gym,” said LeGree. “I’ve been preparing myself mentally for the next level.”

A starter on City’s 28-0 Class 3A state title squad last year, Egbiremolen said St. Frances was “a new opportunity.” The 6-foot-4 junior guard/forward made the most of the chance.

Egbiremolen was the quintessential glue guy for the Panthers, totaling 18 points and 15 rebounds in the semifinal and final rounds. He had 13 of his 17 points in the second half in St. Frances’ quarterfinal victory over John Carroll.

“He makes the play that you need him to make,” said LeGree. “He doesn’t talk much unless you know him.”

“He’s been doing all the dirty work all year,” said Myles. “He’s been our most consistent guy.”

Egbiremolen and LeGree were among six transfers this season for St. Frances (26-12 overall), which was upset in the opening round of the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference playoffs.

Myles admitted this season was a challenge.

A lot of people counted us out,” said Myles. “This is a tough group, but they came together. They really wanted to win the championship.”

Another chance for Spalding in Maryland Private Schools States

Despite falling short of a league title for the second time in as many weekends, Spalding will get an opportunity at the Maryland Private Schools State Tournament Tuesday.The Cavaliers, the No. 4 seed as the Baltimore Catholic League representative, will play fifth-seeded Mount Zion Prep in a quarterfinal match at Spalding.

The other quarterfinals Tuesday feature top-seed Bullis taking on No. 9 seed Rock Creek Christian (White), No. 2 seed Georgetown Prep against No. 7 seed St. Andrew’s Episcopal and third-seed Clinton Grace facing No. 6 seed DeMatha.

Tuesday’s survivors will move on to Thursday’s semifinals, at a site to be determined following completion of the quarterfinals.

The girls portion of the MPSSBT is now in the semifinal round. Top-seed Bishop McNamara will play fifth-seed Mount Zion Prep while No. 2 seed Bullis and third-seed St. Frances will meet in the other semifinal.

Both semifinal matches are Wednesday at Elizabeth Seton.

Jones on the recruiting trail

After being introduced as the new men’s basketball coach at his alma-mater Old Dominion last Friday, Mike Jones was in attendance Sunday at the Baltimore Catholic League Tournament championship game.

Jones, a fixture on the DMV basketball scene for three decades, replaced Jeff Jones, who announced his retirement early last week. Mike Jones was previously an assistant at Maryland after spending two seasons as an assistant at Virginia Tech.

Jones played at DeMatha under legendary coach Morgan Wootten in the late 1980s before continuing his academic and athletic career at Old Dominion. He replaced the Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer on the Stags’ sideline in 2002 and won 513 games, nine Washington Catholic Athletic Conference regular season championships and eight tournament crowns before joining the college ranks.

Feeling “elite” in Maryland public playoffs

The Maryland public state postseason moves into region final play starting Tuesday. The winners Tuesday (boys) and Wednesday (girls) advance to this weekend’s “Elite Eight” round.

Here’s a peek at some of the best boys and girls region final matches.

Bethesda-Chevy Chase at Whitman, 4A West Region II boys final, Tuesday: This will be the rubber match this season between the Montgomery County rivals. Bethesda-Chevy Chase, which won the Montgomery County title, won 74-62 at Whitman, three weeks ago.

Largo at Gwynn Park, 2A South Region I boys final, Tuesday: Most state basketball followers believe this is the 2A championship game. Gwynn Park won at the buzzer over its Prince George’s County rival during the regular season.

River Hill at Long Reach, 3A South Region II boys final, Tuesday: Howard County’s best squads meet for a home game in this weekend’s 3A state Elite Eight. River Hill swept Long Reach en route to the Howard regular season title.

Clarksburg at Frederick, 4A West Region I girls final, Wednesday: Two 4A state title contenders meet for a second time this season. Frederick won the first meeting, 61-53, at home, in the opening week of the regular season.

Mountain Ridge at Southern-Garrett, 1A West Region I girls final, Wednesday: A home game in this weekend’s 1A state quarterfinals goes to the victor. The Western Maryland rivals split (home team won) during the regular season.