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March 16, 2009

Weekend wrap — Stephenson, Padgett will play for title

Maryland shooting guard target Lance Stephenson and Terps power forward commitment James Padgett will play for a championship on Saturday.

Stephenson and Padgett led Lincoln High to a 76-64 win over Brooklyn Boys & Girls in the semifinals of the New York City Public Schools Athletic League tournament.

[Stephenson] scored 11 of his game-high 33 points in the fourth quarter, including nine in the final 4:00 when the Coney Island dynamo out-scored The High, 17-5.

“That’s what superstars do,” Lincoln coach Dwayne (Tiny) Morton said of Stephenson, who also had 13 rebounds. “You can’t coach that.”

Morton emphasized the role players, too, if not more so. There was Padgett continuing to impress, scoring 18 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.

Stephenson could announce his college choice after Saturday's game, according to's Adam Zagoria. Maryland, Kansas and St. John's are believed to be the front-runners in Stephenson's recruitment.

• Terps shooting guard target Will Barton (20 points, nine rebounds) led Lake Clifton to a 75-50 win over Friendly on Saturday in the Class 3A state championship game.

"In the beginning of the season, we knew we could do it," said Will Barton, a transfer from National Christian Academy. "I came into Coach Tree's office in the beginning of the year when he first found out I was coming. ... I told him we were going to be a special team, we were going to win states. I just wanted to go undefeated because I knew we had a special group. ... We just had to come to practice and work hard, stay on our books and just play hard to see where we end up at the end of the season. You see where we're at - state champions, undefeated, 28-0, and we just made history."

• Maryland women’s center signee Essence Townsend scored four points, grabbed 14 rebounds and blocked eight shots in Paterson Catholic’s 55-42 win over Bishop Eustace in the New Jersey Non-Public B state championship game.’s Gregg Lerner credited Townsend with Paterson Catholic’s defensive success.

And, I highly doubt there is another post player in the state that has such a game-altering impact in the paint like 6-6 Essence Townsend. Forget her eight blocked shots and 14 rebounds in the 55-42 triumph over Bishop Eustace in the Non-Public B final. It only took one block early to make Eustace players think twice about venturing into the paint. When they did, you could see their concern for Townsend's whereabouts, leading to short shots and tentative releases that played into Paterson Catholic's hands.

• UM women’s combo guard commitment Natasha Cloud helped Cardinal O’Hara to a 44-33 win over Lower Merion in the quarterfinals of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class AAAA tournament.

For the Lions, who went 16 for 31 from the field and 10 for 11 from the line, Natasha Cloud chipped in six assists, three steals and two rebounds.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:40 AM | | Comments (6)


Matt, Does Maryland have a scholarship open for Lance Stephenson? I thought that is the issue with Vinson and one of the reasons he has not decided n Maryland yet? Can you update us on how many openings they have for 09-10" season and for 10"-11 season. Thanks. Great job on your blog!

I believe I've heard one of the deciding factors for Stephenson will be the quality of players he'll have around him. Hopefully he and Padgett can win a city championship and then decide they'd like to try for a national championship, together, at MD. Anyone know how tight these two teammates are?

Terp63 -- Sorry I didn't respond to this earlier. The Terps currently don't have any scholarships open for next season, but I imagine the staff expects there to be some attrition. If Stephenson wants to come, they'll have a spot for him. It sounds like they're prioritizing Stephenson over Vinson at this point. Vasquez (assuming he returns), Hayes and Milbourne will graduate after next season, opening three scholarships for the 2010 class. But again, I wouldn't be shocked to see the scholarship situation change a lot in the coming months.

Matt, thanks for the info. What attrition do you expect? I cannot think of anybody on the current roster that would want to transfer. And you can't revoke a kid's scholarship based on performance on the court, can you? I'd love to get Lance but I'm afraid he's heading to Lawrence...why did SJU and KU have people at the game and we didn't?? Danny Manning - that's a pretty hard sell...

Lincoln -- I'd rather not speculate on the attrition, just because it would just be a guess at this point. Scholarships are technically renewable on a yearly basis, but it's extremely frowned upon to not renew each year. My guess is that some might consider going to a program that has more playing time available, but again, that's just a guess. Not sure why the Terps didn't have any staff members at that game (maybe they did and it wasn't reported?), but they've been up to Lincoln quite a bit.

Can you imagine if Vasquez stays and Stephenson comes? If Vasquez has a finisher like Stephenson that he can drive, get the double team, and dish too, lookout! The fact is Stephenson will do himself a world of good by playing at MD -vs- Kansas. He will have more points and our style of play will showcase his talents better. He is a transition type scorer and he would also do extremely well with his athletic ability in our flex offense. If he looking for a place that will advance in the brainer, TERPS.

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About Matt Bracken

Matt Bracken was a lightly recruited football and tennis prospect out of East Lansing (Mich.) High School in 2001, but spurned all (nonexistent) scholarship offers to attend the University of Michigan. Matt graduated from UM in 2005, earned a master's degree in new media journalism from Northwestern University in 2006, and spent the first 11 months of his career as an online producer / videographer / blogger at the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson. He has worked at The Baltimore Sun since July 2007, where he currently serves as the deputy sports editor for digital.

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