Girls’ basketball: Spalding will play in National High School Invitational

March 12, 2013

No. 3 Spalding, which fell short of knocking off No. 1 St. John’s in the Bishop Walsh Girls Invitational tournament on Saturday, has new life.

The Cavaliers (29-2) are the only Washington area girls’ team selected to play in the four-team National High School Invitational, in conjunction with an eight-team boys’ tourney, set for April 4-6 at Georgetown Prep. Montrose Christian will play in the boys’ bracket.

ESPN will televise the fifth-year event. The pairings have not yet been announced.

The other girls’ participants are Class 8A Florida champion Dr. Phillips, Class 5A Florida champion Dillard and Life Center Academy from New Jersey. Life Center Academy recently topped No. 6 Riverdale Baptist, the defending NHSI champion, in the National Association of Christian Athletes Tournament.

“It’s just a great way for our seniors to end their careers on national television and a great opportunity for the young kids to get some exposure and have the time of their life, too,” said Spalding Coach Bookie Rosemond, whose team won the IAAM-A championship last month.

“This was part of the goal when we started the season. It’s a chance for us to continue to try to make a name for ourselves and a chance to redeem ourselves from the St. John’s game. This will literally be the only high school game in town across the whole country. We’ve got a chance to play in front of everybody.”

The Cavaliers lost 54-44 to St. John’s in the BWGIT final in Cumberland, Md., on Saturday.

Spalding seniors Camille Calhoun (Virginia Commonwealth signee), Aleah Epps and Torri Chestnut were on the team that lost 61-55 to Dr. Phillips in the NHSI event two years ago. Seniors Jade Scaife (UNC Greensboro) and Sierra Clark (St. Francis, Pa.) joined the team before their junior seasons, transferring from McNamara. Those are the Cavaliers’ five leading scorers.

“It’s a wonderful situation for them,” Rosemond said. “They get to go out with four schools in the whole country and play in the event and get a jump start on their collegiate careers by seeing themselves on national television. It’s something that [Calhoun, Epps and Chestnut] have been looking forward to since the last time we went.”

Spalding played in the IAAM-A final Feb. 19, the BWGIT final March 9 and now has a month before its next game. The NHSI event falls during the Severn school’s spring break week.

The TV appearance not only ushers out the seniors but could help attract their replacements. Spalding will offer at least two things young players might be shopping for — exposure and playing time.

“That’s a nice selling point for us,” Rosemond said.

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