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BOYS BASKETBALL James keys SVSM rout of Hoban



Published: Sat, March 8, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



The Irish star scored 24 points in the 80-48 victory over the Knights.

CANTON, Ohio (AP) -- LeBron James didn't think he had any chance to block the shot. Then he watched the ball land -- 30 feet away, in the bleachers.

James shut down everyone except kids asking for autographs Tuesday night, scoring 24 points and stopping his rival's top scorer as No. 1 Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary romped over Archbishop Hoban 80-48 in a semifinal of the Division II district tournament game.

Tuesday's game was moved to Canton's Memorial Fieldhouse to accommodate another large crowd eager to see James.

The nation's best player showed he also can play defense, limiting June Wilder, Hoban's leading scorer (16.7 points), to just three points on 1-of-11 shooting.

Defense

"It doesn't matter to me if I go scoreless," said James, who came in averaging 31.4 points. "My man had three points, and that's their best player. That's what I care about."

James didn't score in the first period, but finished 11-for-17 from the floor and added three jaw-dropping dunks.

However, his most impressive play came on defense.

St. Vincent-St. Mary led 50-22 when James raced across the baseline and perfectly timed his jump to block Jake Holland's 3-point attempt, sending it seven rows deep.

"I don't know how I got it," he said. "I have no idea. I ran all the way from the other side. I got up as high as I could, and somehow I got it."

Autographs

Following the game, James signed dozens of autographs for fans waiting outside the locker room.

"I want a line, right here, and right here," the 18-year-old superstar told the crowd before grabbing a chair and sitting at the court-side scorer's table. "Where's the kids?"

Even the ones who rooted for Hoban lined up.

The Fighting Irish (20-1), ranked No. 1 by USA Today, advanced to Saturday's district final and will play the winner of Thursday's game between Buchtel and Central-Hower.

Scalpers asked $40 for $5 tickets and a standing-room-only crowd of nearly 5,000 squeezed in to see one of James' final games before he goes to the NBA.




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