James dazzles again for nation's No. 1 team

By TOM WITHERS, AP Sports Writer

CLEVELAND (AP) - For eight breathtaking minutes, LeBron James did it all. He dazzled, dunked and delivered a performance that even he thought was spectacular. And the nation's best high school player said he can play even better.


James (pictured, right) scored 13 points and had a hand in 20 of his team's 26 points in the third period Sunday to lead No. 1 St. Vincent-St. Mary to a 76-41 rout of 18th-ranked Detroit Redford at the Great
Lakes Hoops Classic. James finished with 30 points, 14 rebounds, five steals and four assists.

Asked to grade a third-quarter in which he single-handedly took over the game, James said: "A-plus. But I can always play better."

At halftime, the Fighting Irish (10-0) were leading just 27-21 and James was in trouble after picking up his third personal foul with 1:39 left before intermission and had to come out.

As he reached the bench, James kicked over his chair in disgust. But from his first shot of the second half, it was clear James was back on his game.

After sinking a 3-pointer, James drove the lane and drew three defenders before passing to Romeo Travis for an easy layup. James then dropped a soft shot off the glass before his steal and layup capped a 9-0 run that put his team up by 13.

Later in the period, James hustled down the floor and stuffed in a missed layup. Seconds later, he made a steal at halfcourt, and as he drove to the basket, 8,000 fans in Cleveland State's Convocation Center rose in anticipation of James' monstrous dunk.

James then closed the quarter with a beautiful pass underneath to Preston Sims for an easy basket as St. Vincent-St. Mary opened a 53-34 lead and coasted.

"We were overmatched," said Detroit coach Derrick McDowell. "It wasn't even close."

In the fourth quarter, James got free for another breakaway. But instead of a dunk, he softly laid it in and was booed.

"I do the unexpected," he said, laughing about the crowd's response. "Everybody thought I was going to dunk it, and I didn't."

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)