LeBron stops opponent's leading scorer, then signs some autographs

By TOM WITHERS, AP Sports Writer
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 state tournament game.
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.
"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-of-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," James 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."
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 courtside 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.
Tuesday's game was moved to Canton's Memorial Fieldhouse -- a couple long TD passes from the Pro Football Hall of Fame -- to accommodate another large crowd eager to see James.
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.
James started slowly, missing both of his field-goal attempts and two free throws in a surprisingly scoreless first quarter for the 6-foot-8 senior.
St. Vincent-St. Mary led only 13-12 after one.
But James made his first jumper of the second period, and after being fouled while powering inside for a layup flexed his muscles in front of Hoban's student section.
When he stepped to the foul line, Hoban's fans began chanting "throwback jerseys," a reference to the sports jerseys James accepted from a clothing store that briefly cost him his eligibility.
James made his free throw and shot a menacing stare at the fans seated behind the Hoban bench.
Seconds later, he grabbed an alley-oop pass with his right hand and dunked it to give the Fighting Irish a 22-12 lead en route to a 35-20 halftime advantage.
"As long as we're winning, I can do that," James said of his exchange with the crowd. "If we're losing, I can't. I'm just trying to have fun."
James and his teammates blew the game open by making 24 of 29 shots during an 18:55 stretch and contesting everything Hoban threw up.
"They shot 32 percent from the field, and we shot 60
(percent)," James said. "That's what it's all about."
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)