UNIONTOWN — After an impressive season-opening win against South Hagerstown, theinjury-riddled Francis Scott Key boys basketball team had struggled through eight straight losses entering last night's game against Catoctin.
Seeing Catoctin's 0-9 season record had to make the Eagles lick their chops a bit.
But Key coach Jeff Cook came into the game concerned about a young, hungry Cougar team with perhaps its best chance of winning this season.
Not to worry coach.
Key 72, Catoctin 41.
The Eagles scored the first eight points and led from start to finish in improvingto 2-8 overall and 2-4 in the Monocacy Valley Athletic League.
"Itold my kids going in that we'd better be mentally prepared because (Catoctin) maybe felt this is the one game they could win," Cook said. "It was good for us to come in and play well and win. We needed a game like this to get a win."
The Eagles' strong inside game and relentless defense proved too much for the visiting Cougars.
Key forward Scott Kreit got things started in the game's first minute with athree-point play. Point guard Dave Layman drilled another three-pointer moments later to give Key an 8-0 lead.
Catoctin guard Greg Savage kept the Cougars close in the first quarter with a trio of three-pointers, but Eagle forward Steve Wright answered with 10 points of his own, mostly coming inside off offensive rebounds, to give Key a 20-13 lead after one quarter.
Key broke it open in the second period, going on an 8-0 run midway through the quarter to go ahead, 35-16. Layman finished the run with a pair of free throws and a jumper.
It looked like it was time for Cook to put in his substitutes, but theEagles didn't have too many. Center Eric Bohn and Guard Jason Smith are both out with injuries and the Eagles dressed only seven players.
The half ended with the Eagles ahead, 39-22, and in total control.
It was more of the same in the third quarter, with Key building a 61-35 lead. Layman did much of the damage midway through the quarter, hitting a jumper and following that up with a layup at the four-minute mark.
Key scored the quarter's final eight points on buckets by forward Paul Coale and Kreit sandwiched between four points from forward John Engle.
Layman led four Eagles in double figures with 17 points. Wright threw in 15 and added a game-high 14 rebounds. Kreithad 15 points and dished out eight assists, while Coale chipped in with 13 points.
Cook is hoping last night's contest can be a turning point for the Eagles' season, heading into the meat of the MVAL schedule.
"We've got to win the games at home and hopefully steal a few on the road," he said.
"We've lost a lot of close games this year and are a lot better than our 2-8 record. Hopefully, this kind of win can turn things around and we'll start wining the close ones."
Key's next game is Friday night at Brunswick of Frederick County.
Catoctin, 1-7, won the junior varsity game, 47-43.
John Crooks scored 13 points in a losing cause for the jayvee Eagles, who dropped to 0-8 on the season.