Catonsville's James Lewis and Teron Owens aren't the biggest one-two frontcourt tandem in the area. But, as they once again proved last night, they're one of the best.
Lewis, 6 feet 1, and Owens, 6-3, combined for 39 points and 25 rebounds to lead the host and 13th-ranked Comets to a 72-53 win over fourth-seeded C. Milton Wright in a Class 3A, Region II semifinal.
Catonsville (21-2), the region's top seed, will be at home for tomorrow's 2 p.m. regional final against No. 12 and second seed Aberdeen, which beat third seed Parkville, 82-73.
"They're both winners," said Catonsville coach Art Gamzon, of his forwards, who have led the Comets to a 46-3 mark during their two years on the team. "Even though, from a size standpoint, they're not your typical inside players, their skills blend nicely in the paint."
That was apparent early, as their aggressive play on the boards and conversions on the offensive end helped pace Catonsville to a 22-10 lead midway through the second quarter.
Then, ahead, 30-18, late in the half, Lewis scored on a pair of layups following Mustangs turnovers, and Owens added a fast-break layup to give the Comets a 36-18 lead -- their largest to that point.
"I knew I could score inside on them," said Lewis, who had 23 points and 15 rebounds. "The important thing was that we were quicker than them. That made the difference."
Said Owens: "We let the guards handle putting pressure on the ball, and we just handled the boards. We were just trying to get respect."
Owens finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds. The Comets out-rebounded the taller Mustangs, 34-22, by getting multiple offensive rebounds on several possessions.
Lewis and Owens also helped dismiss any thoughts of a Mustangs comeback by scoring 15 of Catonsville's 20 third-quarter points. The Mustangs got no closer than 14 points down in the second half.
But more than their offense, it was the Comets' defense that controlled the tempo of the game.
Playing aggressive man-to-man defense throughout, Catonsville forced 18 turnovers -- most of which led to fast-break opportunities.
C. Milton Wright also forced many bad shots. The Mustangs shot just 38 percent for the game, including 9-for-28 shooting in the first half.
Team scoring leader Brian Grzyb, averaging over 17 a game, was held to just nine points.
"I thought we had the shots, they just didn't go in," said C. Milton Wright coach George Constantine, whose team ended its season at 18-6. "Once you try to play catch-up with this team you've got some problems."