Catonsville wanted redemption for its early-season loss to Perry Hall. Yesterday, the host Comets got it.
James Lewis and Printice McNair anchored a strong inside game, and No. 16 Catonsville used an early 20-2 run to break the game open en route to an 86-57 victory over No. 19 Perry Hall in a Baltimore County Class 4A-3A game.
Perry Hall (8-3 overall, 6-3 county) defeated Catonsville, 72-55, last month. Catonsville (8-2, 7-1) did not want a repeat of that performance.
"They surprised us [last time]," McNair said. "This game, we knew we had to play hard and do what we had to do [to win] the first game, and we did it."
The keys for Catonsville were rebounding (a 54-20 advantage) and playing tough inside defense. Lewis turned in a stellar performance with 31 points and 22 rebounds. McNair finished with 14 points and 13 rebounds.
"I'm much bigger than some of them," said the 6-foot-2, 210-pound senior forward. "I just used my body weight and strength."
Perry Hall often went minutes without rebounds, and second shots were few and far between.
Catonsville coach Art Gamzon said the tone was set five seconds into the game when Michael Liggins slapped a shot by Jeff Burrows (17 points) off the glass. Liggins was called for a foul, but the Comets got fired up.
After an even start, Catonsville went on a 20-2 run that gave them a 24-7 lead early in the second quarter. Lewis scored 10 of his points during the run.
Catonsville extended the lead to 42-20 by halftime. Lewis scored the Comets' first nine points of the third quarter and added his final basket of the period on a left-handed tip-in.
The Comets, who also got 20 points from Michael Barrett, never were threatened after the early moments, but Perry Hall did make a brief charge late in the third quarter. Catonsville blunted it with a 12-4 run.
Perry Hall coach Phil Walter agreed that the rebounding and Catonsville's intensity were key factors.
"They just came out there and got every rebound and every loose ball," Walter said. "They wanted it more. They were the better team, by far."