Towson Catholic tops St. Frances, awaits Loyola for title game Boys basketball

February 20, 1993|By Bob Clark | Bob Clark,Contributing Writer

And then there were two.

With a four-way tie for the regular-season Catholic League championship looming if St. Frances could extend its winning streak to seven games, Towson Catholic took command of its own destiny by toppling the Panthers, 68-58, last night in Towson.

The loss eliminates both St. Frances and Calvert Hall from a possible tie for the title and sets up a championship game in the regular season finale between Towson Catholic (17-10 overall and 9-4 in the Catholic League) and Loyola (20-7 and 9-4) on Sunday at Towson Catholic at 3:30 p.m.

"Now it boils down to us and Loyola Sunday," said Owls coach Mike Daniel. "We just have to perform."

As it did in the first meeting between the two, Towson Catholic extended a seven-point halftime lead to 49-34 after three quarters as Sharif Butler, who led all scorers with 25 points, hit all five of his field goals in that quarter and the Owls connected on 7-of-11 from the floor.

Orlando Ranson, who finished with 17 points, led a Panther comeback that included a 13-point run early in the fourth quarter. That streak closed the TC lead to 52-47 with four minutes remaining.

But a pair of free throws from Charles Harrison and a Jason Fink basket off a feed from Richard Rhinehart (16 points) opened the lead to 56-47 with just over three minutes to play. The Panthers, who finished the regular season at 11-11 overall and 8-6 in the league, got no closer than eight points after that.

"We got a little unraveled during that fourth-quarter run," said Daniel. "But Charlie Harrison hit four big foul shots for us. He pulled it together and took care of business. He came through for us big and had a

big game defensively."

Both teams got off to a slow start as defense prevailed in the early going. But four points from Butler and a medium jumper by Rhinehart built a 9-3 Owls lead with just over a minute to play in the first quarter.

The Panthers then scored the last three points of the quarter to make it 9-6 after one quarter -- a quarter in which the two teams shot a combined 6-for-23 from the field and turned the ball over 10 times.

Towson Catholic held on to a 19-18 lead midway through the second quarter as the Panthers closed the gap to a point on four occasions.

But four points by Rhinehart and a pair of three-pointers from James Burrell (11 points) opened a 29-21 Owls lead in a less than two-minute spurt.

Neither team could do much in the closing seconds of the half which ended with TC in the lead 30-23.

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