Westminster stuns T. Johnson

February 24, 1993|By Bill Free | Bill Free,Staff Writer

The Westminster Owls danced in the middle of the floor last night, and no one could blame them.

The surging Owls had just pulled off one of the biggest high school basketball upsets of the season in the state, stunning powerful Thomas Johnson, 49-47, in overtime in a tense Central Maryland Conference duel in Westminster.

It was also one of the top victories in the history of Westminster basketball and kept the Owls' hopes for a state Class 4A regional berth alive. Westminster most likely would gain a trip to the regionals if it defeats Quince Orchard on Friday night at Westminster in the final game of the season.

Thomas Johnson entered the game with a 19-1 overall record and an 11-0 mark in the CMC. Thomas Johnson's only loss came early in the season to Calvert Hall by one point.

It looked like another possible mismatch like the first meeting of the season between the two schools at Thomas Johnson in January when the Patriots won without working up a sweat.

But last night the Owls (13-8, 9-3 in the CMC) followed coach Dave Byers' well-orchestrated game plan to perfection and held on for dear life in overtime for the win.

Todd Dorsey scored six of Westminster's nine points in overtime to lead the Owls after Russell DeMont's 18-foot jumper with 1:25 left in regulation tied the game at 40 and forced overtime.

Dorsey finished with 16 points and Jamie Grocki added 10 for Westminster.

Byers took Thomas Johnson's top three offensive players -- Mike Anders, Phil Williams and Jamaal West -- out of the game offensively with a well-conceived defensive plan that featured guards Brad Gibson and Matt Brightful playing Anders and West man- to-man.

Gibson frustrated Anders, holding him to four points. Anders entered the game with a 22-point average.

Brightful held West reasonably in check before he spurted in the second half for 16 points to lead the losers.

When the Patriots tried to turn to the 6-foot-8, 265-pound Williams on the inside, he was swarmed by the remaining three Westminster defenders, who limited him to 13 points, below his 17-point average.

The night got so frustrating for Thomas Johnson that coach Tom Dickman apparently tried to pull off one of the oldest tricks in coaching with four seconds left in overtime after a timeout had been taken.

Brightful was at the free-throw line for a one-and-one with his team leading, 49-47, and Dickman started yelling to the officials that Brightful was the wrong man to shoot the free throws.

The apparent strategy worked, as Brightful missed the front end, but Thomas Johnson couldn't tie the game in the final four seconds as Clint Crowder's last-second jump shot was just short of the rim.

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