Catonsville eliminated, 83-72 Boys Class 3A semifinals

March 12, 1993|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,Contributing Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- For Catonsville, there were no more miracles.

The team that rallied from a double-digit fourth-quarter deficit to beat Potomac in last year's Class 3A title game came up short yesterday in the rematch, falling to the Braves, 83-72, in the state semifinals at Cole Field House.

After completing a 14-1 run to cut the Potomac lead to eight with a little more than a minute left, the three-time defending Region II champions could pull no closer.

"I'm proud of the kids," said Catonsville coach Art Gamzon. "They just battled."

Potomac (24-3) advanced to its second straight Class 3A state title game tomorrow at 3 against Southern, a 54-51 winner over Thomas Johnson in the other semifinal.

The Comets (19-6), attempting to advance to the finals for the third straight year, lost much of their artillery when forward James Lewis picked up his third personal with 6:00 left in the first half.

After hitting seven of eight shots and scoring 16 in staking Catonsville to a one-point halftime lead, Lewis played tentatively the rest of the way, missing his final six shots and going scoreless in the second half.

"He played cautiously the entire second half," said Gamzon. "He's so crucial to us. For us to beat a team like that, he can't be cautious.

"It just tore me to pieces when I had to take him out."

With Lewis in foul trouble, Potomac dominated inside, scoring 19 of the first 22 points to start the second half. Six-foot-eight, 295-pound center William Peters led the way, scoring 22 of his game-high 30 points in the second half, and helping the Braves build their lead to 21 late in the third quarter.

Peters, who was handled by Lewis in last year's title game, said he had redemption on his mind when the Comets' forward picked up his third foul.

"I had nightmares, bad dreams, I cried and I had a year to think about it," said Peters, a junior. "When he came out [of the game], I told the guys to pick it up. They weren't going to push us around again."

Potomac shot 53 percent in the second half, usually feeding Peters in the middle or giving the ball to Matt Brown (24 points) for a drive through the lane.

"When Lewis got in foul trouble we just tried to hammer the ball inside every chance we could," said Potomac coach Taft Hickman. "We were able to really take advantage."

Down 77-56 with 3:16 left, however, Catonsville mounted one last rally that nearly produced dramatic results.

After switching to a full-court pressure defense, the Comets took control, scoring 14 of the next 15 points -- including nine on three three-pointers by Mike Barrett, who led the Comets with 21 points -- to pull within eight with 1:10 left.

But the rally ended when Lewis' three-point attempt -- which would have cut the lead to five with more than a minute left -- hit the front of the rim.

"I was worried, but not as worried as last year," said Hickman. "This time, we just had too big of a lead."

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