Little North Carroll out-hustled, out-scratched and outfought Westminster last night, but the Owls still escaped with a 43-39 victory in overtime in a loosely played basketball game that was marred by 46 fouls.
The heavy underdog 2A Panthers did everything but win the Carroll County matchup against a 4A Westminster team that was far from on its game.
Russell DeMont, Westminster's 6-foot-8 center, got into early foul trouble and never got into the momentum of the game before fouling out with 1:49 left in regulation.
DeMont had only three points against the swarming Panthers defense, leaving the Owls (4-10 overall, 3-3 in the Central Maryland Conference, 1-0 in the county) almost helpless on offense most of the evening.
Westminster scored only three points in the third quarter and 10 in the fourth, giving North Carroll (3-12, 0-5, 0-3) a golden opportunity to send the game into overtime.
The Panthers took advantage with two seconds left in regulation, when Chris Wunder hit a looping three-pointer from the corner to tie the game at 37.
But North Carroll couldn't continue the run in overtime, and guard Steve Mays stepped to the line with 21 seconds left and virtually wrapped up the victory for Westminster by converting a one-and-one to send the Owls ahead 43-39.
Eric Moreau had sent Westminster ahead 41-37 with a 10-foot jumper and two free throws in the first two minutes of overtime.
Kris Heefner's two free throws reduced Westminster's lead to 41-39 with 40 seconds left, but Wunder missed a jumper from the corner with 31 seconds remaining in an attempt to tie the game.
Charles Van Horn led Westminster with 11 points, and Chris High had 10.
Bruce Wright had 14 and Heefner 12 for North Carroll.
Owls coach Dave Byers said: "Give North Carroll all the credit in the entire world for the way they played. They were extremely aggressive, fought us more than equal the entire game."
North Carroll coach Troy Warehime shuffled players in and out of the game and had his team doing everything right defensively to make it close.
"I'm extremely proud of my kids," Warehime said.
"We slowed it down, we double-teamed DeMont and made them shoot from the perimeter. You hate to lose a game you could have won just by hitting your free throws [North Carroll was 11 of 24]. I mean you don't have to be a great player to hit free throws. We practice and practice shooting free throws, but couldn't hit them tonight."