Westminster repeats as county champion

February 25, 1994|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,Sun Staff Writer

It came down to who wanted it more last night when Westminster visited South Carroll with the county title up for grabs.

With a slim 42-40 lead going into the fourth quarter, the Westminster defense put the clamps on and the offense hit 12 of 19 free throws to successfully defend the Owls' county title, 61-42.

It was the fifth straight win for the Owls (9-11, 5-1 in the county) and the second time this week they defeated the Cavaliers (9-10, 3-2). After an early-season loss to Liberty, the Owls were perfect the rest of the way in the county to claim the title.

"The kids went through a lot of adversity early on. Some people sort of wrote them off and the seniors were disappointed by that and they came back and really played well," said Westminster coach Dave Byers.

"You have to give them a lot of credit. They showed they cared enough to come back, and these last five games meant a lot to them."

On Monday, the Owls edged the Cavs, 60-57, in overtime in Westminster to stay alive for the county title.

For three quarters, last night's game looked like it would come down to the wire in much the same manner, but the Owls simply wouldn't have it.

With senior center Russell DeMont dominating at both ends in the fourth quarter (16 points, 11 rebounds and seven blocked shots), the Cavaliers had to abandon their inside game.

The Cavaliers' only two points of the quarter came when Brian Peltier scored with 4:55 left to pull within three at 45-42.

While the Cavs were missing shot after shot from the outside, the Owls quietly built their lead on the free-throw line. A three-pointer by Charles Van Horn (game-high 17 points) with 3:49 left was one of only three field goals the Owls made in the quarter.

"I don't know what happened at the end there," Byers said.

"We were up 42-40 at the start and then I looked up and we had an eight-point lead and then 11."

South Carroll coach Jim Carnes said it was the Owls' interior defense that told the story.

"We were intimidated," he said. "DeMont took over and we just didn't have anything inside. I thought it would be difficult to win two games that close together, but they wanted it more than us. They played with a lot of pride."

Trailing 31-26 at the half, the Cavs rallied to close to within two at the start of the fourth quarter with a third-quarter spark from Jason Harich, who scored all of his eight points midway through the quarter.

The South Carroll defense caused seven Westminster turnovers in the first quarter and helped give the Cavs to a 17-12 lead. Brad Schulze opened the game with the first two baskets and later hit a three-pointer with 40 seconds left in the quarter to give the Cavs their biggest lead at 15-9.

The Owls came back with a strong second quarter and tied things at 22 when Eric Moreau pulled up for a short jumper with 3:10 left in the half.

Still tied at 22, DeMont blocked a Schulze shot, but Schulze got the ball right back and banked in a basket to give the Cavs a 24-22 lead.

The next time down the floor, DeMont answered with a basket inside and the Owls closed the half on a 7-2 run -- capped by a three-pointer by Van Horn in the closing seconds -- to give the Owls a 31-26 halftime lead.

The Cavs end the regular season tonight against Liberty with a slim chance of still making the playoffs.

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