Towson Catholic shows No. 9 rating is no fluke Jennifer, Sykes shoot Owls into early lead in 87-69 dusting of Douglass

Boys basketball

January 04, 1998|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

With its Catholic League opener coming up today, Towson Catholic approached last night's meeting at Douglass as a tune-up.

And the Owls did indeed resemble a finely tuned machine.

No. 9-ranked Towson Catholic jumped all over No. 15 Douglass early and cruised to an 87-69 triumph.

Junior guard Keith Jennifer led Towson Catholic (5-3) with 22 points and Todd Sykes added 18 and 11 rebounds. Chuckie Harris led Douglass (4-6) with 17 points, and Joe Ison had 15.

The Owls built a 20-point first-quarter margin, and led in double figures for the remainder of the game as they showed why they will be a serious contender in the Catholic League.

"We did a good job tonight," said Towson Catholic coach Mike Daniel, whose team plays host to No. 4 Mount St. Joseph today at 3: 30 p.m.

"We got everybody healthy right now, so things are kind of working out for us."

Daniel felt his team's play last night was a carry-over from the Slam Dunk to the Beach Tournament in Delaware, where it went 2-1 and finished third in the Tip-Off Classic bracket.

Without a true inside game, Towson Catholic depends on its perimeter game and half-court execution, usually created by the passing of point guard Lafonte Johnson.

Both were working with nearly flawless precision last night. Johnson, a 5-foot-8 junior, had 13 assists as Towson Catholic converted nearly 50 percent of its shots (34-for-73) and controlled the boards (29-18).

Jennifer set the tone early for the Owls, hitting four three-pointers within the first four minutes. His dunk put Towson Catholic comfortably ahead, 27-7, with only 2: 53 remaining in the opening quarter.

"Once the first one went in, I felt I could make all of them," said Jennifer, a 6-2 junior shooting guard who scored 14 in the first period. "We wanted to get it on early and not keep it close."

Douglass was able to get within 12 points on several occasions, but was unable to stop Towson Catholic defensively. Offensively, Harris, who was averaging around 28 points a game coming in, wasn't a factor, scoring 10 of his 17 in the final period.

"We wanted to contain Keith [Jennifer] and Tay [Johnson], but we didn't think they would shoot that well," said Douglass coach Rodney Cofield.

"We knew they were slashers and knew how to get to the basket, but their shooting took us right out of the game."

McDonogh Holiday Hoops: David Lunn had 13 points and seven rebounds as No. 19 McDonogh dropped Bowling Brook, 56-36, in the championship game.

Owen Daly added 11 points for the Eagles (8-1), who led by 11 at the intermission and by as many as 20 points in the second half.

Pub Date: 1/04/98

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