Esteves' free throws help Owls post win Westminster holds off slumping N. Carroll, 64-60

Boys basketball

January 21, 1998|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,SUN STAFF

Westminster, down for much of the first three quarters, saw most of a late seven-point lead disappear, then used five free throws by Desmond Esteves in the last 34 seconds to hold off visiting North Carroll last night, 64-60.

This was the first county game for Westminster, as it improved its overall record to 9-4, 3-2 in the Central Maryland Conference. North Carroll, which has lost eight of its last nine, dropped to 5-9 overall, 1-5 in the CMC. It was the Panthers' second tough county loss -- South Carroll had beaten them in the county opener last week, 53-52.

Three baskets by as many players gave the home team a 59-52 edge with 2 minutes, 26 seconds left. But Todd Asplen's three-point basket from the corner, his fifth and last of the night, and three foul shots (one by Brian Bradshaw and two by Pat Winemiller) closed the gap to 59-58.

Two Esteves free throws made it 61-58; a moment later a Westminster double-team forced a turnover, and Esteves was fouled. When the second of his two shots hit the front rim, bounced up, and fell through, it was 63-58.

With an assist from a lane violation, Asplen made two foul shots for 63-60 with 14 seconds to go. Then, on a trap and what Robbie Vaughn thought was a clean steal, the North Carroll senior was whistled for a foul. With 11 seconds left. Esteves made one of two chances to clinch it.

Earlier, North Carroll had spotted the Owls the first basket, then took charge, twice building seven-point leads. The Westminster senior triumvirate of Aaron Krug, Sean Davis, and Esteves got a basket apiece, helping their side close the gap to 32-30 at the half.

Tied at 32, the Panthers collected themselves and produced an 11-0 run, including six points by Vaughn and an Asplen three-pointer for 43-32 at 3: 24 of the third quarter. They got it to 47-38, before the Owls battled back.

Two free throws and a three-pointer by Krug, a Davis three-pointer, his only basket of the second half, and a shot by Nick Farver gave the Owls the lead, 48-47, with 6: 25 remaining. After a North Carroll basket, Krug put his side up for good at 50-49.

"We played some good defense in the fourth quarter and forced some turnovers," Westminster coach Dave Byers said. "At the end, I didn't think we managed the clock very well, but Des hit some clutch free throws.

"For the first three quarters, North Carroll was going faster than we were. Give them credit; they shot the ball really well," Byers said.

Asplen (20) and Mike McComas (14) had their best scoring efforts of the season, while Esteves, Krug and Davis combined for 46 Owls points.

Pub Date: 1/21/98

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