Towson Catholic puts down Spalding Sykes sparks clinching 4th-period run for Owls

Boys basketball

January 24, 1998|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Just when it looked as if host and fifth-ranked Archbishop Spalding was ready to take over the game to start the final period, No. 3 Towson Catholic asserted itself and put the Cavaliers away, 77-56, last night.

Towson Catholic (12-3) senior guard Todd Sykes scored seven of his 18 points in a 13-4 run to start the final period and a 41-36

lead zoomed to a commanding 54-40 advantage.

Spalding (13-8) had overcome a 31-18 halftime deficit with a strong third period to pull within five points, but the Owls refused to collapse in Spalding's noisy gym in Severn.

"We played well in a typical Catholic League game," said Towson Catholic coach Mike Daniel. "We were the better team tonight against a very athletic team."

The two teams came into last night's game tied for first place in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference at 4-0 each, but the visiting Owls held a one-game advantage -- now two -- over Spalding in the Baltimore Catholic League.

Towson Catholic is 6-0 in the Catholic League and 5-0 in the A conference with Spalding falling to 4-2 and 4-1.

"We just have to keep on playing well and stay focused because of the competition in the Catholic League," said Daniel.

In a game that started a half-hour late because of the preliminary JV game, Spalding came out rather uninspired, a factor both coaches alluded to.

"I think getting out on them early was the difference in the game," said Daniel.

Spalding coach Tony Martin couldn't figure out why his players didn't come out ready to play.

'We didn't come out with the same kind of intensity we had been playing with, and they're a very good team," said Martin. "I don't know why. No excuses. When we got close in the third period, we just couldn't get over the hump."

Another factor was the Owls' spread zone that enabled them to contain the Cavaliers' 7-foot junior center Derrick Goode. Goode had eight points and six rebounds, well below his double-digit season averages in both.

"Teams are using a lot of things against us," said Martin, "trick defenses, and various zones, and we have to adapt."

Daniel said the Owls had a plan to slow Goode.

"We just wanted him to move around a little bit to try to frustrate him, and it worked tonight," he said.

Spalding sophomore point guard Derrick Snowden led his team with 15 points, and Tremaine Robinson scored 11 points to go with six rebounds.

Towson Catholic also hit its foul shots down the stretch, sinking 16 of 20 in the final period.

"Our whole team played well," said Daniel. "All our guys stick together."

Six Spalding turnovers and the inability of the Cavaliers to get the ball inside to Goode led to a 15-8 lead for Towson Catholic in the first period. Sykes scored six of his 18 points in the first eight minutes.

Laphonte' Johnson, who had eight assists, dished off four assists to propel a 16-point second period and 31-18 halftime lead for the Owls. Sykes finished the half with 10 points.

Spalding's scoring was spread around, with Snowden the leader with four points, as the Cavaliers sank only seven-of-21 from the floor in the half.

Tomorrow, Spalding travels to Hagerstown to take on St. Maria Goretti, while Towson Catholic will play host to No. 4-ranked St. Frances.

Goretti knocked off Calvert Hall 57-40 last night, and St. Frances was upset by Cardinal Gibbons, 67-66, in overtime.

Pub Date: 1/24/98

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