Westminster wins, 66-52, but declines to celebrate

Owls see some negatives in fifth straight victory

Boys basketball

High Schools

January 05, 2000|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

Westminster's players know coach Dave Byers demands execution and intensity from them.

Perhaps that's why some of them were more critical of their play in last night's 66-52 victory over Liberty in Eldersburg than their coach.

"We didn't play well," said junior guard Jon-David Byers, who scored 18 points and had five steals. "We had a sluggish practice last night and it showed today."

Added senior forward Nick Hohenwarter: "We played all right, but there were some little fouls that we have to avoid. We need to step up and be more aggressive."

Nonetheless, with the win, the No. 19 Owls (7-1) extended their unbeaten streak to five games and appear to be riding a solid wave of momentum heading into Friday's home game against defending state Class 3A champion Thomas Johnson.

Last night's game featured a matchup between two 6-foot-7 forwards in Hohenwarter and Liberty senior Marc Falcone.

Although the two rarely covered each other -- Lions coach Scott Kohr assigned junior forward Robbie Ruch to guard Hohenwarter for most of the game -- Hohenwarter and Falcone showed off a variety of low-post moves and outside jumpers to score 25 and 17 points, respectively.

Falcone, who finished with four rebounds and four blocks, downplayed the rivalry, but Hohenwarter said he felt the pressure.

"I was definitely fired up for this game," said Hohenwarter, who also recorded 10 rebounds and three blocks. "I was ready to play him."

Westminster, which won its own Holiday Tournament last week, entered the second quarter with an 18-11 lead.

After Falcone answered two Owls baskets with a three-point play and a jumper, Westminster went on an 8-0 run over a four-minute span.

When Falcone converted another three-point play with 2: 27 left in the half, the Owls followed with a 6-0 run to walk into the locker room with a 36-19 lead.

Liberty made the outcome interesting when senior forward Shawn Steinacker scored five of his six points and senior guard Mike Bowers scored six of his eight points in a 15-5 run to narrow the gap to 12 with 5: 20 left.

But Westminster's lead was too great and the Owls hit four of six free throws to ice the game.

The importance of last night's county season opener for Westminster became apparent with a 22-point lead at the 3: 05 mark of the third quarter.

Incensed that his team fouled Steinacker as he grabbed an offensive rebound, Byers called a 20-second timeout and yelled at his players to stop committing touch fouls.

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