Westminster pulls itself up, sinks Liberty, 69-44

No. 16 Owls wake up after 19-point first half

Boys basketball

January 29, 2000|By Mike Frainie | Mike Frainie,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Being a fly on the wall in the locker room of the 16th-ranked Westminster boys basketball team at halftime might have been interesting last night. The host Owls led Carroll County rival Liberty by 19-15 -- having trailed most of the first half.

Yelling and screaming would have seemed to be the order of business. But they weren't.

The Owls rejuvenated themselves and scored 50 second-half points en route a 69-44 win in a Carroll County League and Central Maryland Conference game.

Jon-David Byers led the Owls (13-1, 7-0 conference, 3-0 county) with 27 points. Marc Falcone led Liberty with 25 points.

"There wasn't much yelling," Byers said. "We knew we weren't playing well, and we have high expectations for ourselves. We were walking up and down the court and didn't move the ball in the first half. That's not Westminster basketball."

Westminster picked up the intensity in the second half, using its defense to ignite a productive transition game.

The Owls held Liberty without a field goal for the first 5: 31 of the second half. In the process, they went on a 19-4 run to break the game open.

"They made up their minds to come out and play in the second half, that's all," said Dave Byers, Westminster's coach and Jon-David's father. "You'd like to believe that they wouldn't come out flat, but that happens sometimes."

The win kept the Owls unbeaten in the county and in the conference. The younger Byers said that's a team motivator.

"We want [to go undefeated]. First, we have to win the county, then the conference. We have a big stretch early next month where we play at three Frederick County schools [Urbana, Thomas Johnson, and Frederick] in the same week, and that will be a major test for us."

The elder Byers said he doesn't have to motivate his players much.

"This is a mature group of kids," he said. "Even tonight, they knew what they were doing wrong, and they corrected it at the half. They weren't happy at all with the way they played."

For Liberty (6-8, 3-5, 3-2), the loss was a bitter pill.

"They came out in the second half and pushed the ball and played over top of us," said Liberty coach Scott Kohr. "We knew they would come out and play tough in the second half, and we didn't respond to it. Give them credit, they played when they had to. But we didn't make it tough on them."

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