T. Johnson settles score with Owls

Westminster tripped up, 77-54, in CMC rematch

Boys basketball

February 02, 2000|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

FREDERICK -- If Westminster had visions of sweeping defending Class 3A state champion Thomas Johnson this season, the Patriots squashed those dreams -- in a hurry.

Junior forward Ron Wells scored a game-high 24 points and host Thomas Johnson reasserted it's dominance in the Central Maryland Conference win a 77-54 victory against the 15th-ranked Owls last night.

Westminster stunned the Patriots by beating them at Westminster on Jan. 7 and ending their 76-game unbeaten streak against conference opponents.

As in that game, junior shooting guard Jon-David Byers led Westminster with 20 points -- nine off three-pointers -- but the Owls could not contain Wells, junior forward Joe Higbee (22 points) or sophomore guard Jermaine Thomas (17 points).

"You have to give a tremendous amount of credit to TJ," said Westminster coach Dave Byers, who watched his team drop its first conference game in eight games and fall to 13-2. "They were really aggressive on loose balls and the boards. They hurt us on a number of possessions because when they missed their shots, they got them back."

Senior forward Nick Hohenwarter, who was limited to a quiet 11 points, five rebounds and five assists, blamed the loss on the team's inability to get off to a strong start.

"The past couple of games, we've been coming out really slow," he said. "We have to pick it up because everyone is coming after us."

The Owls got on the board first thanks to a three by Byers, but Thomas Johnson (12-2 overall, 9-1 in conference) scored the next 12 points.

Westminster cut the lead to nine at the end of the first quarter, but the trio of Wells, Higbee and Thomas punished the Owls on the boards by grabbing 13 total rebounds in the first half.

With the Patriots enjoying a 37-22 lead to start the second half, Westminster went on a 13-7 run to cut the lead to nine again with 4: 36 left in the third quarter.

But the Owls scored only five more points the rest of the quarter, while Thomas Johnson scored 18 to dash any hopes of another Westminster upset.

Patriots coach Tom Dickman said his squad focused on slowing the Owls in transition.

"They were beating us down the court and throwing over the top when we lost to them," he said. "We were conscious of keeping them in front of us."

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