No. 1 Owls fend off No. 3 McDonogh

Jenifer scores 38 to spark Towson Catholic, 68-61, but coach still sees flaws

Boys basketball

February 03, 2000|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Veteran Towson Catholic coach Mike Daniel is a tough man to please, which is probably one of the main reasons his top-ranked Owls are among the Baltimore area's boys basketball elite each season.

Though Daniel was pleased with last night's 68-61 home victory over No. 3 McDonogh (15-5), the coach was not satisfied.

Despite a 19-4 overall record with 16 wins in a row, Daniel continues to push his Owls.

"I'm happy we got the win, because McDonogh is a good team that came in to show they belong at No. 3," Daniel said.

"But I just thought that we lost our focus for a minute, and that's all you've got to lose it for. We've got to work on discipline. Even though we've won 16 games in a row, we're still not jelling as a team, but we're going in the right direction."

Senior blue-chip guard Keith Jenifer consistently goes in the right direction and scored a game-high 38 points in a variety of moves and shots. Jenifer scored 23 of his points in the first half to give the Owls a 31-21 lead at the break, but was cooled off in the third period by the defense of Eric King and T. C. Cosby.

Jenifer was held to two points from the line as King and Cosby (14 points) doubled up on him. As a result, the Owls turned to Aaron Early, Darnell Hopkins and Carmelo Anthony to score a dozen more points and take a 45-36 lead into the final period.

Early scored all five of his points with a three and two-pointer back-to-back. Hopkins (eight points) tossed in three points and Anthony closed the third period with a short jumper and a dunk.

Towson Catholic stepped it up early in the final eight minutes, building a 56-43 lead on back-to-back threes by Jenifer, who would score 13 points down the stretch, and Hopkins with just under six minutes left.

McDonogh would not give in, and with 6-foot-5 Delaware-bound David Lunn scoring 12 of his team-high 25 points in the last quarter, the Eagles closed to 62-59 with 57 seconds left.

Lunn produced two three-point plays after Joe Benson's put-back to make it a three-point game.

Their offense and the play inside by 6-8 sophomore Jaz Cowan (12 points) ignited an 8-0 run, but a lackadaisical pass at midcourt was stolen by Jenifer, who went coast-to-coast for a crowd-pleasing slam that shifted the momentum.

Jenifer's two free throws with 14 seconds remaining iced it at 66-59 after the Eagles had missed a pair at the line and a couple shots in the waning seconds.

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