Thomas Johnson turns back Westminster in OT, 62-58

Owls miss chances at free throws, rebounds as 12-2 Patriots prevail

Boys basketball

High Schools

January 31, 2001|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

The close losses hurt a lot more than the lopsided ones.

And Westminster's boys basketball team was hurting badly after last night's 62-58 overtime loss to Central Maryland Conference power Thomas Johnson in Westminster.

The game couldn't have been much closer.

After lighting up Thomas Johnson (12-2 overall, 10-0 league) for 10 three-point baskets, all the Owls needed was one free throw. Howie Williams went to the line for the Owls' only two foul shots of the game after time had expired in regulation with the score tied, 54-54.

But Williams, who was fouled trying to put back a missed shot by Matt Frame, clanked the first shot off the back of the rim and missed the second one badly off the front of the rim, as coach Tom Dickman's Patriots held their collective breath.

In overtime, Thomas Johnson built a 59-56 lead on two baskets down low from Rashad Wells (17 points) and a free throw by sophomore guard Jamar Garner (12 points).

Frame (15 points) drove for a basket with 19 seconds left, making it 59-58.

Then, the Owls lost the game because of poor defensive rebounding.

Joe Higbee of Thomas Johnson, who defended Jon-David Byers well in the second half, made one shot and missed the second one, but the rebound went off Williams out of bounds with 12 seconds left.

TJ's John Foley missed a one-and-one but the rebound again went off a Westminster player with six seconds left. Garner sealed it by hitting two free throws.

"We had opportunities to win and got everything we wanted," Owls coach Dave Byers said. "It was just a matter of finishing."

The Owls (10-6, 4-5) sank five three-pointers in the first quarter, three by Byers (20 points) and two by Frame, and jumped to a 17-12 lead. A strong nine-point second quarter by Jermaine Thomas (21 points) brought the Patriots back within two points at halftime.

"Byers came out hitting 32-foot shots and they got a jump on us," Thomas said. "This is a tough place to play, but good teams find a way to win, even when they don't have their best night."

The Owls clogged the lane and prevented Thomas from driving the way he did in an earlier 14-point Patriots' win against the Owls.

Frame used his quickness and good footwork to make Thomas work hard for everything he got.

"I thought we were being extra cautious and passed up a lot of open shots," Thomas said. "But we knew if it went to overtime, we were going to win it."

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