North Carroll turns tables on off-target Westminster, 61-44

Boys basketball

High School

January 15, 2003|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The new order of Carroll County boys basketball continued to take shape last night.

Host North Carroll, a team with just three wins a year ago, jumped out to a 16-point lead after the first eight minutes and never looked back, delivering a shocking 61-44 defeat to Westminster.

Many have favored Westminster to win the county, and last night's game was representative of a season in which some of the county's traditional also-rans have stepped up with the absence of a dominant team.

"I've played three sports here and we hadn't beaten them once," North Carroll 's Danny Kahline said. "Getting this one is the nicest thing yet. We've always wanted to beat this team, and we came out pumped."

The Panthers (5-6, 4-2 county) controlled the tempo from the outset - slowing a team that prefers to run - forced turnovers and made their shots.

Led by Kahline, who finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds, and seniors Kyle Reese (16 points), Steven Sheppard (12) and Shawn McDonald (10), North Carroll built a commanding early lead with hot shooting on the offensive end and solid half-court defense.

The Owls (5-5, 2-2) started the game just 3-for-19 from the field. Normally devastating from the perimeter, Westminster hit just three of its 14 attempts from three-point range and never got closer than 10 in the second half.

"It was great to be able to get up on this team like that," North Carroll first-year coach Craig Abercrombie said. "They want an in-your-face, up-tempo game, but we wanted to slow it down. When you get a team that likes to run and you get them slowed down, they really don't know what to do sometimes."

Westminster coach Brett Kanther had a different explanation.

"Our kids thought that they could just come out and show up and play against North Carroll, a team that they're used to beating," Kanther said. "They just assumed things, and I told them that in life you can't assume anything. This is what happens to you when you think that you're just going to come out, show up and play.

"I don't think that they have a lot more talent then we do. I just think that they wanted it more."

Brandon Costley led Westminster with 16 points and Dan Simmons added 11.

After the first quarter, the biggest challenge for North Carroll was holding the lead. The Panthers blew a similar lead in an overtime loss to Centennial in their own Christmas tournament.

"I told them when [the Centennial loss] happened that it would be a blessing in disguise," Abercrombie said. "Tonight, we were using that as a rally call."

Said Kahline: "We just knew we couldn't give it up this time."

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