Top-seeded New Town (21-3) rallied from a three-point halftime deficit by outscoring Western Tech 26-14 in the third quarter and the hosts held on for a 68-61 victory in the Class 1A North Region semifinals.
Point guard Daniel Shand sparked the third-quarter flurry with seven of his team-high 19 points and four of his team-high seven assists.
“Coach (Mike Daniel) told me great point guards get their team involved so I got my team involved and it opened up for me,” Shand said.
The Titans knocked down four three-pointers in the third quarter, including a pair by Keith Wainwright.
Wainwright scored eight of his 18 points and Justin Brown scored eight of his 15 points in the third quarter.
Western Tech (16-9) led 22-19 at halftime, thanks to strong inside play from Devin Collins (15 points), who had nine points and three blocked shots before intermission.
They trailed 60-44 with 3:45 remaining in the fourth quarter, but junior Donald Imes (game-high 23 points, 11 rebounds) led a spirited comeback with 10 points in the final quarter.
Tre Beverly’s bank shot cut the Wolverines’ deficit to 67-61 with 23 seconds remaining, but they couldn’t get any closer.
“We were lacking on defense," Shand said. "We had the big lead and we thought we were going to pull away, but they kept coming on strong. That’s a good team.”
In the regular-season meeting, the Titans won 64-42.
Western Tech coach Mike Slepesky was much happier with his squad’s effort this time around.
“I was pleased that we played with a very, very high level of intensity,” Slepesky said.
Although his team was victorious, New Town coach Mike Daniel would appreciate a more consistent effort when the Titans face the Pikesville-Perryville winner on Thursday, March 7 at home in the regional finals.
“You’ve got to make them work for everything they get and I don’t think we rebounded well and I don’t think we defended like we are capable of doing,” Daniel said.
At least they heard his halftime speech.
“You know what I told the guys at halftime, ‘sometimes you have bad halves, sometimes you have bad games, you've got to keep playing and I think we did in the third quarter and then we went to sleep again in the fourth quarter’” he said.
They woke up just in time to hold off the furious Wolverine rally.