On a night Catonsville High’s Antwan Pearson won't forget, the 6-foot-5 junior made a play Comets fans will remember because it turned a close game with Lansdowne into an eventual 63-43 victory Friday night.
Lansdowne trailed, 18-13, less than three minutes into the second quarter when Bobby Peterson attempted what appeared to be an open 6-foot baseline shot.
Pearson came from the weak side and swatted the ball toward the sideline.
He raced over and saved it and flung a pass up the sideline to Adam Ogbonuba and the 6-foot-6 senior jammed it home, starting a 7-0 run that pushed the lead to 25-13.
Ogbonuba was fouled intentionally on the play and made one free throw and Teddy Crayton fed Ogbonuba on the ensuing inbounds pass and the lead was 23-13.
Crayton assisted Ogbonuba for another layup before Tyler Jones hit a free throw to break the streak.
“I think that was what changed the game,” said Pearson of his block. “I knew I had the chance to get it, so I took the opportunity and blocked it. I knew I could get it from out of bounds and I just saw Adam go and I gave him the pass and Adam went to work."
Earlier, Pearson (20 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocked shots), had hit a pair of rare three-pointers to help the Comets build the lead.
“It (three-pointers) is unusual for him,’ Catonsville coach Matt Fannon said. “Usually, we want him playing inside. He knows its a little running joke. If he makes it okay, if he misses it, he’ll join me on the side. He was 2-for-2 to start off so we can’t complain.”
Pearson added a dunk of his own for the Comets final points of the first half as they took a 31-16 lead into intermission, but he was more excited about the three-pointers.
“We needed somebody to hit the spark and I think that play (block), with the threes, gave us a spark,” Pearson said. “I was hot. Something told me to go.”
Catonsville (6-4) looked on the verge of taking a five-point lead into the second quarter, but DeShawn Bell buried a 40-footer at the buzzer to cut the lead to 13-11.
Bell finished with a team-high 15 points and earned his coach's praise.
“He’s not afraid to look for a shot and take a shot and he generally knocks it down, which is nice to have on offense,” coach Greg Karpers said.
Senior forward Jones has also been knocking down shots and controlling the inside for the 3-2 Vikings, but foul trouble limited his effectiveness and he finished with just 10 points and a rebound.
The Comets outrebounded the Vikings 34-15, but their interior passing was even more impressive.
“Their post players are very active,” Karpers said. “I told our guys yesterday at practice, ‘those guys don’t stand and watch.’ Someone is always cutting and someone is always moving to the open spot.”
Crayton had six assists and Ogbonuba had five to go along with his 15 points.
Musa Wichhart made his final seven field goal attempts in the last three periods and the 6-5 junior forward finished with 16 points.
“I’m happy for Musa because he had a couple tough games where he missed some inside shots, so its good to see him get going,” Fannon said.
The Comets prepared for the game by not practicing on Thursday, after losses to Owings Mills (49-48) and New Town (69-52) earlier in the week.
“We didn’t practice yesterday, we watched film,” Fannon said. “Guys got a chance to see how stagnant we were the past couple games. We said we’ve got to move it. We’ve got to swing the ball, be patient and look inside and good things happen and that’s what happened.”
Lansdowne’s offense never did get untracked against the Comets’ active man-to-man defense.
”They never really allowed us to get into a rhythm and that’s a credit to them,” Karpers said.
Meanwhile, the Comets needed some rhythm after the earlier losses.
“It’s good to see that we can bounce back from two tough losses and they were ready to go,” Fannon said.
Antwan Pearson 20, Musa Wichhart 16, Adam Ogbonuba 15, Teddy Crayton 4, Christian Boxley 2, Jordan Harris 2, Jeffrey Sewell 2, Nathan Hines 2.
DeShawn Bell 15, Tyler Jones 10, Mark Kelly 6, Kyndell Overton 4, Bobby Peterson 3, Edrick Mallard 2, Sammie Samuels 2, Damon Deshields 1.