Visiting New Town opened the game at Catonsville (5-4) with a 9-0 run and never trailed on the way to a 59-42 victory Wednesday night.
The Titans (4-4) were led by the senior tandem of Daniel Shand and Kenny Sherrod.
Shand scored all of his game-high 15 points after the first quarter and Sherrod scored all 12 of his points in the second half.
The pair of AAU teammates knew they had to pick up the intensity after a Comet dunk by Antwan Pearson (10 points, 11 rebounds), after a nifty feed from Adam Ogbonuba (11 points, eight rebounds) pulled the Comets within four, 29-25, with 2:30 left in the third quarter.
Shand (seven assists, four steals) answered with an assist to Juwan Dorsey (six points, six rebounds) for a 31-25 lead and Sherrod’s conventional three-point play spread the lead to nine with 1:15 left.
Shand’s pinpoint long bounce pass to Devin Smith (10 points) with one second left gave them a 37-27 lead at the break.
Finding his teammates is what got Shand jump-started after a scoreless first quarter.
“Coach always tells me pass first and it will open up for me and I can take over the game,” Shand said.
His favorite target when he penetrates the middle is Sherrod.
“If I drive, I know the spot where he likes it in the corner, so I’m going to find him for the jump shot.”
The Titans also confused the Comet attack with a 1-2-2 and 3-2 zone that included some freelancing.
“When we call a 1-2-2 or 2-3, the only thing we are calling is a defense, but you’ve still got to play it with your mind,” Titan coach Mike Daniel said. “You’ve got to make adjustments as far as what to do when, and a lot of times that will take us out of that 2-3 set and that 1-2-2 set. We work on that all the time.”
Catonsville missed its first seven field goal attempts in the first quarter and was 2-for-10 from the foul line in the first half.
“In the first half we were very inconsistent,” coach Matt Fannon said.
They rallied in the third quarter behind five points from Ogbonuba (11 points, eight rebounds) and solid rebounding from Pearson.
“We really harped on that (rebounding) because with the one-point loss to Owings Mills (Monday night), a lot of that was attributed to offensive rebounding so in practice yesterday we stressed boxing out, rebounding and crashing the boards,” Fannon said. “I think Antwan did a good job of that and everybody did better.”
They also shot better from the field in the final three quarters, going 13-for-32 after connecting on just 2-of-13 in the opening frame.
Like Catonsville, New Town was coming off a one-point loss Monday against Randallstown.
“We had a really tough game against Randallstown and we lost by one so I kind of felt we would be a little shaky today,” Daniel said. “Good teams overcome, and that’s what we’ve got to learn how to do.”