Late in the third quarter of the game against Carver A&T on Friday night, Towson High coach Tim Gavin was starting to get nervous.
The Generals' seemingly comfortable 19-point lead was under double digits and the game was possible going to "slip through our fingers," as Gavin put it after Towson eventually prevailed, 62-47.
Despite owning a 34-15 advantage at halftime, the Generals (4-4) could not put the Wildcats (1-6) away until late in the contest.
That's because Thomas Cook went on a scoring rampage for Carver A&T, pouring in 15 of his game-high 22 points in the third quarter.
During Cook's spree, the Wildcats pulled to within striking distance while simultaneously striking fear into Gavin's heart.
"I give all the credit to their coach," Gavin said, alluding to Carver A&T coach Aaron Robinson. "He put their guys in the right place. He made a couple of great halftime adjustments."
Whatever Robinson did to shake Cook free worked. The 6-foot-3 junior was virtually unstoppable, scoring on an array of jump shots, layups and free throws.
Although Cook cooled off in the final quarter, he still produced another basket and assisted teammates on three other buckets.
"When he plays better, everybody else plays better, too" Robinson said about his leading scorer.
Considering the team suited up only eight players, Cook and his mates finally succumbed to the Generals' superior depth that boasted 11 players in the scoring column and a couple of more who participated and did not score.
Even though Carver A&T cut the lead to eight midway though the final period, one of Towson's heroes of Wednesday's triumph over Overlea, junior Nyekwon Carter, helped dash the upset bid when he converted a feed from sophomore Colby Hogan to start a decisive 7-0 closing run.
That the game was ever that close bugs Gavin.
"I could tell at halftime that, by the way guys were goofing around, we were in trouble," he said. "We still don't know how to handle success, and Carver was not going to lay down for us."
Still, the win at Overlea — the first over the Falcons during Gavin's three-year tenure — was a key moment for the Generals.
"Nyekwon was huge for us and our big guy (6-foot-9 junior Sebastian Amberger) had five blocks in the fourth quarter," he said. "We couldn't have won without him."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun