While two dunks in the third quarter by Towson High’s Derrick Shoats may have excited the fans the most in the Generals’ 77-38 victory over Loch Raven in the first annual Battle of the Beltway, it was the jam he passed up early in the fourth quarter that impressed Towson coach Ryan Holzman.
“After he had about three dunks and he was the star of the show, he got a steal right around halfcourt and he could have come down and dunked again, instead he passed the ball off to Amir Difino and he made that little layup and I think that is emblematic of who he is,”Holzman said. “Derrick is one of the best kids I’ve ever been around when it comes to being a kid.”
Shoats, a 6-foot-3 junior, didn’t gloat about the dunks after the game, even though they came against the school where he played as a freshman.
“It was all in the moment,” Shoats said.
Shoats, who finished with a team-high 16 points, was ready for the moments against his former team well before game time.
“I was thinking about it all day,” he said.
His teammates were equally prepared as the Generals forced four turnovers in the first 68 seconds and jumped to a 9-0 lead.
Akosa Nwadiogbu had a steal and basket to start the scoring and added two free throws, with 6:10 left in the first quarter, to end the 9-point run.
Nwadiogbu’s points sandwiched a conventional three-point play by Shoats and steal and dunk by Hammond Dugan.
Holzman didn’t have to pump up his team before the game.
“Today is the last day before they are off school and I told them in the locker room that certain games you need a hype-up speech, not today,”Holzman said.
Loch Raven’s Damon Jones scored the Raiders first basket with 6:05 left, and after a free throw by Nwadiogbu made it 10-2, the Raiders answered with four straight points on baskets by Jones and Naon Thomas.
Dugan’s putback was answered by a layup fromThomas and the Raiders trailed 12-8 with 4:08 left in the first quarter.
But, that was the closest the Raiders, who were playing without starting point guard Charles Gibson, would get the rest of the night.
With a pressing defense and dominance on the offensive glass, Towson closed the quarter with a 9-2 run, triggered by seven points and a pair of steals by Kaire Trotty (13 points).
Loch Raven had seven turnovers in the fist quarter and made only seven field goals in the final three quarters.
The bright spot for the Raiders, who hosted the special night at Goucher College, came from senior Deshawn Staten, who made two three-pointers and an outside jumper in the third quarter.
But, Towson had extended a 33-18 halftime lead to 37-18 in the first 20 seconds of the second half on baskets by Nwadiogbu and Dugan and the Generals pulled away and emptied the bench.
“I don’t want any credit for anything that happened today. I want everything to be about the players,” Holzman said. “They played so hard and they did everything the right way.”
The starters proved they were worthy cheerleaders for the reserves who outscored the Raiders 19-5 in the fourth quarter.
“We don’t always have games like this, but it’s really nice to have an opportunity to let everybody play and I don’t know what says more, about the way my starters played or about the way they cheered on their guys at the end.”
Derrick Shoats 16, Nwadiogbu 14, Kaire Trotty 13, Hammond Dugan 8, Conner Brown 5, Ben Tribbe 4, Henry Weir 4, Tyriq Wilson 2, Amir Defino 2, Ian O’Malley 2, Nick Testoni 2, Ben Ducharme 2, Milo Fisher 2, Chris Dohony 1.
Loch Raven 38
Deshawn Staten 8, Naon Thomas 8, Tariq Davis 7, Melvin Lucas 4, Damon Jones 4, Mehki Mitchell 3, Xzavia Smith 2, Antonio Coppola 1, Amado Laranang 1.
Halftime: Towson 33-18
Note: In the opening game of the night, the Towson girls defeated Loch Raven, 35-30.