After losing by double digits against Gerstell on Saturday, the first of three games in four days for his team, Westminster coach Brett Kanther knew his players were going to need a short memory if they were going to build some momentum heading into the postseason.
It’s safe to say, following a 62-54 victory over Glenelg on Tuesday evening, that defeat is firmly in the rearview mirror.
Noah Westbrook scored a game-high 21 points on 8-9 shooting from the floor, helping the Owls pull away in the fourth quarter against the Gladiators and build on a victory over Francis Scott Key a day earlier.
“We love this group and a lot of credit to our seniors for their resiliency. They never quit, and, you know, Saturday was ugly. We got stomped pretty good,” Kanther said. “But the guys are responding and that’s what makes them so special. We had some adversity, they manned up and have responded to it.”
Westminster improved to 14-7 overall with the victory against Glenelg (13-8), with the Owls also getting strong games from Jahmere Campbell (12 points) and Joey Conklin (11).
In the loss, Tommy Walsh (11 points) and Garrett Mills (10) paced the Gladiators on offense.
It was Westbrook, though, that stole the show early on. The senior guard converted an old-fashioned three-point play less than a minute in and then never slowed down.
By the end of the first quarter, he had already hit a pair of threes and scored 11 points on the way to helping his team to a 21-12 lead.
“I think after that first [3-pointer] went in, I kind of felt good. But it’s always good to get a good layup or something in just to get some confidence going,” Westbrook said. “You start with some easy makes and then work your way out from there.”
Kanther said there have been a few times this season where Westbrook has heated up like that and credited the other players on the floor for continually finding him.
“Noah was unbelievable but credit to our guys for finding him, executing our offense and getting him the ball for good shots,” he said. “But, yeah, when he’s on, you just sit back and enjoy the show. It’s fun to watch.”
Glenelg didn’t just roll over after falling behind, though. The Gladiators methodically chipped away at their deficit in the second quarter, closing to within four, 34-30, at the half following a 3-pointer by Jeffrey Powell.
Then in the third quarter, Glenelg put together an 11-3 run during the middle of the period to actually retake the lead at 43-42.
Just as the momentum appeared to have shifted, however, Conklin stepped up and hit one of the biggest shots of the game. His 3-pointer from the left corner as time expired in the third quarter put Westminster back in front.
From there, the Owls never lost the lead again. Conklin, who is the team’s leading scorer on the season, scored nine of his 11 points on the night over the final nine minutes after a slow start to the game.
Westbrook says the team’s ability to hang around even with Conklin not firing on all cylinders for much of the first three quarters is a testament to its depth.
“We all just know when we’ve got to step up. When someone’s not having a good game, someone else has to step up and we’ve got the guys who can do that,” he said. “We have a bunch of guys that can put the ball in the basket from any range and we just know that if one guy is starting slow, he’ll catch up.
“We’ve just got to pick up for him until he gets back in rhythm.”
Westminster ultimately closed the game on a 20-11 run to create the final margin of victory.
Westminster 62, Glenelg 54
W (9-3, 14-7): Westbrook 21, Campbell 12, Conklin 11, Wright 7, Hawkins 5, Snyder 2, Annulis 2, Vanderwoude 2.
G (4-6, 13-8): Walsh 11, Mills 10, Wade 7, Dry 7, Currie 6, Powell 5, Davis 4, Koele 2, Piwowarski 2.
Half: 34-30 W.
Dundalk 64, Oakland Mills 59
D: Parrish 14, Busby 12, Graham 10, Cook 9, Johnson 8, Brown 6, James 3, Fedd Jr. 2.
OM (3-6, 6-14): Hopkins 21, Wheelock 10, Estep 9, Burgess 8, Eaton 7, Greggs 2, Hairston 2.
Half: 35-33 OM.