Western Tech’s first victory of the season over host Catonsville was extra special for Mike Slepesky, the Wolverines' coach. Slepesky is a 2002 graduate of Catonsville High and enjoyed coming back to his alma mater and watching his team notch a 65-38 victory Friday night.
“It is nice to come here and beat the school that you went to because you always have that competitive edge that you want to beat them,” Slepesky said.
His team, which was coming off a tough 58-47 loss to Milford Mill in a game they trailed by one with four minutes to go, had a competitive edge from the outset — thanks to sharpshooting senior Tyrell Laster.
Laster nailed three three-pointers and scored 11 of his game-high 16 points in the first period when the visitors opened up a 20-9 lead.
“Coach gave me the opportunity to let me play free and I just let it fly and they started to fall in,” Laster said. “My man was losing me and I was getting good screens and my teammates really set me up well.”
Catonsville rode the hot hand of Jamal Tyson (11 points, 9 rebounds) and solid boardwork and passing of Teddy Crayton (6 points, 11 rebounds) to stay within striking distance early into the second half.
“In the second quarter we did a much better job (defensively),” Catonsville coach Matt Fannon said.
When Daniel Carver hit a three-pointer with 5:12 left in the third quarter, making it 32-27, it appeared the Comets were going to make a run.
But, the Wolverines picked up the defensive pressure and pounded the offensive glass and outscored them 20-4 the rest of the quarter.
During the run, Western Tech’s Devin Collins (7 points, 5 rebounds), Khalil Edwards (9 points, 5 rebounds) and John Williams (4 points, 4 steals) all scored following offensive rebounds.
Edwards turned one air ball into a three-point play and Williams turned another into a deuce.
“Those air balls just killed us down low,” Fannon said. “They read it and they got the rebound and they scored. Then, they got a couple turnovers off the press and all the sudden it’s a 12 to 14 point game and it’s hard to come back from that hole.”
Brandon Luster led Western Tech’s defensive purge with six steals.
The Wolverines also had 10 different players get in the scorebook, including Luster, Coyet Goodman and Donald Imes (6 each).
Catonsville’s Tyson and Jack Rasmussen (10 points, 3 blocked shots) were the lone Comets in double figures.
The loss was the second in the first week of the season for the Comets, who fell at Fallston, Dec. 5, in a game they also trailed by five before the host Cougars pulled away.
“The guys are clearly down, but what is different from the past is they want to win,” Fannon said. “They want it and they still have that desire and that fight. They want to get better so they are not taking it lightly, which is good to see.”
Meanwhile, Slepesky was glad to see his team’s progress in the second game of the season.
“Tonight, they did more than what I expected in terms of their effort level, from start to finish, top to bottom of the lineup,” Slepesky said. “I was very, very pleased with that.”