With their double-digit lead down to 1 in the final minute, Northwestern showed poise at both ends to secure a 49-44 win in the Baltimore City Division II championship Saturday at Morgan State.
Junior forward KeAndre Cook, who scored a game-high 16 points, provided most of the answers at the end. After KASA’s Davonte Lewis hit a 3-pointer from the left corner to cut the lead to 45-44 with 55 seconds to play, Cook hit two free throws after getting fouled on a drive to the basket.
On KASA’s next possession, Cook jumped out to block DeAndre McCormick’s 3 point try and the Wildcats added another basket late to close out the win.
After going 7-18 last season, Northwestern is now 16-5 this season.
“The key down the stretch was just play hard, play good defense and just slow it down," Cook said. "I was just focused and wanted to play hard and win a championship. This means a lot to this program. We worked hard in practice every day, we fought and it paid off.”
After going 7-18 last season, Northwestern is now 16-5 this season. The Wildcats avenged a 61-48 loss on Feb. 4 to KASA, which finished in first place in Division II play during the regular season.
In addition to Cook’s strong play, the Wildcats got 14 points from junior Martaz Boone. Greg Ash Jr. added nine points.
“We’ve been priding ourselves on defense all year – that’s our stickler. We have to be able to stop people to win basketball games, and we got the stops when we needed them,” said Northwestern first-year coach Richard Epps, who returned to his alma mater after a successful coaching tenure at Owings Mills.
Lewis finished with 14 points to lead KASA. McCormick had 11 points.
Baltimore City Championships
(at Morgan State)
Northwestern 49, KASA 44
NW – Cook 16, Boone 14, Ash Jr. 9, Scott 7, Winkley 3.
KASA -- Da. Lewis 14, McCormick 11, Barnes 5, Bishop 6, Powell 8.
Half: NW, 23-13