Baltimore County Sports

Perry Hall boys basketball rallies late for 63-60 road victory over Catonsville

Perry Hall boys basketball trailed by four after Catonsville’s Mike Owens made a pair of free throws with 1:08 remaining in the fourth quarter, but the Gators scored the final seven points for a 63-60 victory over the host Comets on Wednesday.

The rally began after starting point guard Jacob Jacks left the game because he had blood on his arm. Perry Hall coach Joe Carlineo substituted Zion Gross, who knocked down a 3-pointer with 52 seconds left to pull the Gators within one.


A backcourt violation with 42 seconds left gave Perry Hall a chance and senior sharpshooter Stefan Macakanja made his eighth 3-pointer of the game to give the Gators a 62-60 lead. Perry Hall forced another turnover and a free throw by Gross closed the scoring. An off-balance 3-point attempt by Catonsville’s Colin Harshman caromed off the front of the rim.

“I had to come up clutch for my team,” said Macakanja, who finished with a career-high 31 points. “They relied on me and I had to put them on my back.”


Macakanja was the only Gator in double figures. Harshman (19 points), Owens (17) and Trey Gould (15) led the Comets.

While Macakanja’s long-range attempt was expected, Gross’ was not, considering he only played briefly in the second quarter.

“All kids like to shoot and he’s a good foul shooter, so we wanted him in the mix in the end,” Carlineo said. “He’s shooting about 72% from the foul line this year, so at the end we wanted him in there.”

Perry Hall’s Tryston Ofoh makes a shot over Mike Owens after a chaotic recovery during the Gators' 63-60 victory over Catonsville.

“[Gross] came up clutch and I rely on my players and I have a lot of trust in them,” said Macakanja, who wanted the ball on the next possession after nailing four 3-pointers in the third quarter and one earlier in the fourth. “We were just thinking like, get the best shot possible, but I was on fire, so I had to shoot it.”

As hot as the Gators were shooting in the second half, they were ice cold at the start of the game. They missed their first 10 field goal attempts as Catonsville raced out to an 11-0 lead.

Gould scored five and Harshman added four during the early Comets run. The lead expanded to 14-2 with 2:30 left in the first quarter after a 3-pointer by Owens, but threes by Macakanja and Tryston Ofoh cut the deficit to 14-8 at the break.

Perry Hall rallied with a 14-3 run to take a 22-17 lead with 4:17 left in the second quarter, before the Comets closed the half with an 11-2 surge for a 28-24 lead.


Macakanja’s spot-up threes, a 3-pointer by Zakariyya Sims and a conventional three-point play by Toma Smith helped the Gators take a 48-40 lead after three quarters.

“We weren’t doing a good job of our rotations, a lot of [Macakanja’s] shots were coming off passing him the ball,” Catonsville coach Jason Harris said. “We were just losing sight of where he was.”

In the fourth quarter, the Comets employed a man-to-man defense and forced the Gators into six turnovers.

Colin Harshman pulls up for a fadeaway against defender Mike Hicks during Wednesday's game against Perry Hall. Harshman scored a team-high 19 points.

Harshman’s 3-pointer ignited a comeback and the Comets tied the game at 48 on a 3-pointer by Owens, but the Gators answered and took a 53-49 lead on two free throws by Jacks with 3:30 left.

Aaron Mekonen cut the lead to 53-51 before Macakanja’s three with 2:35 left appeared to be a backbreaker for the Comets.

But they showed no quit. Harshman hit a short jumper and two free throws and Gould’s steal and three-point play gave the Comets a 58-56 lead with 1:30 left. Gould added two free throws 22 seconds later, but it was the last of the scoring for the hosts.


“There were spurts in the game where we were doing a good job, but at the end of the day it comes down to consistency,” said Harris, whose Comets have lost three straight and are 8-5 overall. “We can’t get too high, we can’t get too low, we’ve got to be aware of who their key guy is all the time and we can’t let our foot off the gas for one second.”

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The Comets were also without starter Nate Holub-Smith, who missed his second game with a wrist injury but is expected to return before the playoffs.

“We are trying to bounce back from a couple spots of adversity,” Harris said. “This is our first time that we’ve lost this many games back-to-back, so it’s all about mental toughness at this point in the season and not getting too low and just looking forward to Chesapeake on Friday.”

Perry Hall (10-5) is eyeing a better seed for the regional playoffs.

“We focused on that, we want a home game for the playoffs,” said Carlineo, whose squad trails top-seeded Parkville and Dulaney. “We play Dulaney the last game of the season.”

Perry Hall 63, Catonsville 60


PH: Stefan Macakanja 31, Jacob Jacks 9, Tryston Ofoh 8, Toma Smith 5, Zion Gross 4, Zakariyya Sims 3, Mike Hicks 2, Malik Pemy 1; C: Colin Harshman 19, Mike Owens 17, Trey Gould 15, Aaron Mekonen 7, Nic Brogdon 2.

Halftime: 28-24 Catonsville