Westminster held off Winters Mill 49-44 on Jan. 5, 2018 in Westminster

Westminster came out Friday night looking for a win against struggling Winters Mill.

Apparently not until after the third quarter.


The Owls shot 27 percent from the field through the first 24 minutes, but they used a run in the fourth quarter to take the lead for good en route to 49-44 victory over their city rivals.

“Coach (Brett Kanther) said, “Keep shooting even through we are missing,’” said Westminster junior guard Drue Giles, whose team outscored the visitors 18-12 in the final period. “We just kept shooting and attacking the rim and they started falling for us.”

Giles, Denio Blaney, and Joe Wright had 10 points each for the winners.

Winters Mill had two players in double figures — Nico Graham (13 points) and Devin Callahan (11) — but suffered its seventh consecutive loss.

Westminster (6-3, 3-1 county) took the lead for good in the middle of the fourth quarter. Wright’s hook shot gave the Owls a 39-38 advantage with 4:03 remaining and started a 7-1 run to boost their lead to 45-39.

Winters Mill (1-7, 0-4) got as close as 45-42 on Chandler Gentzel’s 3-pointer, but the Falcons struggled the rest of the way. They missed two shots, went 2-for-6 from the free throw line and committed two turnovers.

“That’s part of the learning curve,” Winters Mill coach Devon Lesniak said. “It’s just a matter of us playing for a full 32 minutes.”

Winters Mill also struggled to start the third quarter, committing two turnovers and missing its first three shots in the first two minutes. Westminster went ahead briefly during that stretch, 26-25, on a Javahn Showers free throw with 6:30 remaining.

The Falcons, however, regained the lead, 28-26, when Callahan drained a 3-pointer. Westminster was sluggish late in the period, committing four turnovers in 1:30.

That contributed to the Falcons leading 32-31 after the third quarter. The game changed leads constantly in the first half.

Gentzel hit a 3-pointer with 2:13 left in the first quarter to give Winters Mill a 7-5 bulge.

Joe Wright answered with a 3-point play 20 seconds later.

Yet the Falcons’ Devin Collins hit another 3-pointer for the visitors to make it 10-8 with 1:27 left in the period.

Graham closed the quarter with a layup to put his team ahead 12-10.


Denio Blaney scored the first four points of the second quarter on layups to give the Owls a 14-12 lead.

Graham responded by converting a 3-pointer play to put the Falcons ahead 15-14.

But Blaney continued his torrid play when he sank a 3-pointer to make it 17-15.

After Gentzel sank two free throws to tie it at 17-17, Westminster took a 21-17 advantage on a Giles' layup and a Jacob Busic jumper in the lane.

But the lead didn’t last long. Winters Mill ended the second quarter with a 7-2 run.

Callahan highlighted it with a 3-pointer right before the buzzer to make it 25-23 — the halftime score.

Friday’s game was played before a large crowd inside Westminster’s gym, and it featured two of the top scorers in Carroll this winter.

Gentzel came into the game at 16.6 points per game, good for fifth best in the county. Giles was right behind his counterpart at 15.9 points per game, to go along with 3.8 assists and 2.1 steals.

Westminster (49): Denio Blaney 10, Parker Eysaman 1, Drue Giles 10, Shawn Blaney 7, Joe Wright 10, Javahn Showers 3, Nate Kent 5, Jacob Busic 3.

Winters Mill (44): Terren McDonald 8, Chandler Gentzel 13, Alex Barnes 5, Nico Graham 7, Devin Callahan 11.

Halftime: Winters Mill, 25-23