Allow Towson Catholic coach Mike Daniel a single word to describe Southern's basketball team and he would not be hard-pressed.
"Athletic" would leap from his lips.
Better still, make that two words.
"Very athletic," Daniel said.
No. 8 Towson Catholic got a harsh reminder of just how athletic No. 2 Southern is yesterday in a Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference Division II game. Visiting Southern breezed, 76-55, as Kwame Evans scored 27 points.
When Daniel describes Southern as athletic, he is referring more to Evans than any other player. The 6-foot-6 senior does everything from dunking to shooting three-pointers.
"He's so smooth," Daniel said. "He's a good player, a real athlete. After he scored all those points in the first half, we tried a triangle-and-two and slowed him some."
Evans scored 17 in the first half, nine of the points coming on three-pointers. But to hear Southern coach Meredith Smith tell it, Towson Catholic didn't see Evans at his very best.
"Kwame has scored 30-some a few times," Smith said. "But this time, yes, he was excellent for the most part."
While Towson Catholic was coming off a win over St. Maria Goretti into the Southern buzz saw, the Bulldogs were rebounding from Friday's 66-56 loss to No. 1 Dunbar. Smith was satisfied with his team's resilience, if not elated.
"Any win is a good rebound," Smith said. "I wouldn't call the Dunbar game a crushing defeat. I didn't even talk to the team about the loss to Dunbar before this game. We just prepared for Towson Catholic."
Towson Catholic came into the game intent on reversing the 27-point loss to Southern, Dec. 17. Daniel reasoned that an uptempo might help close the gap.
"We started uptempo, then quickly got in foul trouble," Daniel said. "Then they went to a zone defense and walked the ball upcourt."
The Owls slipped even deeper into trouble after James Burrell fouled out with six minutes remaining. By then, Burrell had scored 18 points, second on the team only to Tony Bishop's 22.
"That really hurt, losing Burrell," Daniel said. "It's tough, because we don't have an extensive bench. Well, we played with them for a while."
Southern got off to a 10-7 start and was never threatened, building a 12-point halftime lead. Towson Catholic drew within eight in the third quarter, but could get no closer.
With 4 1/2 minutes left, Southern's Kevin Simpson stole the ball and went in for a thundering reverse dunk for a 66-47 lead. A few minutes later, Simpson and Evans made back-to-back dunks.
"They're very athletic," Daniel said, using that word again. "It's hard to match up against an athletic team."
Although Smith is careful to say Southern will take its games one at a time, he allows that his team has its eye on the MSA A Conference's Division II title. Only then would the Bulldogs have another shot at Dunbar, in the MSA playoffs.
Next for Towson Catholic, says Daniel, is a day off: "Maybe two days. The schedule has been hectic."