It took Russell DeMont of Westminster a little while to get going against Linganore. But when the 6-foot-7 forward started, he helped finish the Lancers.
DeMont scored 12 of his 18 points in the final 12 minutes to help host Westminster hold off stubborn Linganore, 58-47, in the semifinals of the Westminster Holiday Classic last night.
Westminster (2-4), which broke a four-game losing streak with the win, advanced to the final tonight at 8 against No. 8 Milford Mill. The Millers made it to the finals with a victory, by forfeit, over No. 20 Aberdeen.
Aberdeen forfeited because Harford County did not allow buses to leave the county, said school athletic director George Connolly. The Eagles will come tonight to play Linganore (1-5) in the 6 p.m. consolation.
Linganore, which fell to Westminster in last year's tournament final, gave the Owls fits for most of the game. The Lancers cut the Westminster lead to 32-31 midway through the third quarter and appeared to be on a roll.
That's when DeMont stepped up. Despite being double- and triple-teamed, he hit back-to-back jumpers to spark a 9-0 run that gave the Owls a 41-31 lead late in the quarter.
The fourth quarter saw more of the same. Again fighting off defensive pressure, he made back-to-back jumpers that stretched the Westminster lead to 45-36. He then added a layup to make the lead 47-40 with 2:49 left.
DeMont capped the night with two free throws with 15 seconds left for the final Owls points. The senior made five of seven from the field in the second half.
The Owls also got help from other places. Charles Van Horn made several key shots, especially in the first half, to finish with 16 points. Chris High added 13 more for the Owls.
Westminster also got some help from Linganore's poor shooting. The Lancers made only five baskets in the final 12:25 as Westminster outscored them 26-16.
The Lancers made only two baskets in just over nine minutes from midway through the third period to the midpoint of the fourth. That helped allow Westminster to pull away. Chris Moran led Linganore with 14 points.
In the first half, Westminster led much of the way. The Owls, however, never completely controlled play. Linganore kept fighting back and trailed 27-23 at the break.
Both teams were cold from the field in the early going. Westminster warmed up midway through the first quarter and made six straight shots to take a 16-12 lead after one.
Van Horn helped Westminster stay on top in the second quarter. He scored five of the team's 11 points. High scored the Owls' final three of the half as Westminster notched the last four points for the halftime lead.
Mistakes hurt both teams in the half. The Owls turned the ball over 11 times -- eight in the second quarter -- and the Lancers coughed it up eight times.