Post players Thabo Letsebe and Anthony Thornton propelled a decisive third quarter yesterday as No. 6 Towson Catholic pulled away from fifth-ranked Calvert Hall and coasted to a 70-57 victory in the Baltimore Catholic League opener for both.
The host Owls (10-3) outscored Calvert Hall 26-13 in the third quarter, pulling away from a 28-28 halftime tie. Earlier, Towson Catholic's 10-point lead vanished in the first quarter, as Calvert Hall (9-4) went on an 11-0 run for a 15-14 advantage.
Reggie Bryant, who paced Calvert Hall with a game-high 18 points, four rebounds, two assists and three steals, got into a first-half shooting contest with Towson Catholic's Gil Goodrich.
Bryant scored 11 and Goodrich 12 of his team-high 17 on three of his four three-pointers before the big men took over.
Letsebe scored 10 of his 13 points in the decisive third quarter, and Thornton had six of his eight as the 6-foot-6 seniors dominated inside.
Letsebe, who finished with 11 rebounds (seven in the second half), also had two blocks and an assist, and Thornton had 10 rebounds (five in the second half) as the Owls out-rebounded the Cardinals 33-22, 20-9 on the defensive side.
"Most people think they're a guard-oriented team, but their post players did a real nice job today," said Calvert Hall assistant coach Joe Baker, who ran the team for Mark Amatucci.
Amatucci had to sit out the first league game because of an altercation with an opposing coach in last year's postseason tournament.
"When you're away from the basket and not shooting well, you know you're not getting too many second shots," Baker said. "[The Owls] did a nice job rebounding and putting second shots in."
While Calvert Hall shot 26 percent (4-for-15) in the third quarter and 34 percent (20-for-59) for the game, the Owls hit 53 percent (10-for-19) in the third quarter and finished at 41 percent (25-for-61).
The Cardinals tried a triangle-and-two defense to no avail.
"That opened up some areas and we took advantage," Towson Catholic coach Mike Daniel said. "We've been working on teams using trick defenses against us."
Daniel cited the play of 6-1 guard Steve Johnson, who only had two points but added six rebounds, four assists and two steals not to mention crisp passing and senior leadership.
"Steve runs the show and calls the defenses," Daniel said. "He's our leader and the one who got us going."
Letsebe's third-quarter scores came on 10- to 12-foot jumpers with Thornton breaking inside to follow up the misses. Thornton had two put-backs and a third basket off a feed from Letsebe that raised the Owls lead to 49-37 with 1: 19 left in the third.
A lay-in by Delbert Randall (15 points, eight rebounds) and two free throws by Tim Knapp (eight points, three assists) cut Calvert Hall's deficit to 49-41 with 38 seconds left in the third.
However, a put-back by Thornton and three foul shots by Aaron Early (seven points, three assists, two steals) with no time on the clock sent the Owls to the final quarter with a 54-41 lead. Early was fouled on a three-point attempt at the buzzer.
A bank shot by guard Keith Jenifer (16 points, three rebounds) gave the Owls a second 15-point lead in the final quarter, and the closest the Cards got was the final score.
Pub Date: 1/11/99