And round one goes to Catonsville.
In a prelude yesterday to Saturday's Baltimore County championship game, the No. 13-ranked Comets streaked past visiting Woodlawn, 65-54, to complete their regular season.
Catonsville, which finished 15-0 in the league and 18-1 overall, received 17 points from senior guard Sam Adams and a well-rounded contribution of five points, eight rebounds, and two blocked shots from junior forward William Augustono.
The Warriors, who will have to return the Comets' home court for the 12: 30 p.m. championship game, suffered their second consecutive loss out of 15 league games and dropped to 13-8 overall. They were led by junior forward Ishmael Robinson's 21 points and five rebounds.
Catonsville coach Jim Rhoads said the win was a good omen for his squad.
"I think the game gives us confidence," he said. "Woodlawn is a very good team, and it could go either way. But the confidence is very important."
Said Augustono: "We can do it again. We know them better now, and we're ready for them."
The Comets weren't ready for Woodlawn at the outset, when the Warriors worked up a 5-0 lead in the first four minutes, forward Robert Gaines scoring all of his four points in the process.
Catonsville didn't get a basket until junior guard Stephen Roblin nailed a short jumper with 3: 20 left in the quarter.
But Roblin and sophomore forward Mike Haynie (10 points, four rebounds) each scored four points to lead their team on a first half-ending 17-8 run that spotted the Comets a 22-16 halftime lead.
Adams said Catonsville was well-prepared for the Warriors' first-quarter energy.
"Before the game, coach told us that it was going to be a five-point game at the start," Adams said. "We knew it was going to be a tough battle."
In the third quarter, Adams silenced any screams for a Woodlawn comeback by scoring 10 of the Comets' first 12 points.
Although the Warriors' Robinson scored 17 of his points in the second half, the Catonsville lead never dropped below 10.
Rhoads said senior forward Steve Remesch and junior guard Brian Heldman simply shadowed Robinson all night.
"We just blocked him out," Rhoads said. "Look, we play him Saturday, and he's liable to score 30 on us."
Pub Date: 2/18/99