Outside the Westminster Owls locker room is a blackboard with the boys basketball team's goals for the season. It reads: 1. County. 2. CMC. 3. States.
After last night's 84-51 thrashing of visiting South Carroll, it's two down and one to go for the 15th-ranked Owls.
Six-foot-8 center Nick Hohenwarter scored a game-high 28 points as Westminster (19-2 overall, 13-1 conference) became Carroll County's first outright Central Maryland Conference champion since South Carroll in 1989. The Owls shared the title with Thomas Johnson in 1991.
"It was real important to us," said Hohenwarter. "Thomas Johnson is like the powerhouse of the CMC, and we just wanted to come out and prove that we're a decent team too. We were pretty fired up for this."
Westminster entered the game 12-1 in the conference, still in the reach of second-place Thomas Johnson (10-2). The Owls had clinched at least a share of the title -- as well as their fifth straight county championship -- with a 74-57 win over North Carroll Tuesday.
The team's 19th win tied a school record, matching a mark set in 1979-80.
This one was never close, with the hosts shooting well from the field -- including 12 of 18 from three-point range -- and controlling the boards.
The Owls took a 21-10 lead after a quarter and extended it to 39-22 at the half. Jon-David Byers added 18 points for Westminster.
South Carroll (10-11, 6-7), which entered the game having won six of its past seven, was never a serious threat. Cody Haslup and Bill Moss led the Cavaliers with 12 each.
After a lopsided win over South Carroll earlier this season, Westminster coach David Byers said it was critical for the Owls not to take anything for granted.
"We didn't want to just come out and assume it was over," said Byers. "We came out with some real good intensity in the beginning."
Now for Westminster, the task turns to the third goal -- states.
"I think we can do well in the playoffs," said Hohenwarter. "We have to play our A game from now on."