For years now, boys basketball teams from Carroll County have had a bit of an inferiority complex to their counterparts from nearby Frederick County. It's no wonder, since the head-to-head results have been so notably one-sided in recent seasons.
But at least for one night, No. 19 Westminster helped even the score.
Senior Chris Prior had 18 points and 12 rebounds, helping the host Owls to a 57-56 win that dealt Linganore its first loss since December.
"We've been cursed by the Frederick County teams forever," Prior said. "When I woke up this morning and realized it was Friday the 13th, I knew something good was going to happen today. We came out and finally beat one of them."
The 6-foot-3 Prior played a large role in that, at times dominating in the paint against a frontcourt that just couldn't match up. He was 7-for-8 from the field and grabbed eight of his rebounds at the offensive end.
"Our game plan was to pound the ball inside," said Owls coach Brett Kanther. "[Chris'] development has been just unbelievable. He's carried us three or four games."
Last night, his play sparked Westminster (14-3 overall, 4-3 Monocacy Valley Athletic League, Chesapeake Conference).
The guard-oriented Lancers (14-2, 6-1), who entered the night on an 11-game winning streak, used a 12-1 run in the second half to break open a tight game.
Led by Joe Alexander (14 points) and guards Leif Jackson and Zach Hayes (10 each), they took a 44-36 lead midway through the third quarter as Westminster misfired on eight straight shots.
But Westminster rallied. With guards Dan Simmons and Ryan Carr (13 points each) working the perimeter, Prior did his damage down low, pulling his team to within one by completing a fast-break layup after making a block at the other end. Seconds later, his turnaround jumper gave the Owls a 51-50 lead.
"I knew if we just kept fighting and we just kept staying in there, everything would be all good and we'd come out with a 'W'," said Prior. "I knew I had to do my part."
Linganore's Alexander appeared to give his team the lead with five seconds left, but the basket was disallowed when referees whistled Prior for a foul before the shot. Linganore than missed its final shot.