In Tuesday’s Baltimore County championship game against Franklin, the New Town boys basketball team didn’t get off to the fast start it has consistently enjoyed in dominating league play throughout the regular season.
As it turned out, three solid quarters were plenty to bring home the program’s second county championship.
Behind a 16-0 second quarter run and three players reaching double figures, New Town claimed a 65-46 win over the Indians at Towson University’s SEC Arena. Andrew Mills scored 16 points, Martaz Robinson added 13 and Kyree Johnson finished with 12 in the win.
Fourth-ranked New Town improved to 19-1, while Franklin, which got 19 points from Ben Murphy, fell to 16-7.
“When we hopped on the bus this afternoon, we thought it was going to be a breeze,” New Town junior wing Andrew Mills said. “But they came out and hit us in the mouth in the first quarter, so we just found a way to stay the course and attack and it worked out well for us at the end. This is my first one and I’m just happy right now.”
The Titans opened the season as a team to watch in Baltimore County and quickly became much more with dominant team play that led them to a perfect 9-0 record in winning the league’s Division I, averaging 89 points while yielding just 40.
“We started off slow but we were able to pick it up a little bit,” New Town coach Derek Wise said. “I think they knew what was at stake and were just a little nervous in the beginning but we were able to turn it around just playing hard. It started on the defensive end, we got a couple turnovers and a couple stops and that turned into some transition buckets. And that also started our half-court offense.
“It feels great. They earned it, they worked hard for this – they knew what was at stake from the very beginning. We knew what we were playing for, a county championship and now we’re off to the next one.”
After a slow start, the dominance continued Tuesday.
It was the Indians that started better in taking an 11-5 lead after one quarter behind scrappy defense and two 3s from Murphy.
The Titans, who had only one field goal in the first quarter, found their form early in the second to take hold of the game, going on a 16-0 run to secure a 31-19 halftime advantage.
The Titans’ run started with defensive intensity followed by swift ball movement and strong work on the offensive boards. Jordan Guerrero tied the game at 13 with a layup off an alert inside pass from Maurice Smith with 4:47 left in the half and the Titans’ first lead came on the next possession when Smith got a steal off a trap and sent a long outlet pass to Johnson for an easy two points.
Mills dominated the remaining minutes with his 10 first-half points coming in the final 4:02 as the Titans led by 14.
New Town will get set for the Class 2A North region playoffs. The Titans, the top seed in Section I, earned a first-round bye and will host Friday’s Owings Mills-Eastern Tech winner on Monday.
Franklin, competing in the Class 3A North, also received a bye as the second seed in Section I. The Indians will host Friday’s Woodlawn-Towson winner on Monday.
“We have a lot of young guys – you look at our roster and I think we have four sophomores, five juniors and two seniors, so we’re very young,” Franklin coach David Iampieri said. “I hope our guys realize it’s a start of something. This is the first time we’ve been here in our history, so our guys have to realize that you have to take it up one more notch to become county champions. It’s a tough league there’s a lot of good team and I’m proud of our guys for getting here.”
F – Conwill 2, Sims 13, Truitt 5, Murphy 19, Hall 2, Swantson 2, Howard 1, Verdejo 2. Totals: 14 12-17 46
NT – Robinson 13, Mills 16, Smith 7, Guerrero 6, Johnson 12, Collins 9, Carter 2. Totals: 25 7-15 65
Half: NT, 31-19