Owls swatted by Panthers
During the first quarter of its game against visiting Pikesville on Friday, the Dundalk boys basketball team missed 10 of 11 free throws.
At first it appeared to be an afterthought, an aspect of the game singled out as “needing improvement” after another Owl victory.
Instead, those missed points wold have come in handy late in the game as Pikesville stunned Dundalk 47-42.
The loss dropped the Owls’ record to 6-2 overall, 4-2 in the regional standings. Dundalk now is a game-and-a-half behind C. Milton Wright (6-1) for first play in Class 3A North Section II and the home court advantage in the playoffs.
“If someone had told me before the game we were going to hold them to 47 points, I would figure we won by 15 points,” Dundalk coach Steve Oppenheim said. “We just could not put the ball in the basket. We had the chances, just didn’t connect.”
The Owls shot 18-for-54 (33 per cent) from the floor and were 4-for-16 (5 per cent) at the foul line.
What really hurt Dundalk was making only two of 17 three-point attempts.
“The game plan was there,” Oppenheim said. “We wanted to get turnovers, we got turnovers. We wanted to contain their top scorer, and we did. They had us scouted, but we still executed our game plan. We just didn’t finish.”
This was only the third time in 11 years the Owls held an opponent to fewer than 60 points, and lost.
Dundalk didn’t score for the first three-and-a-half minutes and finished the first quarter with five points.
A 12-3 surge at the start of the second quarter boosted the Owls to a 17-12 lead. But it was the only significant scoring run of the game for the Owls, who were never able to shake free of the Panthers.
Rayonte Brown capped the run with an impressive dunk, and it looked like it would spark the Owls ito taking control of the game.
Instead, Dundalk scored only two points over the final 2:38 of the second quarter and went into halftime leading by one, 19-18.
Pikesville overtook Dundalk midway through the fourth quarter and held a 40-36 lead with four minutes remaining.
A three-point play by Michael Johnson pulled the Owls to within 40-39, only to see Dundalk score just three more points over the final four minutes.
Two of those points came on a jumper by Jaylon Johnson with 35 seconds remaining in the game that tied the score at 42-42.
But Evan Flaks one of the Pikesville players the Owls were committed to holdig in check, got an open look from the three-point line and sank the basket to make it 45-42 with 24 seconds left to play.
Dundalk turned over the ball on its subsequent possession, and Flaks hit two clinching free throws with five seconds remaining.
Slow starts have become common for Dundalk this season. This time, the usual second-half surge never happened.
“It’s not what they did, it’s what we didn’t do,” Oppenheim said. “For all of our ineffectiveness, we were still right there.
“We still have to play all four quarters. We’ve got to do that to be successful.”
Dundalk was to host Carver A&T on Wednesday and travels to Hereford on Friday before playing at Patapsco on Jan. 16.
The Patriots (0-6) lost to visiting Owings Mills on Friday 71-43. Patapsco is at Parkville on Wednesday and at Owings Mills on Friday before hosting Dundalk.
Sparrows Point (1-4) lost to visiting Dulaney on Friday 96-29. The Pointers next home game is on January 18 against Hereford.
Tremayne Martin of Dudalk pepares to put back an offensive rebound against Pikesville.
Jaylon Johnson of Dundalk goes up for a dunk during the loss to Pikesville last week.
Dundalk’s Michael Johnson prepares to put up a shot over a Pikesville defender.
Dundalk’s Rayonte Brown dunks the ball against Pikesville.
Ky’Juan Newland passes off the ball during Dundalk’s loss to Pikesville on Friday.