A stout defense made the difference in Damascus High School's 58-48 boys basketball victory against Linganore Tuesday in the first-round of the 3A West Region tournament at Linganore.
The Hornets also benefited from consistent success at the foul line.
With the win, the Hornets' season continues as they travel to face Urbana Thursday in the region quarterfinals.
Damascus led most of the game, although the host Lancers kept it close until they hit a scoring drought in the second quarter. The Swarmin' Hornets outscored Linganore 15-7 in that period.
Fouling sent several Hornets to the free throw line during the second period, and they didn't miss, hitting 10 free throws to take a 27-20 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The third stanza, however, was mostly a draw as both teams tightened their defenses and each scored only two points during the first four minutes.
The Lancers outscored the Hornets in the third, 8-7.
Linganore made their final run for the comeback as soon the play began in the fourth. Though they started down by six, Lancer leading scorer Nick Gourney led the charge, putting up four quick points and ultimately making five field goals and one free throw in the quarter. In fact, most of his 13 points came during the final period.
The Hornets withstood the challenge, however, and were able to hold to their fast-break and more physical style. Also, Linganore again sent several Hornets to the free throw line where they added 16 points to their total.
“The second quarter was an 11-point swing,” Linganore coach Tom Kraft said after the game. “We were making that trap more successful than it needed to be because we were passing out of one trap right into another one.”
Adjustments made at halftime helped, he said, setting the stage for the fourth-quarter push.
But at that point, the Lancers could only get within two points of the Hornets.
“We couldn't get that one last stop to tie the game up. If we're able to tie the game up, then it's just a whole different ballgame,” Kraft said. “To their credit, they hit some big shots after we cut it down to two.”
Hornets coach Butch Marshall acknowledged Linganore's effort and said it would help his team prepare for Thursday night's visit to Urbana.
“I've got to hand it to Linganore, they played really hard tonight,” he said. “They played tough. That's what you expect in the playoffs.”
Marshall said he was happiest with his team's defense, which often set the Hornets up to score.
“We got some easier baskets from our defense,” he said.
“We didn't really execute that well,” he added. “I thought we started off a little slow but then we picked up the defensive intensity and that won the game for us.”
The Hornets had three players in double-digits Tuesday night: Deandre Jolly with 15, Stephon Jacob with 13 and Rashard Budd with 10.
Marshall also said playing in the Lancers' gym and in front of the partisan home crowd was a good prep for Thursday.
“They kept their composure so I was very proud of them,” he said.
Damascus 58, Linganore 48
Damascus 12 15 7 24 -- 58
Linganore 13 7 8 20 -- 48
Damascus (11-12; 9-6): Deandre Jolly 15; Stephon Jacob 13; Rashard Budd 10; Connor Burke 7; Cade Woody 7; Jack Rogers 4; Jake Goode 1; Bradley Packard 1.
Linganore (4-17; 3-12): Nick Gourley 13; Justin Myers 9; Seth Myers 8; Kevin Haff 5; Garrett Fanning 4; Tyler Anderson 3; Colin Fanning 3; Thomas Lang 3.