City College High boys’ basketball team knows what will lift it atop the Baltimore City league standings and back to another state championship.

“In the games we lost we haven’t been playing very good defense and that’s what we have been working on and we came out and played great defense today,” said Knights guard Nick Faust.

City put together spirited defensive effort its 66-30 rout of previously unbeaten and 11th ranked Douglass Friday afternoon in a Division I contest in west Baltimore. The Alameda school (5-3 overall, 1-1 Division I) forced 20 turnovers en route to its second straight victory.

“It was a great bounce back for us today, we had some tough loses but now we are really playing together and I don’t think we lose for the rest of the season,” said Faust, who led City with 25 points, eight rebounds and three steals.

“We have been talking our approach and our mentality,” said City coach Mike Daniel. “We have to do a better job of our concentration and a better job of what we have to do and hopefully this will jump start what we have to do.”

City applied pressure from the opening tip as Faust scored on a one-handed slam, five seconds into the game as the Knights never trailed. It was the second straight contest they held their opponents under 40 points.

City opened the season atop the area’s rankings and No. 21 nationally by USA Today. Within the first two weeks of the season, the Knights relinquished both positions.

“We’ve just been making some adjustments and things are starting to come together,” said Daniel, whose team lost locally to St. Frances Academy and city league rival Patterson. “We’re starting to share the ball and play good defense.”

Mike Cheatham finished with 16 points, six assists and eight boards for the Knights, and Lionel Green added 11 points. Dwayne Brewer led Douglass (7-1, 1-1 Division I) with 14 points and five assists.

Brewer kept the Ducks closed in the early stages, but gain separation in the second quarter with an 11-2 run paving the way to a 35-19 halftime lead. The Knights slammed the door with a 21-5 third quarter as Cheatham dished out an alley-oop pass to Faust for his third dunk of the game.

“We played a team, we swung the ball, we played together as won and that’s been big for us,” said Cheatham.

“When we won our championships it was always defense and we have kind of gotten away from that,” said Daniel, whose team hosts Carver Vo-Tech Tuesday afternoon. “Now I think the majority of the team understands that defense wins championships.”


No. 3 City College 66, No. 11 Douglass 30
City: Faust 25, Cheatham 16, Green 11, Amos 4, Seck 4, Rasheed 2, Connor 2, Press 2. Total: 66.
Douglass: Brewer 14, Vennie 6, Sims 2, Smith 2, Croslin 2, Saunders 2, Williams 2. Total: 30.
Halftime: City 35, Douglass 19