As he headed out of Northwestern High early Tuesday evening, Owings Mills High boys’ basketball coach Richard Epps reminisce about his time as a standout player in the mid-1990s at the Park Heights Avenue school. Epps reached a milestone Tuesday with the Eagles, and his alma-mater helped in making it memorable.
The No. 16 Eagles outlasted the Wildcats, 86-83, in double overtime at the IAABO Board 290 Mixer. Junior guard Tyson Smith scored eight of his 24 points over the two extra sessions for Owings Mills (6-0 overall), and Isaac Brown added 20.
Jaylin Sharp led Northwestern (2-4) with 42 points and 12 rebounds, and Maynard Brown had 19 points. Sharp, a 6-foot-7 senior, gave Northwestern a 79-78 lead in the second overtime before fouling out with 2 minutes, 20 seconds remaining. Smith converted two free throws with 2:35 left, giving the Eagles an 80-79 lead.
A pair of free throws from junior Kyle Thomas (18 points) and one by Smith extended the lead to 83-79 with 1:15 to play. The Wildcats came up with a steal and Maynard Brown converted into a layup, making it 83-81 with 30.8 seconds left.
Issac Brown hit one of two free throws for an 84-81 advantage with 25.4 seconds remaining. With a chance to tie, Northwestern lost the ball and Brown got the steal and was fouled with 16 seconds to play. He converted both free throws giving the Eagles an 86-81 lead.
“We didn’t play our best basketball, but this was a character test game,” said Epps, who picked his 100th victory at the Baltimore County school. “They didn’t play discipline defense, but once they buckled down they came up with a couple of stops.
Jaylin Sharp fouling out helped us out a lot. We couldn’t figure out a way to stop him.”
Sharp, whose brother Jason, who was an All-Met guard on Lake Clifton’s 28-0 Class 3A state championship team in 2008-09, put together arguably the area’s best single performance to date. His follow off a miss by Maynard Brown gave Northwestern a 71-64 lead with 2 minutes remaining in the first overtime.
Smith converted a Northwestern turnover into a three-point play, bringing Owings Mills to 71-69 with 1:24 left before Sharp hit a jumper. The Eagles got to back to within a score on a basket by Issac Brown then Maynard Brown missed two free throws with 32.2 seconds remaining.
Smith scored on a drive to the basket, tying the game at 73. Northwestern missed a three-pointer with a couple of seconds left, sending the game into a second overtime.
The Wildcats forced the first extra session as Tavon Moorman hit a three-pointer with three seconds left in regulation. Northwestern overcame a 60-50 deficit with 3:27 remaining.
“They kept saying they want to find ways to win games instead of losing them and they fought through it,” said Wildcats coach Caprizio Chisholm. “We should’ve finished it in the first overtime, but things didn’t work out that way.”
The Wildcats look to make a run at another upset, playing No. 12 Old Mill in the finale Wednesday evening. Owings Mills will get another test against No. 13 Digital Harbor at 5 p.m. at Northwestern.
“It shows them they have to play physical all the time because the kids in Baltimore City play hard and fast for all 32 minutes,” said Epps, whose team lost to Dunbar in the state title game last year at Comcast Center. “You got to go through Baltimore City one way or another to win a state championship.”
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