TOWSON, Md. — Quite a few of Goucher's head-to-head encounters with Catholic over the years were highly competitive, all-out battles in which what transpired in the final seconds could determine which team came out on top.
The 57th all-time meeting between the two Landmark Conference rivals that took place tonight in the Decker Sports & Recreation Center was not one of them, unfortunately.
The Cardinals started hot, scoring points on six of their first seven possessions and making their first three shots from 3-point range to grab an early 15-7 lead. They never took their feet off the gas the entire first half, stretching their advantage to 20 points after 20 minutes by shooting 58.1 percent from the field and landing eight of the 15 shots they launched from long distance.
When the final horn sounded, the scoreboard showed Catholic as the clear winner, 89-60.
The Gophers (4-9, 0-4 Landmark) led only once the entire contest. On their second possession, they went ahead 3-2 when Chris Outing (New Windsor, N.Y./James I. O'Neill) rebounded a teammate's 3-point miss and fed Tucker Canary (Silver Spring, Md./Montgomery Blair), who nailed his 3-point try.
The Cardinals (10-4, 3-2 Landmark) reached the 50-point mark with nearly two full minutes remaining in the first half on a made 3-pointer by Jeff Holland, but Percy Martin (Dumfries, Va./St. Stephen's & St. Agnes) made two field goal, one a 3-pointer, and Troy DeShields (Seaford, Del./Sussex Technical) turned an offensive rebound into a buzzer-beating basket as head coach Tom Rose's club closed out the period with a 7-0 run.
Catholic had an answer to that run, however, early in the second half, turning a 17-point lead into a 68-37 advantage by scoring 14 consecutive points over a span of nearly four minutes. The Cardinals went 5-for-6 from the field during that stretch and made all four of their 3-point attempts.
Although it did start to dip in the latter stages of the contest, Catholic was able to keep its final shooting percentage above 50 percent with a 32-for-63 performance (.508).
Jay Howard was the leading scorer and rebounder for the Cardinals as he finished with 21 points and 13 boards.
Tonight's game was the first of three straight home Landmark Conference contests for the Gophers, who will welcome Scranton to the Decker SRC on Saturday at 2 p.m.