Father Matthew Buening, associate pastor of Immaculate Conception, Towson, has a strong presence at the parish, but he is also a mainstay with the student body of Towson Catholic High School.
In fact, it was Father Buening leading the cheering section stationed directly behind the Towson Catholic boys’ bench at Loyola College in Maryland, Baltimore, Feb. 28 when the Owls continued their winning ways by defeating Mount St. Joseph High School, Irvington, 70-54 in the finals game of the 36th annual Baltimore Catholic League Tournament.
“Our fans came out in droves tonight, and it was great,” said Father Buening. “Our team has been to the edge so many times, and we finally made it across to the other side.”
Father Buening is referring to Towson Catholic’s 2005 BCL championship loss to St. Frances Academy, Baltimore, 57-48 and last year’s 10-point loss to Mount St. Joseph 62-52 before a standing room only crowd at Loyola’s Reitz Arena.
But in 2007, the Owls are on fire and are heading into the 47th Annual Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament March 15-17 in Cumberland, with a strong chance of winning the most prestigious Catholic High School tournament in the country.
The Owls remain undefeated against local teams and post an overall record of 31-4. After a 16-0 run in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association’s A Conference, the Owls jumped right into the BCL, defeating St. Maria Goretti High School, Hagerstown, 76-32 in the quarters and The Cardinal Gibbons School, Baltimore, 66-42 in the semifinals.
Heading into the finals game with defending champion Gaels (25-7), the Owls were in the zone.
The game got off to a slow start as the Gaels hung tough, keeping the first quarter of play close at 15-12. The Gaels were led by 6-foot-10-inch center, junior Henry Sims with six points and 6-foot-8-inch senior Dino Gregory, who dropped in a game-high 21 points and snared eight boards. Gregory will head to University of Maryland, College Park, next season.
For the Towson Catholic Owls, it remained a balanced team effort as 6-foot-4-inch senior guard Malcolm Delaney scored 20, junior guard Larry Bastfield scored 11, senior Donte Greene contributed 14 and his cousin, junior Brandon Greene, had nine. Sophomore center Andrew Fitzgerald continues to improve and command a presence in a field of highly talented athletes, scoring 10 points and pulling down a dozen rebounds.
With 5:34 remaining in regulation, the Owls ran off 10 quick points to extend their lead to 60-39, their largest lead of the evening, which culminated with a three-point play by Bastfield.
“This win means a lot to me,” said Bastfield after the game. “I’ve been here the last three years, and this year we finally made it.”
The team danced at midcourt after the awards were presented, and fans began to meander out of the field house. The Owls are focused on the Alhambra, but while there, also look to avenge a Jan. 27, 78-71 loss to DeMatha High School in Hyattsville.