The Dulaney boys basketball team is young and still learning how to close out wins against better competition.
Freshman point guard Ryan Conway appears to be getting it down pat quickly.
At New Town on Wednesday, he alertly grabbed a loose ball under the basket and got it back up in a hurry, beating the buzzer with a game-winning basket as No. 15 Dulaney defeated the Titans, 58-56, in Baltimore County play.
With sophomore standout Che Evans out of the lineup with a minor knee injury, Conway took the lead role during big moments. He finished with a game-high 21 points, including two fourth-quarter 3-pointers to go with the basket that sent the Lions home with the win. Senior Josh Cornish also played a big role with 18 points.
Dulaney improved to 10-3 overall and 5-1 in Baltimore County's Division I. New Town is 10-3 and 4-1.
"I think it was a great team effort. We beat a really good New Town team, and I think we proved a lot because we really haven't beaten a really good team yet," Conway said.
"I think we came together as a team and we made the winning play. We just came and we had in in our minds we were not going to lose this game."
The Lions had a good idea what they were up against in the final minutes of the second quarter. They methodically built their first double-digit lead when freshman guard Isaiah Cornish hit a 3-pointer to make it 30-20 with 1:40 to play before the half, only to see the Titans storm back.
The home team closed with an 8-0 run — Noel Carter (16 points) hitting two 3-pointers — to cut the Lions' lead to 30-28 at the break.
Conway made sure the Lions stayed in front in the third quarter — hitting a basket and 3-pointer late for a 49-41 advantage going into the fourth quarter. When the Titans climbed all the way back — Tykei Ferrell finishing a layup off a turnover to tie the game at 56 with 32 seconds left — Conway again had the final say with teammate Cameron Amoruso keeping the ball alive under the basket before he grabbed it and put up the winner.
"It feels good to beat a really good opponent and come away with one of these close ones," Dulaney coach Matt Lochte said.
The scramble that preceded the winning basket summed up the disappointment for New Town, a team that prides itself on gritty play and doing the little things right.
"I thought the effort could have been better. It was two good teams really going after it," coach Mike Daniel said. "They outhustled us. At certain times in the game, we should have had the loose ball and it was glaring in the last play of the game. We just got to get better."
Sophomore guard Martaz Robinson led the Titans with 19 points.
D—Conway 21, I. Cornish 7, J. Cornish 18, Amoruso 1, Sharp 8, Webster 3. Totals: 21 8-13 58.
NT—Ferrell 2, Mills 4, D. Outlaw 2, Carter 16, Robinson 19, Guerrero 4, Collins 7, O. Outlaw 2. Totals: 20 6-8 56.
Half: D, 30-28
Dulaney Lady Lions defeated New Town as well