The New Town boys basketball team changed a few things in the second half against visiting McDonoghon Monday, pressuring more on defense and sharing the ball more on offense.
And at the end, the No. 14 Titans proved one play better than the fifth-ranked Eagles.
New Town kept McDonogh scoreless for the final three-plus minutes of the fourth quarter and did just enough at the other end with senior forward Quincy Roche's inside basket after a swift drive and pass by Matthew Johnson proving to be the difference in a 49-48 win in Owings Mills.
Senior guard Devin Smith scored a team-high 19 points to lead the Titans, who improve to 8-2. It's the Titans' second win against a ranked private school as they knocked off Calvert Hall, 61-54, earlier in the season.
McDonogh, coming off an strong Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference win over John Carroll on Friday, falls to 14-6.
Trailing 48-45 with 2:55 to play, New Town got two free throws from Smith to cut the lead to one. Neither team could take hold of the game with solid defense and missed shots taking place in the following minutes.
Out of a Titans' timeout with less than 30 seconds to play, Johnson drove the lane and when help defense arrived, he dished it off to Roche for an easy lay-in with 18 second left.
On McDonogh's ensuing possession, Noah Locke (12 points) fell with the ball and was called for traveling with six seconds left. After Johnson was fouled and missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity at the line, the Eagles got the ball to Locke again but his desperation heave just past midcourt was off the mark.
"Toward the end of the game, we started playing together and things went our way," Smith said. "This really means a lot because we had a couple losses [recently] — one to Poly and another to Catonsville — so it means a lot to get a win like this against McDonogh."
The Eagles came out shooting well behind Locke and Bruce Moore, who scored a game-high 21 points, building a 17-7 lead late in the first quarter.
With the lead still at 10 late in the second quarter, the Titans scored eight straight — Smith's 3-pointer starting the run and a pull-up jumper from Rashad Faust (10 points) ending it — to cut the lead to 24-22.
An 11-0 run at the end of the third quarter helped give the Titans their first lead since the game's opening basket with Christopher Fitzgerald hitting a 3-pointer and Faust getting to the basket for two more scores during the stretch. The home team took a 41-36 advantage into the fourth quarter before Moore once again heated up for the Eagles with two 3-pointers to help them reclaim the lead at 44-43 with 5:29 to play.
The Titans found the answers at both ends in the final minutes to capture the win, which coach Mike Daniel hopes can be a springboard.
"We'll see," he said. "We're kind of up and down and I'm still not getting the consistency I need to be a champion, but we're working on it."
McDonogh coach David Gately felt the opportunities were there for the Eagles.
"We didn't make shots, wide open shots, great shots," he said. "They hit some shots and deserved the win."
14 New Town 49, 5 McDonogh 48
M—Chong-Qui 11, Locke 12, Moore 21, Okahe 2, Pickett 2. Totals: 14 11-13 48.
NT—Johnson 8, Fitzgerald 3, Smith 19, Faust 10, Ferrell 2, Outlaw 3, Roche 4. Totals: 17 8-14 49. Half: M. 26-22