Hereford basketball coach Jim Rhoads watched Dulaney junior guard Ryan Conway score 45 of his career-high 55 points in the first half of the Lions’ 96-58 victory on Wednesday night and wasn’t ready to change anything.
“I wasn’t going to change and have two guys chasing him,” Rhoads said. “We weren’t going to stop him at that point. He was on fire. He was a video game player at that time.”
After making three three-pointers in the first quarter and scoring 14 points, Conway exploded for 31 in the second quarter and had converted 12 three-pointers by halftime.
At one point, he made eight straight three-pointers and was 11-for-12 from beyond the arc.
He was making threes from just over half-court and from the deep baseline corners.
“Once you get hot, it’s just like shooting at a hula hoop,” said Conway, who played just 22:20 minutes and added 8 steals and 4 assists.
He scored the final 18 points, on six three-pointers to help the No. 7 Lions (9-3) take a 65-28 halftime lead.
Dulaney coach Matt Lochte, who has seen him play since he was six years old, had witnessed his shooting clinics before.
“I could feel the crowd, but I’ve been in the gym with him a few thousand times over the years, so I’ve seen him go off and he’s capable of doing it,” Lochte said.
With 6-foot-6 starting forward Cam Byers out with a shoulder injury and starting guard Latrell Harper missing because of a back spasm, the Lions relied on its pressure defense to force 11 turnovers in the first quarter and take a 28-9 lead.
Darvin Green canned a pair of three-pointers and Jaylen Amoroso had four points and a pair of steals while Conway was just heating up.
Jaylin Webster fed Conway for his first trey, one of his 10 assists, just 23 seconds into the second quarter, and it was showtime.
“What I learned was always feed the hot hand, if someone’s hot don’t be selfish, feed the hot hand,” Webster said. “He’s a great teammate and if somebody else was hot he would do the same thing, so I tried to be a great teammate and keep feeding him.”
Conway, who admitted he has never scored 45 in a half or 55 in a game, was confident in himself and his teammates.
“I was very confident in our team,” said Conway, who is averaging 27.2 points per game. “My coach put together a very good game plan for us and I just happened to get hot early, but this team did a really good job of feeding the hot hand, so that’s how I got the scoring I did.”
Conway is being recruited by Maryland, Georgetown, Seton Hall, Rutgers, Stanford and Vanderbilt universities.
Hereford coach Rhoads, whose 5-5 squad was led by Dan Benna (13 points), Justin Capan (12) and Charlie Suchy (8), was certainly impressed.
“He’s a very good player and he has really changed from last year, he’s gotten bigger, stronger and he’s more mature physically,” Rhoads said. “He’s a much better shooter then last year. He works hard.”
Lochte was even more impressed with how his team made sure Conway got his touches.
“We have a lot of trust in each other and his teammates have a lot of trust in him,” Lochte said. “That was a team 55, here he comes out with the number 55, but they are finding the hot man.”
But, the coach couldn’t help praise the 4.0 student, who was 12 of 19 from beyond the arc, 6 of 8 from inside it and 7 of 11 from the free-throw line.
“It was a special performance, he’s a special player,” Lochte said.