Clinging to a one-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, Loch Raven coach Jerome Ragsdale was looking for someone on his girls' basketball team to make a difference.
Junior Nadia Franklin stepped up and took over that role as a difference-maker and led the visiting Raiders (6-6) to a 37-34 victory over Dulaney (5-8).
Franklin scored eight points, making all six of her free throws, and she had three steals in the final 2:05 to help preserve the lead.
"I just knew it was all in my hands," Franklin said. "I had to make big plays because I knew it was coming down to the end, so I tried my best to drive in, get fouled and hit those free throws."
After Dulaney's Lily Davison tied the game at 21-21 with a free throw with 6:54 left in the fourth quarter, Franklin scored after grabbing an offensive rebound, putting the Raiders up 23-21.
Another free throw by Davison made it 23-22, before Jayla Ragsdale's basket gave Loch Raven a 25-22 lead.
That's when Dulaney's Rachel Krug scored the first four of all 10 of her points in the final quarter and the Lions led 26-25 with 4:47 left in the game.
A free throw and follow-up basket by Kwanshae Stevenson put Loch Raven back on top, 28-26 with 4:15 left.
Ragsdale's basket and the first two of Franklin's six free throws in the final 3:41 gave the Raiders a 32-26 lead.
A free throw by Dulaney's Alleshia Pullen, two more from the charity stripe by Krug and one made foul shot by Don'shae Harp cut the deficit to two, 32-30, with 2:44 remaining.
The Lions never got any closer as all they could manage was a free throw and three-pointer with seven seconds left by Krug.
The Raiders closed their scoring with four free throws by Franklin and one from Ragsdale.
"After my last game, I tried working on my free throws more and I made about all of them today," said Franklin who was 7 of 8 from the foul line in the contest.
"She is one of our best all-around players," Loch Raven coach Jerome Ragsdale said. "She came through for us in the clutch tonight."
So did the Loch Raven defense that forced numerous Dulaney turnovers, including 13 in the first half.
"We are extremely young," Dulaney coach Jess Szymanski said. "We can handle the turnovers because it is to be expected because nobody can play a perfect basketball game, but what it really does come down to is missing wide-open layups and free throws."
The Lions were 10-for-29 from the free throw line while Loch Raven was 10-for-18.
Both teams played aggressive defense and missed multiple scoring chances in the first half.
A three-pointer by Riley McWilliams gave the Lions a 3-0 lead in the first minute and three-pointer by Loch Raven's Stevenson highlighted the low-scoring first quarter that left the Lions on top 7-6.
Mikayla Kemp's four points in the second quarter and a switch to a man-to-man pressing defense helped the Raiders take a 15-12 lead into halftime.
"We are a defensive team," coach Ragsdale said. "It's hard for us find baskets so we try to get baskets in transition, but if they make us go into a half-court set our best weapon is to attack the basket and try to get to the foul line."
Loch Raven bumped its lead to 17-12 early in the third quarter after a basket by Kemp, before Dulaney mounted a charge with contributions off the bench by Brittany Bell, Akirra Pullen and Davison, who combined to score all eight of Dualney's points in the quarter, with Bell scoring four.
"We came out in the second half and we put on the press and got some steals," Szymanski said. "I'm proud of the girls that came off the bench. They raised the intensity."
A full-court press fueled an 8-2 run that gave the Lions a 20-19 lead with 48 seconds left in the third quarter after an assist from Bell to Davison.
But Ragsdale's basket with 10 seconds left gave the Raider back the lead.
"Our motto all year has been our defense fuels our offense and that definitely showed the second half," Szymanski said. "I feel like the team that came out in the second half was like the team that I have hopes for. I'm proud of them for not giving up."
On the other side, Loch Raven's Franklin didn't give up either in the fourth quarter and she led her team to victory.
"It's a really big win," Franklin said.
Her coach said one of the keys was slowing down Dulaney's top scorer Krug.
"We tried to put a little pressure on their best player, No. 13 [Krug]," Ragsdale said. "We knew she spreads the floor. She's a three-point shooter, so we tried to extend our 21 [2-1-2] zone and had our girls face-guarding her off the ball, so we could keep the ball out of her hands, but she found it in the fourth quarter."
Loch Raven 37
Nadia Franklin 9, Jayla Ragsdale 7, Kwanshae Stevenson 6, Mikayla Kemp 6 Tori Fowlkes 5, Kara Ford 2, Madison Williams 2.
Rachel Krug 10, Lydia Naughton 5, Brittany Bell 4, Lily Davison 4, Riley McWilliams 3, Don'shae Harp 3, Akirra Pullen 2, Mikaela Romero 2, Alleshia Pullen 1.
Halftime Loch Raven 15 Dulaney 12