The McDonogh boys team may not be as perfect as the girls squad, which went undefeated this season. But in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference, the Eagles were flawless.
Last night, however, the No. 8 Eagles -- who rolled through the regular season to the conference title game -- had to fight off an upset bid by Boys' Latin before coming away with a 48-45 victory in the championship game at Gilman.
Senior guard Owen Daly, who struggled from the field for most of the game, converted a three-point play with 4.8 seconds left in regulation to break a 45-45 tie. An attempt by Boys' Latin's Cory Days to tie missed before time expired.
In repeating as champs, the Eagles finished the season with 21 victories in their final 22 games, only losing to then-No. 1 Spalding, 60-53, at home earlier this month. The win comes on the heels of the girls' 26-0 season (44 consecutive wins since last season) and No. 1 ranking in the area.
Junior forward David Lunn led McDonogh with 13 points. Jake Aygun had 11 to lead Boys' Latin, which lost by 17 points in its previous meeting with the Eagles.
Daly, who scored his team's final four points, got a pass from Bob Benson on a cut down the lane and hit a short jumper off the glass as he was fouled. His free throw provided the final margin of victory.
"They [Boys' Latin] were definitely ready to play, and I don't think they could play much better than that or we could play much worse than that," said Daly, who has a lacrosse scholarship to defending national champion Princeton. "We didn't shoot the ball well, and they were making everything."
The Eagles manhandled their B league counterparts, winning all 14 league games by an average of 27 points before advancing to the title game with a 30-point semifinal win on Wednesday over Severn, which along with Boys' Latin were the only teams to lose under double digits to the Eagles during the season.
For the first 30 minutes last night, Boys' Latin had McDonogh on the ropes, including a six-point lead heading into the final quarter.
The Lakers had a 39-36 advantage with 6: 25 remaining, but three consecutive turnovers helped McDonogh gain its first lead of the game at 40-39 on a tip by Benson.
Down 45-42, Boys' Latin fought back to tie at 45 with 29.6 seconds left on a free throw by Hunter Lochte.
"To get that close is a lot more painful than losing by 30," said Boys' Latin coach Trey Gelston. "We couldn't have been more proud of the way we played. Our guys played hard and followed the game plan."
Outhustling McDonogh and controlling the boards, the Lakers led 15-8 after the first quarter, then extended it to 28-17 late in the second quarter. The Lakers maintained the lead, withstanding several McDonogh charges.
But the Eagles finally began breaking through in the decisive fourth quarter. A jumper by Lunn and two free throws by Daly brought McDonogh to 38-36. The Eagles picked up the defensive pressure on Boys' Latin, leading to six straight points, turning a 39-36 deficit into a 42-39 lead with 3: 53 left.
Chapelgate 65, Friends 58: Flames guard Chris Davidson led all scorers with 28, including 20 in the second half, as Chapelgate won the MIAA C Conference championship.
Pub Date: 2/28/99