It came down to the boards and Towson Catholic's dominance, along with a pair of 14-year-old freshmen, was the difference last night as the No. 4 Owls (21-5) posted a 57-46 victory at No. 7 Dulaney.
Towson Catholic's marquee junior, 6-foot-7 Carmello Anthony (seven rebounds) got into foul trouble and scored 13 points, low for him. Freshmen Jamal Smith and Darren Hopkins, who scored 13 and nine points, respectively, picked up the veteran.
The visitors outrebounded the host Lions (19-2) by 37-18 with 29 of those rebounds coming on the defensive side. The Owls' post players, 6-7 sophomore Byron Joynes and 6-6 senior Ivan Griffin, had 12 rebounds each.
Second shots were almost non-existent for the Lions, who had just seven rebounds on the offensive end as Joynes had 10 of his on the defensive end and Griffin eight of his on the Lions' offensive side.
Coach Rod Norris' worse fears came true as his team tried to knock off its third Baltimore Catholic League team in non-league contests. Dulaney had previously beaten Calvert Hall, 32-29, and Spalding, 65-51, and didn't lose its first game until last week, a 65-58 upset by Milford Mill.
"We competed tonight, but we didn't match up well with them," said Norris, whose note board told his players they needed 60 points to win.
"We knew we weren't going to get many second shots against them. We knew going in they were bigger and quicker leapers. Unfortunately, a lot of your games have to be predicated on getting the open shot and you have to make plays."
Norris felt his Lions "did a lot of good things," and Owls coach Mike Daniel, who agreed, knew his team was in a tough game.
"Rod Norris and Dulaney did a great job," said Daniel, whose team has been fighting injuries, including the loss of junior guard and leader Darnell Hopkins (Darren is his younger brother) for the season with an arm injury.
"They [Lions] really shoot the basketball and they should be somebody to reckon with when they go down to the states [Cole Field House in March]."
Dulaney got within nine twice late in the final period thanks to a pair of three-pointers and eight points by Julius Crossland.
"We try to create opportunities, but you have to make the shots," said Norris.
"If we drill 'em, I think it's a different game."
Crossland, who had three of his team's eight three-pointers, and his backcourt mate, Colin Stevens, led the Lions with 13 points each.