Malcolm Delaney, an All-Metro guard last season as a junior, made a promise to himself that he kept in leading top-ranked Towson Catholic to a 64-59 victory at No. 2 Mount St. Joseph last night.
Delaney, who is headed to Virginia Tech, scored nine of his game-high 21 points in the last quarter as the Owls (23-4) clinched the regular-season titles in both the Baltimore Catholic League and Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference.
"Last year we were in those same positions with St. Joe and others, but I went away from the ball a lot," said Delaney who took a charge that resulted in his sinking a pair from the line with 38 seconds left to give the Owls a 60-56 lead.
"I didn't take it upon myself to help the team out more. So this year I promised my team that I would thrive under pressure and that's what I'm going to do. That's when I stepped in and took that charge because I thought we needed it more on defense."
Towson Catholic lost four games to the Gaels (20-5) last season, including the BCL and A Conference finals, and had dropped nine in a row to them dating to 2003.
The victory left the Owls 12-0 in the BCL and 14-0 in the A Conference while St. Joe fell to 9-3 in the BCL and 11-3 in the MIAA, good for second place in both. Towson Catholic will host St. Joe at 7:30 Friday night at the Towson Center in what is now a rather meaningless game for the Owls.
"We're real proud of what we have done and this is my senior year and I want to go out with a bang," said Delaney.
Henry Sims, a 6-foot-10 junior, had 10 points and game highs of 14 rebounds and five blocked shots for the Gaels. Dino Gregory, who fouled out with a minute left, led four Gaels in double digits with 14 points.
Jamell Walker had 13 points and Chris Olsen chipped in 10 for the Gaels, who played without their starting point guard, freshman Eric Atkins. He has a sprained ankle but could be back Friday.
The Owls also had four players in double figures. Donte Greene and Larry Bastfield had 13 points each and Brandon Greene contributed 12.