It came down to the final 3.7 seconds of regulation, Friday night at Blakefield, when Loyola guard Dave Surine found the ball in his hands at the top of the arc.  Surine deftly launched a perfect 22-footer as the buzzer sounded, giving the host Dons a 54-51 win over Dulaney.

The Lions had battled back after being down by 11 points with 5:54 to go in the game, and as the clock wound down, most of the large crowd anticipated overtime, but a calm, serene Surine ended the suspense in regulation.

“I just wanted to get it up in time,” said Surine.  “It wasn’t exactly the plan, but it worked out.  It was fun.  It was fun to get a win for our team.”

Loyola coach Josh Davalli called a time out as the clock was winding down to set up a play from behind the Loyola basket.  Initially it looked like Mitch Cross had a chance to win it for Loyola, but his errant shot found it’s way out to Surine at the top of the key.

“The time out really helped us,” said Cross, who had three threes in the second quarter. “We came together at the end. We came together after a couple of turnovers, and we fought back.”

Dan Vigas led Loyola with 16 points, 10 of which came in the first half, and he was a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line in the second half when every shot counted.  In addition, Taylor Janoski scored 14 points for the Dons.

Vigas praised Dulaney’s effort.

“They’re a scrappy team. They came back and their pressure was stopping us.  They got some turnovers and they were able to convert.”

Will DarleyJustin Amstrong led the Lions with 16 points.  His two clutch buckets from with 1:32 to go in the game helped coach Matt Lochte’s squad tie the contest, 49-49.

Matt Dunn put the Dons ahead 51-49 seconds later, but Dulaney’s Nick Libertini squared it again with a bucket, setting the stage for Surine’s heroics.

With the steakiness you would expect from a pair of jump shooting teams, but clubs took turns establishing runs in the contest.

Dulaney came out hot and built a 17-11 first quarter lead, but Loyola outscored the Lions 16-6 in the second quarter to take a 27-23 halftime lead.  Loyola grew the lead to 42-33 by the start of the fourth quarter before Dulaney staged its comeback.

Only four Lions scored in the contest but all of them reached double figures.  In addition Armstrong’s 16, Libertini finished with 13 points, Will Darley scored an even dozen and Kyle Williams added 10 points.

The Dons (5-7) had lost five in a row before pulling out the win.  

“We talked about how much we needed a win after losing five straight,” said Davalli.  “We knew we had to do whatever it would take to make it happen, and tonight, it happened to be a buzzer-beating three.”

Davalli said that the games against Dulaney (1-4) are exciting because both schools are well represented in the stands.

“The players know each other, and the games are always competitive.  We’ve developed an intense neighborhood rivalry.”

Davalli also praised the Lion’s effort.

“Coach (Matt) Lochte does a nice job.  His kids fought to the end and made every possession tough.”

For his part, Lochte said that both teams play a similar game. “Both teams live and die by the three,” said Lochte. “We’ll bounce back.”

Loyola will participate in the Father George Jesuit Holiday Classic at Georgetown Prep next week, and Dulaney will play in a tournament at Glen Burnie High.

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Loyola 54, Dulaney 51
Dulaney:  Libertini 13, Darley 12, Williams 10, Armstrong 16.
Loyola: Cross 9, Dunn 10, Casey 2, Janoskie 14, Vigas 16, Surine 3.