A newbie named Newby played like a veteran in the final minute as No. 5 Henry Clay held off host Bryan Station 52-48 in boys' basketball on Tuesday night.
Gerrard Newby, a 6-foot-4 senior who didn't play basketball until last year, said he has dreamed about developing into a major contributor for the Blue Devils.
He did it for real in his first varsity start in a city game.
Henry Clay was clinging to a 48-46 lead when Newby grabbed a rebound and scored to make it 50-46 with 60 seconds left.
After Bryan Station's Tyler Smith muscled in a basket to trim the Devils' lead to 50-48, Henry Clay misfired from the foul line and the Defenders had a chance to tie.
When C.J. Walker missed a contested baseline shot, Newby got the rebound, was fouled and hit both free throws with :09.6 left to seal Henry Clay's victory.
Newby confessed that he was a little nervous.
"Oh my goodness, just a little," he said.
"I was hoping I could play well in my first varsity start, and my teammates helped me through my nerves."
Newby finished with 10 points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots.
Henry Clay Coach Daniel Brown was impressed.
"Gerrard maybe played 20 minutes (of varsity ball) last year, but he put in the work in the off-season and it showed tonight," he said.
"He actually won the game for us there late."
As expected, the Devils got big contributions from junior standouts Trey Grundy (15 points, 14 rebounds, three blocks) and Christen Cunningham (12 points, four rebounds).
Henry Clay got off to a terrible start. It missed its first eight shots from the field and first two free throws to fall behind 8-0.
Bryan Station, led by Marcellous Washington's four three-pointers, led 15-10 after the first quarter.
But the Devils took control with a 14-0 rally to end the first half as the Defenders missed 10 consecutive shots.
Bryan Station battled back behind Smith and Larry Morton, who each had 11 points and nine rebounds, but Henry Clay's dominance on the boards was the difference.
The bigger Devils outrebounded Bryan Station 46-32.
"Looking at the stat line, they got 22 offensive rebounds, so what else can you say?" Coach Mike Allen said. "That was the ball game.
"I was proud of the way we came back, but when we got a couple big stops at the end, we didn't rebound. With our size, we've got to be textbook — we've got to put a body on a guy to get a rebound."
Henry Clay, on the other hand, has 6-4 Newby, 6-6 Grundy and 6-5 Darien Tichenor to grab errant shots.
"That's a big key to our game," Brown said. "We want to crash the boards, and we did that tonight."
HENRY CLAY (3-1) — Grundy 15, Cunningham 12, Newby 10, Ware 7, Tisdale 3, Tichenor 3, Barnes 2.
BRYAN STATION (1-1) — Washington 14, Morton 11, Henry 2, Smith 11, Allen 0, Walker 2, Hunter 2, Hipps 1, Bradford 5.
Henry Clay 10 16 11 15—52
Bryan Station 15 2 15 16—48
Mike Fields: (859) 231-3337. Twitter: @MikeFieldsNotes. Blog: fieldsnotes.bloginky.com