Sometimes, there's just no substitute for experience.
The Lowry boys basketball team was proof of that Thursday in the Rail City Classic tournament at Wooster, taking advantage of a deep, experienced roster to wear down and eventually beat McQueen, 58-54.
It was the last game of pool play for both teams, who will join 10 others today at Wooster and Sparks for the bracketed portion of the tournament. The event concludes Saturday with a championship game and five consolation games.
Lowry, a state champion two seasons ago and a state semifinalist last year, battled back from a 45-39 deficit to start the fourth quarter and scored eight of the game's final 12 points to hold off the Lancers for their second win of the day. The Buckaroos (6-1) beat Carson, 50-40, earlier Thursday at Wooster.
"We've got nine seniors, four juniors, and six of those kids were on the state championship team two years ago," Lowry coach Chad Peters said. "It's nice when you have kids around for three years, and we should be a little further ahead than everyone else right now because of our experience."
McQueen looked like it had finally taken charge of a back-and-forth game late in the third quarter, where it led by as much as seven, at 41-34, following a Lowry technical foul.
Lowry, though, never got rattled and continued to work the ball to the inside, where the Buckaroos had a decided height advantage for most of the night. Lowry finally got back in front, 50-49, on a layup by Christian Gray with 3:45 to play. The Buckaroos never again trailed.
McQueen didn't go quietly. The Lancers' pressure defense, which forced numerous turnovers throughout the game, got McQueen back to within 56-54 when Tyrell Minor came up with a steal and a layup with 10 seconds to play. But that turned out to be it for the Lancers' scoring.
"I was really proud of our defensive pressure," McQueen coach John Franklin said. "And I liked the way we pushed the ball; I think getting out in transition helped us, because they were so much larger than us. But as we got tired, we stopped pushing and stopped doing the things that made us successful in the game."
Rian Narra scored 21 points, including three 3-pointers, to lead McQueen. The Lancers also got 10 points from Taylor Matthews and nine from Minor.
Lowry's balanced attack was led by Josh Watterson's 13 points. Garrett Naveran added 12, and Josh Shaver finished with 11.
"The fourth quarter, we just came together as a group and we got it done," Lowry's Calvin Connors, who had seven points, said. "We're all close friends, we all get together and get along, and that helps tremendously."