by Frank AcetoAssociate Sports EditorIf you turn an otherworldly giant into a mere mortal, your chances of success are usually good.For the Stow-Munroe Falls boys basketball team, its chances were very good.Just not quite good enough.Host Solon escaped with a tense 46-44 victory over the Bulldogs in a Western Reserve Conference showdown Friday. The Comets, who have not lost to a WRC opponent in more than two years, improved to 9-4 overall and 7-0 in the conference.Solon, which has won the last six contests against Stow, survived despite letting a double-digit lead disappear in the second half. The Bulldogs also held 6-foot-9 All-Ohio center Dallas Lauderdale in check for most of the night. The standout post player finished with just six points on three-of-11 shooting even though the Bulldogs' tallest player is 6-5. Despite an off-night on the offensive end, Lauderdale had a huge impact. He finished with a game-high 12 rebounds and a blocked shot and altered several other shooting attempts.And because Lauderdale is such an intimidating presence, Solon had plenty of room to shoot from the perimeter. The Comets made seven of 13 3-point attempts and got a game-high 18 points from guard Nne Lewis."I was disappointed because we didn't get to their shooters," said longtime Stow head coach Dave Close. "But I was proud of our guys. I told them at halftime we had a chance to come back. It was an all-out effort." Throughout the evening, Lewis was the quickest player on the floor. And since he had the biggest player on the floor clearing the lane for him, Lewis knew how to make things happen."Dallas is a huge presence because he gets double- and triple-teamed so much," said Solon head coach Todd Van Reeth. "Everyone is very aware of him and people think twice when they see him near the basket. And he's making the extra pass."The Bulldogs (7-7, 6-3), however, sure made it interesting.After Lauderdale's tip-in gave the Comets a 32-19 lead with a little more than 4 minutes remaining in the third quarter, Stow closed the period with a 12-3 run to cut Solon's advantage to 35-31.The highlight of the spurt was a long jumper by guard Cameron Close at the buzzer. Sadly, Cameron's clutch basket could be his last for awhile. Cameron, who is Dave Close's son, had to be helped off the court after a collision early in the fourth quarter. The younger Close injured his right ankle as he tried to make a steal.But Stow refused to go away.After guard Matt Heinl sank two free throws, the game was tied (35-35) for the first time since the early stages of the contest.Solon, however, came right back.Lewis drained a difficult floater in traffic and converted a 3-point play after making a tough layup on a drive from the baseline. Lewis' latter bucket took place moments after the Bulldogs turned the ball over.Stow eventually cut its deficit to one (40-39) when guard Steve Bednar made a layup with 3:35 left in the game. Lewis delivered the dagger when he converted a layup to make it 46-43 with less than a minute remaining.The Bulldogs had a slim chance of sending it into overtime when forward Nevin Nettey got fouled after an offensive rebound with .48 seconds left. With his team down three, Nettey had to make the first one and miss the second so Stow could get a chance to tie it with a tip-in.Nettey obliged, but Lauderdale got the rebound on the second foul shot to ice the game.Bulldogs guard Paul Racketa scored eight of his team-high 15 points in the second half. He made seven of 11 shots from the floor. Bednar added nine points and center Renden Peery had eight points."We're still trying to get better," Dave Close said. "I told our guys I enjoy practice every day. They are very coachable and they respond to everything we tell them. They're buying into everything we say and I'm excited to be a part of that."Stow, which earned a 66-57 win in the junior varsity contest, was scheduled to host Brush Tuesday. Results were not available at press time. The Bulldogs are set to visit Hudson Friday at 7:30 p.m.E-mail: faceto@recordpub.comPhone: 330-686-3914