Lake Clifton's Lashina Gross was the smallest and one of the youngest players on the court yesterday.
But the 5-foot-2 freshman point guard played beyond her size and age.
Gross scored 20 of her game-high 22 points in the second half, as No. 13 Lake Clifton (2-2) rallied from a 16-point deficit to upset fourth-ranked St. Mary's (6-2), 61-56, during the final day of the Greater Baltimore Women's Basketball Inc. Pre-Christmas Mixer Tournament at the College of Notre Dame.
Gross, who was 7-for-10 from the field and 4-for-5 from the foul line in the second half, took command in more ways than one.
"I knew we could do it," Gross said. "I just had to convince our big girls, because they were down on themselves [after Friday's 52-44 loss to No. 15 Mercy]. I felt like I had to pump up the team."
After a dismal first-half performance, the Lakers needed to be pumped up.
Lake Clifton appeared to be on its way to its third consecutive loss this week -- the Lakers also had lost to No. 2 Western, 63-49, Tuesday -- as St. Mary's built a 28-17 halftime lead and extended its advantage to 35-19 with 13 minutes, 33 seconds remaining. St. Mary's senior guard Randall Goldsborough scored 14 of her 19 in the first half.
The Lakers out-rebounded the Saints, 29-18, in the first half, but they hurt themselves by poor shooting from the field (8-for-36) and at the line (1-for-13). Lake Clifton went on to miss 17 of its first 18 free throws and 20 of 22, but it converted six of eight from the line during the last five minutes.
With St. Mary's leading, 45-33, with 7:04 left, Gross took over. She scored eight points in an 11-0 run to pull the Lakers within 45-44 with 5:20 remaining.
The lead changed hands seven times during the last four minutes, but Lake Clifton went ahead to stay, 58-56, as Gross completed a three-point play with 53 seconds left.
Debbie Hyman (six points, 11 rebounds) grabbed a defensive rebound at the other end of the court, and Celena Falline (11 points) made a three-pointer with 16 seconds left to seal the victory.
In other games:
Sonia Chase scored 25, as No. 19 McDonogh (6-0) edged Calvin Coolidge (3-3), ranked No. 14 by The Washington Post, 56-54.
Chase gave McDonogh a 55-54 lead with 40 seconds left after stripping the ball from Alfreda Jefferson (26 points) at midcourt and driving for a layup. Chase then made the front end of a one-and-one with four seconds remaining, but missed the second attempt. Coolidge got the rebound, but could not get a final shot off before time expired.
Tesha Tinsely scored 16 to lead No. 2 Western (5-1) to a 52-37 win over Notre Dame Academy (3-6) of Philadelphia. The Doves opened the second half on an 11-6 run to take a 34-24 lead and led the rest of the way.
Lakeisha Dukes scored 16 to lead No. 5 Walbrook (3-1) over Philadelphia's University City (2-3), 58-44.
Stephanie Rohe scored 26, as No. 15 Mercy (5-2) outscored Poly (4-2), 34-10, in the second half en route to a 58-30 win.
Carrie Parsons scored 17 to lead Archbishop Spalding (4-5) to a
52-35 victory over Patterson (4-3).