Francis Scott Key opened the fourth quarter with nine straight points to break open a close contest and pull away from visiting Brunswick, 60-49, last night in Uniontown.
Four Eagles reached double figures, led by senior guard Erin Murphey's 16 as they all but guaranteed themselves a berth in the Class 1A, Region II playoffs. It will be the first time in three years the Eagles (9-9) have qualified for postseason play.
It was solid defense in the fourth that was the difference for the Eagles.
After Brunswick shot nine-for-19 with three three-pointers in the third to take their first lead at 45-43 going into the final quarter, Key held the visitors to just six points in the final quarter to win going away.
Senior Shelley Smith -- who finished the night with 10 -- opened the fourth with a jumper to tie the score at 45, then Murphey gave the Eagles the lead for good with a basket at the 6:35 mark.
The defense helped opened the lead as senior Tina Smith and junior Amber Smith took charging fouls on consecutive Brunswick trips down the court midway through the quarter.
Tina Smith converted on the other end with a bucket inside off a feed from Murphey and then hit one of two free throws to push the Eagle lead to 51-45.
Angie Simpson ended the drought for Brunswick with two straight jumpers -- the first coming with 4:47 left -- but Brunswick wouldn't score again until a Katie Evancho basket in the closing seconds.
"They're a young team, and I thought our maturity down the stretch was the difference," Key coach Brian Hollingsworth said.
Sophomore Maureen Ritcey and Tina Smith both finished with 13. Smith's effort was a career high.
It's the fifth win in six games for the Eagles, who have already won more games this season than the past two combined.