Two weeks into the new year, and No. 7 Severna Park and No. 20 Broadneck almost had forgotten what it was like to play a close game.
Yesterday served as a reminder, and it was unpleasant for the visiting Bruins.
Severna Park, which had won its last three games by an average of 32.3 points, needed some late defensive heroics by senior forward Sandy Jenkin to hold off Broadneck for the second time this season, 50-45.
Jenkin, in her first game back after missing three of the past four because of a sprained left wrist, blocked a shot and then scored for a 49-44 lead. She also grabbed two rebounds in the last minute and made a free throw with 10 seconds left to give her a team-high 14 points.
"She does so many things well," said coach Kevin McGrath. "She handles the ball and steadies it, she's got good eyes and good court vision, she's got her head up. She bails us out of a lot of traffic and trouble."
Playing with a brace on her wrist, Jenkin (nine rebounds, three blocks) scored from the outside and drove the lane using both hands.
"I tried not to let it stop me," she said. "It felt good to be back out there. I couldn't wait. And I was expecting to do well."
Broadneck (7-4) never led, but a basket by senior forward Jessica Marshall (14 points) off a pass by Sarah Brino tied the score, 33-33, with 4:09 left in the third quarter. Junior guard Angela DeSalvo (11 points) made a left-handed layup to put Severna Park (10-1) back in front, and the hosts extended the lead to 43- 35 before Broadneck's Alicia Nagowski sank a three-pointer with 10 seconds remaining.
Both teams were limited to seven points in the fourth quarter, but Broadneck hit twice from beyond the arc. The second, by senior guard Jill Smith, trimmed Severna Park's lead to 47-44 with 4:02 left. Smith scored all 10 of her points in the second half.
"Broadneck is getting better and better every time I see them," said McGrath, whose team edged the Bruins, 63-61, last month. "They put pressure on us. They did a nice job with the screen from Marshall, but there were also times when two guards just exchanged and kids ended up wide open, and that really concerned me. I said, 'I don't mind giving up the two if they beat you and go to the hoop, but we want to take the three away.' "
Broadneck coach Bruce Springer said his team, which had won its last three games by an average of 19.6 points, got tired.
"We had to play so hard on defense to stop them from scoring, our legs just weren't there," he said.
Junior center Jennifer Holmes had 12 points, 25 rebounds and four blocks for the Falcons. She began the game guarding Brino, but when the Bruins' sophomore forward kept drawing her away from the basket by staying on the perimeter, McGrath made a switch, assigning Holmes to Marshall and Jenkin to Brino.
Holmes then became more of a factor inside, where the smaller Bruins were more vulnerable.
The Falcons led, 16-8, after the first quarter, and it could have been much more. They scored the first eight points and shot 50 percent (8-for-16) from the field -- compared to Broadneck's 3-for-12 -- and held a 12-3 advantage in rebounding.
DeSalvo went to the bench with her third foul 4:52 before halftime, and Broadneck sliced the lead to 20-18. Marshall had eight points in the quarter.
Severna Park scored seven of the last nine points, however, to lead by seven.
"Their style of play and our style make it a good match," Jenkin said.