Western struggled on offense and defense throughout Friday's game at Digital Harbor. But the Doves put it all together in the final moments with 71 seconds of perfection for a comeback they'll never forget.
Tenicia Spence, Taylor Carter and Maiya Gibson each made crucial shots, and Kelli Smoot forced two steals five seconds apart as No. 10 Western scored the game's last 14 points for a 60-54 victory over No. 6 Digital Harbor.
Digital Harbor (6-5, 6-3 Baltimore City) appeared in command when Ke'shara Floyd's 3-point play gave the Rams a 54-46 lead with 1:20 left. But Western (6-3, 5-0) suddenly awoke moments later.
The Doves made three of their final four shots from the field, hit seven of 10 free throws and forced three turnovers to spark the run.
"We wanted it more than anything," Spence said. "They beat us last year … and it makes us feel good because a lot of people doubted us."
Spence (20 points) began the rally with a 3-pointer nine seconds after Floyd's basket. After Digital Harbor missed two free throws, Carter (11 points) made two to cut the lead to 54-51 with 45.8 seconds left.
Smoot then stole a pass that Spence turned into a driving layup. The Rams came back downcourt, and Smoot made another steal. She was fouled and missed both free throws, but Gibson got a big offensive rebound, was fouled and tied the score on her foul shot with 31.7 seconds remaining.
Digital Harbor had a chance to reclaim the lead, but Floyd missed two free throws with 29.1 seconds left. Smoot made a key defensive rebound that started a fast break that ended with a layup by fellow freshman Qierra Murray (15 points) for a 56-54 Western lead with 21 seconds left.
The Rams turned the ball over on a bad pass with 14.2 seconds left. Carter calmly sank two free throws with 10.8 seconds remaining, and Gibson added two more with 3.1 seconds to go.
"Those two steals turned the game around," Western coach Tiffany Silver said. "And the four free throws sealed the deal."
Digital Harbor went 0-for-4 from the foul line, 0-for-2 from the field and had three turnovers during Western's late run. A'lexus Harrison and Deja Carroll led the Rams with 13 points apiece.
"It's the little things," Digital Harbor coach Patrick McDonald said. "Western made fewer mistakes than we did down the stretch."
W—Murray 15, Taylor 2, Spence 20, Gibson 5, McKnight 7, Carter 11. Totals: 22 13-30 60.
D—Harrison 13, Carroll 13, Scarborough 2, Beckwith 10, Parks 7, Alexander 3, Floyd 6. Totals: 19 15-34 54.
Half: DH, 28-23.