No. 2 McDonogh celebrates its 46-44 victory over No. 5 Spalding… (Doug Kapustin, Baltimore…)
McDonogh girls basketball coach Brad Rees needed just two words to sum up the No. 2 Eagles’ performance the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference championship.
That described the Eagles’ season as well as their stunning rally from 22 points down to beat No. 5 and defending champion Archbishop Spalding, 46-44, Saturday night at UMBC’s RAC Arena.
Tiersa Winder’s 3-pointer from the corner with 14 seconds left sealed the Eagles’ first basketball championship since they won the final Association of Independent Schools title in 1999. It also continued polished off a 24-game winning streak.
“I felt it,” the senior guard said of her game-winning shot, “and whenever I shoot, I’m like, ‘I’m going to make this and if I don’t, I’m going in for the rebound and put it back up.’ Luckily with God, he helped me hit that.”
In their third win this season over the Cavaliers, the Eagles (26-1) needed a huge third quarter to rebound from a dismal first half.
They didn’t score a point in the first six minutes and didn’t hit a field goal until the last 16 seconds of the first quarter. The Cavaliers outrebounded them, 32-13, in the first half and grabbed 13 straight boards in the second quarter to help fuel a 15-1 run.
Spalding led 26-4 in the final minute of the half before the Eagles’ offense started to show signs of life. Taylor Cummings, who led McDonogh with 14 points, hit a follow shot and then a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to start something her team would continue to build on.
The Eagles opened the second half with an 11-2 run and kept chipping away at the Cavaliers’ lead. Cummings fed Maiya Wynn for a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 32-27 with two minutes left in the third quarter.
“The first half was ugly,” Cummings said. “We were scared. Spalding came out so hard and so fast, we didn’t really know how to handle it. We went in at halftime and we got ourselves together. We knew that if we were going to win this game, we had to come back in the third quarter, and we played the hardest I’ve ever seen our team play.”
The Cavaliers (19-9) led 40-33 after Jade Scaife’s follow shot with 3:40 to go, but after Hannah Rees hit a layup and Danielle Edwards nailed a 3-pointer, the Eagles tied the game for the first time when freshman point guard Edwards grabbed a long rebound and beat the Cavaliers down court for a layup.
Cummings followed that with a long off-balance 3-pointer from up top to give the Eagles their first lead of the game, 43-40, with 2:13 remaining.
The Cavaliers weren’t finished, as Raven Makins hit a follow shot and then Camillle Calhoun scored on a feed from Torri Chestnut to put Spalding back on top, 44-43, with 26 seconds left.
After consecutive McDonogh timeouts, Cummings found Winder (13 points) in the corner for the designed 3-point shot that would win the game. The Eagles revved up their defense for the final 14 seconds as Winder fouled Makins near mid-court with the one foul McDonogh had to give. Rees then knocked a Spalding pass out of bounds with four seconds to go.
Makins took the last-second desperation jump shot, but it fell well short of the rim.
“Tale of two halves,” Spalding coach William “Bookie” Rosemond said. “We knew they didn’t have any quit in them. We knew they were going to come out and fight. They hit a 6-0 run to start the third quarter and you could feel their confidence surge and ours kind of turn. We knew they were going to pick up the defensive intensity, and they did. We just didn’t do a good job of executing.”
IAAM A Conference championship
No. 2 McDonogh 46, No. 5 Archbishop Spalding 44
AS—Makins 6, Scaife 6, Chestnut 10, Epps 3, Calhoun 6, Johnson 8, K.Clark 2, S.Clark 3. Totals 15 9-18 44.
M—Rees 2, Edwards 12, Cummings 14, Winder 13, Wynn 3, Logan 2. Totals 17 5-10 46. Half: AS, 26-9.