Catonsville's game against North Harford Friday in the BBOWS Holly & Hoops Holiday Basketball Tournament was a matter of survival.
The Comets had to survive mistakes and dodge a couple of gritty comebacks before prevailing, 35-30, at Mount de Sales.
"We were fortunate," said Catonsville coach Mike Mohler, whose team committed 29 turnovers. "I told the kids, 'You go through the season and sometimes you end winning some you probably didn't deserve to win.' I thought North Harford did a a great job, hustled all over the place and really got after us."
That was especially true toward the end of the game.
Catonsville led 24-18 with 30 seconds remaining in the third quarter on Jennifer Gast's layup, but the Hawks' (2-3) fought back.
North Harford's Annie Wernig sank a three-pointer to finish the scoring in the third quarter and the Hawks opened the final period with a 5-0 run to go ahead, 26-24, with 5:37 remaining.
Catonsville (4-1) answered, going on a 9-2 spurt over the next 3:38 to go back ahead, 34-28, as Gast, a 6-foot-2 freshman forward, scored five of her team-high 10 points off the bench.
"Thank god she stepped up for us big time," Mohler said.
The Hawks struggled offensively down the stretch. After Allyson Whitacre hit two three throws with 4:47 left, North Harford only scored one more time.
Whitacre's jumper with 1:49 to go trimmed the lead to 33-30.
Gast finished her team's scoring with a pair of free throws.
"We just couldn't get the ball to go in the basket, but we were very pleased with how we played against the area's (13th-ranked team)," said North Harford coach Kris Kapinos, whose team had 24 turnovers and shot 23 percent (10-for-42) from the field. "You have to tip you hat to Catonsville. They had a tremendous defensive effort."
Whitacre, a senior guard, scored a game-high 15 points. Jodi Enfield (8), Wernig (6) and Bailey Saneman (1) also made the scoring column for the Hawks.
Taylor Barton (8), Breya Wallace (7), Renee Gast (5), Maya Cooper (2), Andrea McTaggart (2) and Maja Wichhart (1) accounted for the rest of Catonsville's points.