The seventh-ranked Digital Harbor girls basketball team was in control for most of Tuesday's showdown against No. 4 Poly before the Engineers made a run late in the third quarter.
A layup by Nkeiruka Okororie in the closing seconds of the quarter gave visiting Poly its first lead and the momentum appeared to have shifted. But Digital Harbor did not panic and took control again with a 9-0 run to open the fourth quarter and eventually pulled away with a 44-35 victory over the defending city champions.
With the victory, Digital Harbor wrapped up first place in Division I of Baltimore City Division I girls basketball. If Poly beats City on Friday, the Engineers would have another shot at Digital Harbor in the city championship game, which is scheduled for Feb. 20 at Baltimore City Community College at 7 p.m. The Division II tip-off scheduled for 5 p.m. on the same day.
"We knew they weren't going to go quietly," Digital Harbor coach Patrick McDonald said. "They are the defending city champions. You know you have to keep playing for 32 minutes and that's what we talked about. Every team makes a run, and you just hope your team has to sustain that run. We fought back."
Miqueara Lewis led the Rams (16-4) with 15 points and Jaida Scarborough added nine. Teira Pendleton had nine points for the Engineers (17-4).
Digital Harbor's A'Lexus Harrison was back in the lineup for a second consecutive game after suffering a knee sprain in last month's Basketball Academy. The two-time All-Metro selection committed to Maryland as a freshman and finished with nine points.
"Everything feels great, it feels like I never left," Harrison said. "We knew they were going to make a run, but we were ready to make another run so it was expected. It's always aggressive ball."
The Rams led by as many as 12 points midway through the second quarter and carried a 24-15 lead into the break. Poly finally got into a rhythm in the third quarter and outscored the Rams 15-4 to take a 28-27 lead with Okororie's layup.
Digital Harbor regrouped and regained the lead with nine consecutive points to open the final quarter. A 3-pointer by Ty Smith with 1:54 left provided a 43-31 and put the game away.
"It was very intense game so we just had to pick up the speed," Smith said. "We just have to keep going."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun