After rushing the offense at key moments Wednesday night, the No. 3 McDonogh girls basketball team settled down long enough for a late eight-point run to ensure a victory.
Danielle Edwards and Deja Logan scored four points each in the surge, which closed out a 44-42 win at No. 8 Roland Park in an Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference game.
The game featured two young teams working through similar growing pains with only Roland Park starting a senior — guard Beth Kelly. The only senior the Eagles had been starting, forward Hannah Rees, is out for the season after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
"It's a big win for us," McDonogh coach Brad Rees said. "The problem we've had is holding our composure with our lack of experience. We don't have a senior playing significant minutes, and everyone is kind of playing a different role and everyone's a little out of sync. I was proud tonight that we held on."
The defending conference champion, McDonogh (4-3, 2-1 conference) built as much as a nine-point lead late in the first half, but Roland Park revved up its defense and took its first lead on Lindsey Edwards' runner late in the third quarter.
"We did get a little hyper," said Eagles sophomore point Danielle Edwards, "but I think that we're just trying to get it together and know that we have each other and that the pace of the game is just all about time and scoring — knowing when to speed it up and when to slow it down."
The Reds (2-7, 1-4) took a 39-36 lead to open the fourth quarter on freshman guard Jaia Alexander's highlight-reel reverse layup and Ryan Holder's free throw, but they didn't score a point over the next 5:30.
After Logan's 15-footer polished off the Eagles' eight-point run, they had a 44-39 lead with 2:01 to go. The Reds then did everything they could except hit a basket.
With two fouls to give, the Reds got some quick ones to put Lilli Robb on the line for a one-and-one. Robb missed the front end, and Lindsey Edwards grabbed the rebound. After a Roland Park timeout, Alexander hit a 3-pointer to pull her team within 44-42 with 10.4 seconds to go.
Another quick foul by the Reds put Logan on the line, but she also missed the front end and Michala Clay got the rebound for Roland Park. The Eagles then fouled with 7.1 seconds left to slow McDonogh's progress down the court — a strategy that prevented overtime. Alexander managed a long pass to Lindsey Edwards open under the basket, but time ran out before Edwards could take the shot.
For the Reds, it was the second two-point loss to a top-five team this week after their 59-57 setback at No. 5 St. Frances on Monday. Both times, they came back to tie or take a small lead but could not hold the momentum.
"We can't close it out," Reds coach Scott Buckley said. "We're learning how to win close games like this. We're not there yet, but I like our progress. We play hard and we're doing some good things, but we've really got to learn how to finish."
More than a third of the points in the game came from one family as Danielle Edwards led the Eagles with 17 points and her cousin Lindsey scored 14 for Roland Park. Alexander finished with 14 for the Reds, while Logan added 13 for McDonogh.
M—Edwards 17, Robb 4, Jacobs 3, Wynn 2, Logan 13, Johnson 3, Buchanan 2. Totals 17 6-12 44.
RP—Whitehurst 3, Alexander 14, Edwards 14, Kelly 4, Holder 3, Clay 4. Totals 15 8-10 42. Half: M, 27-23.