Francis Scott Key's Bailey Mathias talks about Tuesday's win over Westminster.
UNIONTOWN — Francis Scott Key senior guard Bailey Mathias ran down the left side of the court and caught a pass from teammate Sara Warthen.
Mathias had the time and space to position herself correctly and take a shot at the basket with about three minutes left in the Eagles’ Carroll County Athletic League matchup against Westminster. Mathias’ 3-point shot was good, and the home team’s bench players went wild.
They were now hanging on to a five-point lead over the reigning CCAL champions.
Westminster answered with a 3-pointer to trim the deficit, but the Eagles replied with a pair of free throws and completed a 49-45 victory.
“Oh my gosh, I can’t even explain it,” Mathias said. “It’s been our goal since the beginning of the season to come in, and we’re the underdogs in basically every game, so no one’s really expecting anything so to come out on top is just unbelievable.”
Warthen scored a team-high 11 points and Mathias had 10 for the Eagles (5-0, 2-0 CCAL). Rachel Wright converted the free throws in the final seconds for FSK.
The first half saw a lot of back-and-forth action between both teams, and that intensity never wavered.
Mathias scored seven of her 10 points in the first quarter, and she picked off a Westminster turnover to score and put the Eagles up by two, 8-6. The Owls picked up speed and caused an turnover that landed in senior forward Zoe Costley’s hands. Costley hit a 3 to give the Owls a boost, but FSK led 17-14 after one.
The Owls scored 15 points in the second frame to garner a 29-28 lead at the break, thanks in part to 3s from freshman Meghan Ruth and sophomore Jillian Pumputis. Costley scored 12 of her 13 points in the first half alone to give the Owls an advantage.
The third quarter ended in another close bout of play, and senior Karla Stonesifer’s layup at the third-quarter buzzer gave the Eagles a 41-38 advantage. Freshman Savannah Brooks came up with a big block on Westminster to get the ball turned back to Key’s favor early in the final quarter.
Mathias’ 3-pointer with 3:10 remaining helped seal the thrilling victory.
“I knew taking that shot was a risk-taker but once it went in I thought, ‘OK, we got this.’ I knew it was right there,” Mathias said. “We just needed to finish the game and slow it down and just finish it.”
The Owls dropped their first game of the season against Thomas Johnson, but defeated Dulaney, North Hagerstown, and county foe Manchester Valley prior to facing the Eagles.
Costley and Diehl each had six rebounds apiece, and Costley notched three steals for the Owls (3-2, 1-1).
The Eagles entered Tuesday undefeated through four games, one of the team’s strongest showings in recent memory. Victories against Class 1A West foes Catoctin and Brunswick, followed by wins over Lansdowne and a county-opening victory over Century, have helped bolster the Eagles’ confidence early.