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Speigle helps Westminster girls basketball cap comeback, clip Winters Mill

What’s an intra-city girls basketball rivalry without a little drama?

Westminster capped off a furious rally in the final frame with a defensive stand to pick up a road win at Winters Mill on Friday night.

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The contest was knotted at 36-all with 2:22 remaining and the Owls clamped down on defense and scored five straight points to pull out a 41-39 victory.

Junior Taylor Speigle powered the push with aggressive drives into the lane, earning a pair of trips to the free-throw line, where she cashed in three times.

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“Something we’ve worked on. One of the things we have been trying to emphasize,” Owls coach Dave Urban said. “Two feet in the lane. Make a good hard move to the basket to get the foul. In the second half she really did that.”

Scrappy defense was a theme throughout. Winters Mill (1-5) used a massive size advantage in the frontcourt to build a 10-point lead early in the second quarter. The Owls were shut out in the first quarter as they struggled to get shots over Falcons’ outstretched hands.

Urban touted the defense and rebounding as the sparks that lit the fire for Westminster (2-4).

“The first half, the offense was very ragged but the defensive intensity was there,” he said. “We are way outsized by every team but I’d be interested to see our stats sheet to see how we did on rebounding. We all went after the ball. It was just an outstanding defense and rebounding effort on our part.”

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Sophomore Abby Kindle led the way for the Owls with 11 points and contributed to a strong team effort on the boards. Senior forward Emily Davis earned extra possessions down the stretch with eight rebounds and two steals.

Davis also converted a key basket with a minute to go as the Owls forced a steal in the backcourt and she converted to stretch the lead to four points. It was the second straight victory for Westminster, a team building confidence heading into a game Tuesday against unbeaten Liberty.

“We didn’t start off the season too great so to get two wins back-to-back gives us a lot of momentum going into the game against Liberty,” Speigle said. “As a team, we are really starting to come around and communicate with each other better. Everyone plays defense ― we are stopping them on the defensive end and that is transitioning to offense.”

For Winters Mill coach Olivia Bowersox, it was a learning experience for the team as the Falcons showed glimpses of greatness, just could not finish.

“We have these moments of greatness and then some lapses,” she said. “It’s those lapses that really kills us. It’s hard to get yourself back out of a misplay or a bad shot. It’s just learning on how to recover and not let yourself get down in that hole.”

Westminster (41): Abby Kindle 11, Taylor Speigle 8, Savannah McWilliams 8, Kylie McWilliams 5, Emily Davis 4, Kirsten Whitehead 3, Carlie Rosewag 1, Abby Alleman 1.

Winters Mill (39): Sophia Barnes 10, Veronica Paylor 9, Allie Cullison 7, Madison Harmening 6, Logan Brengle 4, Cassidy Knill 2, Katelyn Heffner 1.

Halftime: WM, 15-10.

JV result: WM, 28-26.

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