* In a wild finish to the Carroll County Girls Basketball League Christmas Tournament, the Westminster Warriors closed with a rush to edge Winfield, 34-33, in the Senior Division championship game.
Courtney Bierne's jump shot put Westminster ahead 34-32 with 12 seconds remaining in that contest. Then, after a foul shot narrowed the lead to one, Winfield's Heather Stoetzer narrowly missed winning the game, as her desperation shot rolled off the rim with time expiring.
In an all-Westminster Junior Division title game, the Westminster II Blue Devils pulled away in the second half for a 32-18 win over the Westminster I Falcons.
The Blue Devils trailed 12-10 at halftime, staying close on the strength of Katie Schyler's eight points. She quickly established herself as the quickest player on the court, stealing the ball numerous times and leading fast breaks.
Her team, though, missed many shots that could have given it the lead at intermission.
The Falcons' strong rebounding, led by Annie Pitts and Melissa MacDonald, also helped frustrate the Blue Devils, which rarely got a second shot at the basket.
Joanna Jennings' six points, including a baseline jumper near halftime, kept the Falcons ahead. But Schyler and forward Kirsten Love led a third-quarter surge that saw the Devils outscore the Falcons 10-2 and take command.
The Falcons, who were rarely able to penetrate the Devils' zone defense for easy shots most of the time, had shot reasonably well from the outside during the first half.
But the Falcons went cold in the third quarter, going 1-for-13 from the field and falling behind 20-14 at the end of the period.
Schyler, whose 18 points led all scorers, hit three baskets in the fourth quarter and passed off for another, leaving the Devils in control at 28-14 with only 1:47 remaining in the game.
The Senior Division game looked as if it would follow the same pattern, with the final score even more lopsided.
Jennifer Nee's eight points had pulled Winfield ahead 10-5 after the first quarter. Then, with a variety of players sparking the offense, Winfield outscored Westminster 12-0 in the second.
Westminster's offense was having trouble during that stretch, despite an effective pressing defense that created numerous turnovers and gave the Warriors easy scoring chances.
But it was unable to hit even easy layups, and Winfield pulled into a seemingly comfortable 22-5 halftime lead.
Despite that big lead, Winfield had been hurt by the Westminster press in the first half, and had found it almost impossible to penetrate the Warriors' zone defense once it set up.
The Westminster defense would befuddle Winfield even more after intermission.
Stephanie Zarriello scored six points, as the Warriors outscored Winfield 11-6 in the third quarter.
Plagued by turnovers created by the aggressive Westminster press, and overanxious play on the offensive end, Winfield got off only six shots in the period.
But it managed to hit three, and still had a seemingly safe, if diminished, 28-16 lead entering the fourth quarter.
After the Warriors again missed a number of scoring opportunities, Nee's full-court driving layup put Winfield ahead 30-17 with 4:07 remaining in the game. Winfield, though, would ++ score only three points the rest of the game.
And in those four final hectic minutes, Westminster would score 17.
The swarming Warriors defense clamped onto its opponents, often stealing the ball before Winfield could get to midcourt.
And the Warriors' offense, which had been dormant most of the game, suddenly erupted to score 12 unanswered points.
Stephanie Zarriello scored six points during that streak that left Winfield ahead only 30-28.
Bierne, who had a bad-shooting game but had a number of assists, fed Cathy Frame for a layup that narrowed the Winfield lead to 31-30 with 2:03 left.
Finally, with a minute remaining,Bierne stole the ball and drove in for the tying basket.
Moments later, she hit a 15-foot jumper to put the Warriors ahead for good, 34-32.
Kara Dailey, whose nine points were second to Nee's 13 for Winfield, hit a foul shot to narrow the lead to one with two seconds left. Dailey then batted the Westminster throw-in to Stoetzer, standing in the foul lane.
But the youngster's desperation shot from out in front, rolled off the rim at the final buzzer.
The Warriors also won a close game in their semifinal game. They edged Westminster I, 42-41, in double overtime.
In that game, they also suffered a nearly-disastrous second quarter, in which they went scoreless.
But trailing 23-9 at halftime, they outscored Westminster 20-6 in the third quarter to tie it and later forced the game into overtime.
Kurica Frisby's basket put Westminster I ahead 41-39 with a minute remaining in the second overtime.
But with 49 seconds remaining, Bierne scored the tying basket, was fouled and hit the free throw to win it.
Bierne had 14 and Zarriello 11 for the Warriors. Sindi Stem scored 12 points for Westminster I, and Frisby added eight.
Nee scored nine points to lead Winfield to a 34-31 semifinal win over Westminster III.
Mary Dickensheets and Candice Calderon had 10 and eight points, respectively, for Westminster III.
The Westminster Falcons gained the Junior finals by topping St. Johns, 22-10. Meredith Carter and Laura Yingling scored 10 and 8 points, respectively, for Westminster.
G; Trisha Till and Abby Pyzik each had four for St. Johns.
The Westminster Blue Devils topped Charles Carroll, 45-7, in their Junior Division semifinal.
Schyler had 14 points for the winners and Love had 12.