No. 5 Mount Hebron led by as many as 17 points in the third quarter but could not hold on as host Laurel rallied for a 65-63, double-overtime victory last night.
The Spartans (6-0) rallied to score 12 unanswered points to open the fourth quarter en route to a 53-53 tie in regulation.
"They wore us down a little and we made some mental mistakes," said Mount Hebron coach Dave Greenberg. "But I'm happy with them, and this is the first time all year I've said that. Most of the time, the kids executed well and played hard. Now, I think this is going to be a good team."
On the other hand, the Spartans never let up. "We practice harder than most teams play, so we were ready for this," said Laurel coach Rich Grabisch.
In the first overtime, the Vikings (2-2) fell behind right away and played catch-up as the two teams traded baskets. All-Metro guard Emily Yanero, who scored a game-high 21 points, hit an 18-footer with seven seconds left to tie at 59-59.
Yanero hit a 13-footer to open the second overtime, but the rest of the way, Laurel hit its free throws and the Vikings did not. Patricka Smith hit both ends of a one-and-one with 37 seconds left to pull the Spartans ahead 64-63. Zahra Williams added the final point with nine seconds left.
In the game, the Spartans hit 17 of 26 free throws while the Vikings made just seven of 21.
In overtime, the Vikings hit five of 10 shots, but they could not get some easy ones to fall.
"We got the shots," Yanero said, "but we couldn't convert our free throws and that really hurt us. Some of our outside shots wouldn't fall, but sometimes that happens."
The Vikings also got a strong game from 6-2 forward Rachel Cimmier, who added 20 points and 14 rebounds.
Early on, it looked as though the Vikings were heading for a rout. Laurel turned the ball over 21 times in the first half, and the Vikings converted many of the mishaps.
Mount Hebron pulled ahead by as much as 48-31 with 2:57 left in the third quarter.
By midway through the fourth quarter, the Spartans had pulled within 48-47. The Vikings managed just one shot and turned the ball over five times during Laurel's run.
Laurel's Williams tied the game for the first time on a short jumper with 3:47 to go. The Spartans' Anita Creek and Mount Hebron's Alisha Mosley traded free throws to a 51-51 tie.
With six seconds left, Cimmier hit a follow shot to put the Vikings ahead, but the Spartans moved quickly downcourt. Smith banked in a running buzzer beater to force overtime.