A matchup between No. 1 Western and No. 2 Hammond now will have to wait about three weeks.
Last night, the Doves (7-0) defeated Good Counsel of Wheaton, 69-61, in their semifinal to advance to today's 4:30 p.m. championship of the 21st annual IAABO Girls Invitational Christmas Basketball Tournament at Prince George's Community College.
However, the Doves will meet Elizabeth Seton of Bladensburg in the championship instead of Hammond. The Golden Bears (4-1) led for 2 1/2 quarters before Seton outscored them 20-5 in the third quarter enroute to a 59-47 victory.
Today, the Bears will play Good Counsel in the consolation game 3 p.m.
The showdown between Western and Hammond will have to wait until the Fuel Fund Classic on Jan. 17 at the Baltimore Arena.
For the Doves, some emotional stress brought on a slow start that lasted into the second quarter.
The Doves had to play without starting center Danielle Davis, who was rushed to the hospital with 105-degree fever Wednesday night. Western coach Breezy Bishop said the 6-foot-2 junior's illness was diagnosed as a kidney infection.
Also, the mother of Doves assistant coach Susan Furnary died Wednesday.
"We feel sad, so we had to sort of rededicate ourselves to the both of them," said Bishop, adding that Davis will be fine although she will be sidelined indefinitely.
In a tight fourth quarter, Doves on the bench held up Davis' No. 53 jersey to inspire their teammates.
Trailing 54-52 midway through the final quarter, the Doves pulled within one on Tesha Tinsley's free throw. Kim Smith hit a driving layup off a steal to give the Doves a 57-54 lead with 2:59 to go. Western would never trail the Falcons (8-2) again.
Smith, a 5-9 junior guard, scored 12 of her 18 points in the final 2:59 of the game. She added a 20-footer and another layup to put the Doves up 64-58 before hitting five of six free throws to help seal the victory.
Chanel Wright led the Doves with 23 points and 15 rebounds. Tinsley added 16 points.
Bishop, however, got strong contributions from just about everyone in the lineup as eight Doves made it into the box score.
"It was a lot to ask of the bench to step up," said Bishop, who has only five of 11 players with varsity experience. "I said in pre-game that everybody has to step up, because the team we were playing was excellent."
In the nightcap, Hammond ran out to an 8-2 lead. The Bears pulled away in the second quarter with a 9-2 run, but then the Roadrunners began catching up.
Seton opened the second half with a seven-point run for its first tie of the game at 27. Darria Boyd hit a 20-footer with 3:52 left in the quarter to give the Roadrunners their first lead of the game, 31-30.
Foul trouble helped doom the Bears after center Kellye Townsend picked up four in the first half and Williams got her fourth in the final seconds of the third quarter.
Kacy Williams led the Bears with 16 points.
Sonia Keiner added 14.