There were nine ties and 17 lead changes before Damascus center Krish Geary took control down the stretch.
The 6-foot-1 center scored eight of her 20 points midway through the fourth quarter to help the Hornets to a 65-58 win over visiting South Carroll last night.
After an even first three quarters, the Cavaliers (10-4) went cold in the fourth quarter, going more than three minutes without a basket.
South Carroll's Melissa Gettemy took a pass from Amy Stephenson to tie the score at 55 with less than five minutes left.
By the time Amber Clutter hit a three-pointer with 30 seconds left -- the next time the Cavs scored -- the Hornets had a 61-55 lead. Geary scored all six of the Hornets' points during the stretch and also did a solid job on the defensive boards to help hold off the Cavaliers.
Damascus guard Cindy Bryant, who finished with a game-high 23 points, preserved the win with four free throws in the final seconds.
"[Geary] was a very big presence and we tried a lot of different things to force her, but she held her own," said South Carroll coach Al Skierski.
"And then [Bryant] made her free throws. We tried to deny her the ball, but just couldn't do it."
It's the second time this season Damascus (12-3) defeated South Carroll. Earlier in the year, the Hornets handed the Cavs a five-point loss.
"These are the kind of games we need to be in to prepare ourselves down the road if we can make the region playoffs," Skierski said.
"We played very hard and with a lot of intensity. But when we needed it, we had a couple of turnovers and missed some shots."
Skierski said another big key was foul trouble. Clutter and Gettemy were both in early foul trouble, but it didn't catch up with them until the fourth quarter. With both sitting on the bench for most of the third quarter, the Cavaliers only trailed 52-51 going into the fourth after a 32-32 tie at the half.
Both teams were looking to work the ball inside early in the first quarter. Spencer hit on her first four shots, and Damascus center Krish Geary hit twice from inside in a first quarter that ended tied at 14.
After Cindy Bryant hit two free throws to give the Hornets a 14-12 lead late in the first quarter, South Carroll's Erin Nauyalis scored on a reverse layup off a pass from Melissa Gettemy to tie the score at 14.
There were eight lead changes in the second quarter before South Carroll went on a mini run. When Spencer scored inside with just under three minutes left in the half, the Cavs had opened a 28-23 lead -- the game's biggest.
Damascus answered with a three-point play by Cindy Bryant and eventually drew even at 32 on a Laura Emery basket. That's how the half ended.
Free throws were the difference in the half. South Carroll connected on only two of its eight chances, while Damascus was eight of nine.