Sitting side by side along the Jones Falls Expressway, Poly and Western share many things, including athletic fields and parking lots.
Basketball tradition, however, has always been an area that Western has kept to itself.
Entering last night's City Girls Championship game, the Doves had never lost to their neighbors in 16 years of competition.
That's what made No. 14 Poly's 48-40 win before an overflow crowd at No. 17 Western so special to Engineers center Lindsay Willemain.
"We've lost to them by probably a 60-point margin every time we've played them since I was in the ninth grade," said Willemain. "They're always a great team, but I just wanted to beat them once before I graduated."
The senior made it happen with 13 points and 18 rebounds, using her 6-foot frame to dominate the Doves inside.
The senior trio of Kelly Logan (nine points), Kendall Peace (nine) and Jawai Maith (six) -- the nucleus of a team that has gone 71-20 over the last four years -- also contributed, rebounding well and helping Poly (17-3) force 25 turnovers.
"I thought that their boxing out and their rebounding really told the difference in the ballgame," said Western coach Breezy Bishop, 376-31 during her 19 seasons at the helm, including 14 city championships. "I just thought that Poly's maturity really showed, and so did our youth."
Early on, however, the Doves (15-5) seemed in control.
Trailing, 13-12, they scored seven unanswered points in a two-minute blitz to open the second quarter that put them in front, 19-13. Led by 6-2 freshman Crystal Fallin (15 points) and junior Marion Moore (11), Western -- the City's East League champion -- used its full-court defense to create turnovers, then converted on the offensive end.
After coming out of halftime tied at 24, however, Poly took over.
The more aggressive Engineers -- regular-season winners in the West League -- opened the third quarter with a 12-1 run, building a 36-25 lead.
Poly coach Charlie Sullivan said it was a matter of pride.
"This is the game they really wanted," said Sullivan. "With the tradition they have [at Western] and the job Breezy [Bishop] does, I just hope our kids understand what this means to beat a program like this."