The Francis Scott Key Eagles left the court at halftime last night a little confused by what visiting Williamsport was throwing at them at both ends of the court.
They returned a different team, taking the initiative in the second half and giving the Wildcats a taste of their own medicine.
The Eagles put the clamps on defensively and rattled off the first 13 points in the third quarter to turn a six-point deficit into a lead they would never relinquish, pulling away with a 60-41 win over Williamsport.
In the second half, the Eagles (12-9, 9-8 in the Monocacy Valley Athletic League) were getting past the Williamsport press and did some pressing of their own, slowing the Wildcats attack.
By the time the Wildcats would get set in their half-court offense, 20 of the 30 seconds on the shot clock were gone. That's when the Eagles played a solid interior defense, getting their hands on a lot of the Wildcats' entry passes.
There wasn't much to the halftime message from Key coach Alice Smith.
"I just told them we had to wake up defensively," she said.
"We played a much stronger game defensively the second half and found some ways to get past their press. I just told them to start picking it up."
Junior forward Cindy Sheedy provided the spark offensively. After Nicole Keffer opened the third quarter with a layup off an Ericka Rutzebeck steal, Sheedy scored five of her game-high 23 points to give the Eagles their first lead at 28-27 with 5:24 left.
Sheedy, who added nine rebounds, wasn't finished yet.
After Stephanie Stambaugh (11 points) made it 30-27 with a basket inside, Sheedy took a feed from Keffer for two more and returned the favor on the Eagles' next possession, finding Keffer free inside to push the lead to 34-27 with 2:45 left.
"Cindy played her best this season," Smith said. "Offensively, she went right at them and also did a good job rebounding."
Williamsport scored its first points of the second half on baskets from Lea Andrews and Julie Houser to cut the lead to 34-31 with two minutes left.
Key's Kristy Hollman hit a jumper to give the Eagles a five-point lead shortly before Georgette Palmer hit a three-pointer to get Williamsport within a field goal.
Keffer closed out the third quarter with a jumper followed by a steal and layup to give the Eagles a 40-34 lead.
The Eagles wouldn't look back with Sheedy scoring her team's first six points of the fourth quarter.