Leading by six points with under two minutes to play yesterday, No. 10-ranked Archbishop Spalding appeared to have shaken off a visiting St. Frances team that had no thought of going away.
Little did the Cavaliers know then that they would need an inside basket from freshman forward Kylie Bestul with three seconds left to escape with a 51-49 win over the No. 14 Panthers in a Catholic League game in Glen Burnie.
Good teams give themselves a chance to win road games by finding ways to stay close.
St. Frances, with Shannell Watson scoring six of her team-high 14 points in 15 seconds late in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 49 in improbable fashion, did just that.
The Cavaliers, after watching Watson complete a four-point play on an intentional foul call that eroded away lead, weren't fazed, even after the Panthers had the ball back with time called and new life at the 1: 03 mark.
"In past years, they may have come back to the bench with the deer-in-the-headlights syndrome. But they showed composure," said Spalding coach Deb Taylor of her squad. "I just told them to win this thing [and that] we're going to need a defensive stick to get the ball back."
Both teams had defensive stops in the final minute before the Cavaliers (12-4 overall, 4-1 league) got possession and called timeout with 11 seconds left.
Senior guard Amy Campion and Bestul did the rest.
Campion worked her way out of a trap in the right corner and found Bestul for an easy lay-in to provide the winning 51-49 margin. Bestul also sank key baskets late in the Cavaliers' win Monday over John Carroll.
"We wanted to take it down to one last shot and go to overtime if we needed to. We wanted the ball in Amy's hands, because we know she'll make the smart decision. The 'help' defense came over from Kylie's side, and [Campion] did what she was supposed to do -- dish off," said Taylor.
Bestul also was fouled on the play but missed the free throw.
The Panthers (7-5, 0-4) couldn't connect on a desperation toss in the final seconds.
"When you're playing on the road, you want to give yourself the chance to win at the end. We gave ourselves that chance but didn't get it done. Spalding made the play at the end," said St. Frances coach Jerome Shelton. "We fought hard to get back in the game, but we just have to finish."
The game's biggest lead belonged to St. Frances -- 12-4 midway through the first quarter.
The Cavaliers got back in the game with good shooting at the foul line, going 14 for 19 in the game and hitting six straight late in the first quarter to get the game even at 12.
Campion had 11 rebounds and five assists to go with her four points, and Bestul added nine boards. Kia Coady finished with 10 points for the Panthers.
Pub Date: 1/07/99