Jen Sawyer saved her best shot for the end.
Her only basket, a three-point shot, came with three seconds left and lifted Francis Scott Key past visiting Smithsburg last night, 43-42.
The teams entered the game tied for first place in the Monocacy Valley Athletic League and came out of it with the Eagles on top, 10-2 (12-4 overall), and Smithsburg 9-3 (11-3).
Carey Brennan, who scored Smithsburg's last eight points for a game-high 25, got a basket to tie it at 40 with 1: 05 left, then untied it with two free throws at 36 seconds. It was the Leopards' only lead of the night.
In the next 30 seconds, Sawyer missed a shot, and Rachel Bachtell and Brennan missed the front ends of one-and-ones to set the stage for Sawyer's final shot.
"We wanted a good shot but not necessarily a three," Key coach Alice Smith said. "Jen got it and took it. I guess she didn't want to go overtime again."
Key had won an overtime MVAL game at Walkersville last Friday, 45-43, as Adria Stonesifer and Melissa Merson made late free throws to force the extra session, and Stonesifer had four of her team's five overtime points.
Key had won an earlier meeting at Smithsburg when it fell behind, 11-0, then stormed back to win easily, 47-39.
"Over there, we got behind and came back. Here, we got up early, then came out of the halftime and lay back," said senior leader Sindi Stem, who led the Eagles with 14 points.
"That's been our problem. We come out ahead, and we're not as strong, for some reason."
"I think we match up pretty well with them, and we got excellent defense. Cindy Merson shut down Bachtell, and Melissa Merson took [Natasha] Wilson."
Bachtell, one of three senior starters, had just one basket and Wilson, a sophomore who had had 20 points, 11 rebounds, six steals, and five assists at North Hagerstown last week, was checked on one basket.
Sawyer was Key's defensive leader with five steals, while Stem, a 5-foot-5 guard and a four-year varsity player, orchestrated the offense.
"We wanted to work the ball around, from corner to corner, and I think we were concentrating so hard on that we passed up some good shots," Stem said.
Stonesifer, fighting the flu, got some occasional rest but was in enough to get eight points and seven rebounds.
Key led early at 10-0 and 17-5 before Brennan brought the visitors back, getting 13 fourth-quarter points.
Pub Date: 2/04/99