River Hill was offended by the fact it was unable to wrap up the Howard County crown on Monday night, instead being upset by No. 6 Glenelg.
So what did the No. 2 Hawks do about it last night at Mount Hebron? They got defensive - very defensive.
Forcing 32 turnovers and limiting the No. 8 Vikings to 30 percent shooting from the field, the Hawks also squeezed out just enough offense in the fourth quarter to pull out a 35-32 win and clinch their third county title in four years.
"Coming back from [Monday's loss], the kids knew they had to stay composed and be determined and they were. It wasn't easy and it wasn't pretty, but we'll take it," said River Hill coach Teresa Waters.
The Hawks (19-3, 17-1) had plenty to think about yesterday before the game.
First was the missed opportunity against Glenelg. A close second was how things unraveled last year when the Vikings beat them at the buzzer to take the county championship that had belonged to the Hawks the previous two years.
In the fourth quarter last night, the Hawks showed how much they wanted it back.
Sophomore center Brittany Gordon scored eight of her game-high 15 points in the final period and senior Megan Buescher hit two baskets on consecutive possessions, the second one tying the score at 32 with 1:15 left.
After Gordon hit two free throws to give the Hawks the lead for good at 34-32, their defense and another free throw from LaKeisha Eaddy took care of the rest.
"All day, everyone was depressed after losing to Glenelg and then we started off slow again [last night], but this time we were able to fight through it," said Buescher, who finished with nine points and had the defensive chore of guarding Mount Hebron senior standout Kristen Waagbo.
A physical, trapping defense by the Hawks left the Vikings (17-4, 13-4) unable to get set offensively, and help for Buescher came quickly anytime Waagbo (12 points) had the ball.
Waters said poor discipline on offense and a lack of defense attributed to Monday's 51-40 loss to Glenelg. While the Hawks' offense turned the ball over 22 times and shot just 22 percent from the field last night - and failed to hit a field goal in the third quarter -she certainly saw a better effort defensively.
"The kids know they have to play hard on defense. That's the key for us," she said. "We lost to them at the buzzer last year and we were determined not to let that stop us this time."
Instead, with the 35-32 lead and 10 seconds left, Eaddy was able to get out fast and get a piece of Thera Wolven's three-point try from the left corner.