Century entered last night's girls basketball game against visiting Francis Scott Key missing its head coach and, for the fifth straight game, one of its top post players.
On this night, however, it was the Eagles' misses that had the biggest impact.
The Knights held Key without a point for the game's first 7:18, then watched as their Carroll County opponent misfired on 15 of 22 free throws in a 42-39 win, its third straight against the Eagles this season.
Though not at full strength, Century had enough defense to stifle Key, which was playing for the first time since losing top scorer Stacey Malarkey (potential season-ending knee injury.)
"It's hard to beat a team three times in a row because they know what you're going to do," said Century guard Lauren Schwarzmann.
Century (9-5 overall, 3-2 county), which was without head coach Joel Beard (illness) and 5-10 Maureen Onda (knee injury), nearly frittered away a chance to take command. Though Francis Scott Key (4-11, 3-4) began by misfiring on its first 11 shots, the Knights built only a 6-0 lead.
"We just struggle offensively," said assistant coach Brad Rees, who filled in for Beard. "We'll have a good run like that and we should be up [by a lot], but we just don't convert the defense into offense and points."
Led by Abby Rees (12 points) and Chelsea Loskarn, the Knights extended their lead to 21-10 by early in the third quarter.
The Eagles, however, then used their full-court press to make a game of it, quickening the tempo, forcing poor shots and scoring 13 of the next 15 points to tie the game at 23 on Bethany Bachtel's fast break layup with 2:34 left in the third quarter. Minutes later, Key took its first lead, 30-28, on Bachtel's three-pointer.
Century, however, regained the lead on Rees' three-pointer midway through the fourth and kept a lead the rest of the way.
Key got the ball back and was down by two points, but Erin Jenkins was called for charging with 15 seconds left.
"I'm proud of the girls' effort," said Key coach Ed Williar. "They came back and took the lead, and got a couple tough breaks at the end."