Most of the girls on the St. Frances and City basketball teams know each other pretty well, so they talked a lot of trash leading up to last night.
Once the game started, however, the No. 1 Panthers did all the talking, rolling to an 82-42 win in their regular-season finale on homecoming.
After a 12-0 start, St. Frances pulled ahead by 27 points in the second quarter and led by 47 late in the game.
"We came out with intensity, came out with a lot of energy," said Panthers senior Tanira McClurkin (12 points), who hit three of her four three-pointers in the first quarter. "We knew we had to prove a point because they're No. 3."
The Panthers (22-1) have beaten all four of the other teams ranked in The Baltimore Sun's top five.
City coach George Petrides said their speed and quickness make all the difference.
"I'd say nothing was falling for us, but that's their defense," he said. "They just play real aggressive defense. When it looks like somebody's open, there's one of their hands intercepting the ball, so I've got to give them a lot of credit."
Early on, the Panthers hit from the outside, and when the Knights (16-2) switched to a zone defense, they kept hitting. Inside, Briana Hutchen dominated with 10 points - eight from the free-throw line - and 14 rebounds.
"We play a lot of team basketball," Hutchen said. "We try to let all our starters touch the ball at some point, so it's not like a one-side thing. All our starters are capable of scoring in double figures."
And last night they did, with Shatyra Hawkes leading the way with 20, Tasia Bristow adding 17 and Deanna Harmon 13.
LaShay Taft had 22 for City.