Western's girls basketball team considers this "championship week," because the No. 2 Doves need to beat No. 7 Digital Harbor and No. 4 City to win their division and go on to play for a fourth straight Baltimore City championship.
One down, one to go.
Last night, the host Doves used a 13-0 run early in the third quarter to fuel a 20-point lead and hold off Digital Harbor for a 58-51 victory.
Keirah Hicks began the run with back-to-back three-pointers and Ashle Craig scored the next seven points to boost the lead to 37-21.
"I was just trying to attack the zone," Craig said. "I know my speed and I know I'm a quick guard, so I was trying to get in the hole ... get to the line."
Instead, Craig, who finished with 14 points, found openings to the basket.
Western guards Akeema Richards and Hicks returned after spending much of the first half on the bench in foul trouble and helped the Doves (12-6, 6-0 division) quickly seize the momentum. A minute into the final quarter, Hicks capped a three-point play to run the Doves' lead to 50-30.
But the Rams (16-2, 4-1) rallied with an eight-point run as 6-foot Asia Logan and 5-8 Ke'Shara Floyd attacked the basket. They combined for 16 fourth-quarter points, including eight of 11 free throws.
With 41 seconds left in the game, Floyd's layup cut the Doves' lead to 56-49, but Craig all but sealed the win on two free throws with 37 seconds to go.
"Basketball's a game of runs, and they made runs," said Rams coach Patrick McDonald, "and we weren't able to sustain runs. Taking nothing away from Western - they played a brilliant game - we were down by  and they beat us by seven. If we play the first half the way we played the second half, it's a different basketball game."
Logan, who scored her 1,000th career point, finished with a game-high 19 points and had 15 rebounds.