On a night where many of the team’s free throws weren’t sinking, second-ranked Poly needed a bucket in the final seconds to defeat St. Vincent Pallotti, 48-47.
With just 10.9 seconds left on the clock, Poly senior Dasia Townes caught a pass from Cach’e Wilson, drove down on the left side of the key for a layin. Moments before, the senior missed a few free throws with less than a minute left. Townes finished with a team-high 16 points.
“Honestly, without my team I wouldn’t be able to do it,” Townes said. “The last couple of free throws that I missed, it took a toll on me. Coach [Kendall] Peace-Able called a timeout and my team really built me up. They made me not put my head down when it was time for that big shot.”
Poly got its landmark victory against Pallotti in the Public vs Private School Challenge at McDonogh. Pallotti received a 12-point performance by South Carolina commit Eniya Russell and 17 points from senior guard Jania Hall.
For Peace-Able, the victory came down to stopping the Panthers’ talented guards.
“They’re talented — they’re talented,” Peace-Able said. “I think that their post players are extremely aggressive and mobile as well, but the thing that stood out to me most is their guards. I love playing teams where everybody isn’t necessarily a big name on the team, but [Hall] shot the ball extremely well."
The game went back and forth with Poly taking a 14-10 lead in the first quarter. Five players were on the board for Poly, while Pallotti’s Hall had five points.
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The second quarter was a defensive battle with just 14 points scored between the teams. Using a zone defense, Poly’s Ajae Petty caused many shots to be adjusted on the interior and the Engineers continued to lead 20-18 at the half. Townes continued her consistent play in the third quarter with four additional points, giving her team the 32-29 advantage.
Things got dicey for the Engineers when Pallotti took a late lead in the fourth after a few foul calls put Russell and Hall at the line. Trailing 47-46 with less than 20 seconds to go, Poly created a shot opportunity for Townes to finish and she did.
Even with the loss, Pallotti coach Joe Mathews is looking to use the game to gear up for IAAM play.
“We hope it makes us better,” Mathews said. “It’s one of these things for our goals, it doesn’t really change where we’re trying to go. We obviously don’t like to lose, but if we can learn from it, it’s plenty to be taught by what we did tonight. That’s just in terms of discipline and mental focus.”
BP: D. Townes 16, T. Robinson 8, D. Clark 8, J. Gross 5, C. Wilson 5, K. Ferguson 3, A. Petty 2, T. Massenburg 2