Staring at a 14-point first quarter deficit on the road Monday evening at Manchester Valley, Francis Scott Key’s girls basketball team didn’t panic.
The Eagles gradually chipped away before using a strong surge in the fourth quarter to rally for an improbable 40-30 victory in Carroll County Athletic League contest.
“All of us as a team collectively decided we have to play our game,” junior Drew Watkins said about the Eagles’ mentality at halftime. “Go play FSK basketball. We collectively picked each other up and we went out and played our game.”
Francis Scott Key (10-2 overall, 5-0 CCAL) took its first lead with just 2 minutes, 30 seconds remaining in the game when sophomore guard Summer Brooks picked up a steal and finished in transition to make it 31-30.
After the Eagles’ defense forced a turnover, sophomore forward Caroline Kohr converted a 3-point play, cutting to the rim for layup while being fouled.
“Our talk at halftime really helped us,” Brooks said. “We just cleared our heads and that switch turned on for us. Our defense is what key it. When our shots started falling that is when the tempo switched.”
The sophomore knocked down the ensuing free throw to make it 34-30. Watkins followed with another basket as the Eagles finished the game on an 11-0 run.
The fourth quarter close was a stark contrast from the way the game started for the Eagles. FSK looked out of sorts in the first period, mustering just two points and letting the Mavericks (6-2, 3-2 CCAL) control the tempo.
Manchester Valley hit two perimeter shots in the first two minutes of the first quarter to grab a quick 6-0 lead. After a pair of free throws from Watkins, Mavs senior Carmaya Brown took control of the game by scoring 10 straight points to stake Man Valley to a 16-2 lead after the first quarter.
“We let them play their style [early],” FSK coach TJ Develin said. “The whole message from the second quarter on is ‘We have to play Key basketball and push.’ When we started to push and push, it started to click.”
Getting six points from Brooks in the second period, FSK trimmed the deficit to nine at halftime. Each team struggled to score in the third period with FSK edging the Mavs 7-5 in the period to set up the exciting final frame.
“We started chipping away,” Develin said. “It was 16-4, then we went into halftime and it was 21-12. It was like, ‘Hey, we’re here, just keep playing our ball.’”
Brooks led the Eagles with 15 points, while Watkins chipped in nine points and senior forward Ally Mathias had 8.
Bowman paced the Mavericks with 15 points, but only had 5 after the first quarter as Manchester Valley struggled after the first period.
The Mavericks scored 14 points over the final three quarters after scoring 16 in the first.
It was a frustrating end, after a promising start, for Manchester Valley coach Heather DeWees. DeWees thought her team relied to heavily on its perimeter shooting in the second half.
“We went into some bad habits of relying on the perimeter and that is not our game,” DeWees said. “We just didn’t execute. Unfortunately, if you don’t score you don’t win. You can’t win if you score 30 points in a game.
FRANCIS SCOTT KEY 40, MANCHESTER VALLEY 30
Francis Scott Key 2 10 7 21 -- 40
Manchester Valley 16 5 5 4 – 30