After St. Mary's High School (10-1) lost their first game in three seasons on Friday evening to eventual tournament champion Mater Dei HS (CA) in this year's Nike Tournament of Champions, the lady Knights would return to action on Saturday evening in another major contest. Facing previous #1 nationally ranked (by MaxPreps) Bishop O'Dowd HS (CA), St. Mary's would look to begin another win streak.
Bishop O'Dowd would jump out to a 9-6 early in the first period, but St. Mary's, playing in a much more fluid offensive style than their previous game, would come back to take a 14-9 lead with 1:45 left to play in the first period, after a three-pointer from the top of the key by 6-foot-2 senior post Chantel Osahor (Univ. of Washington signee).
After a late three-pointer from junior guard Maya Williams, Bishop O'Dowd would come back to take a 17-16 lead after the first quarter.
The second period would see both teams fighting to take an advantage. After a 3-pointer from 6-foot-2 junior guard Courtney Ekmark (UCONN commit) with just a minute left to play in the first half, St. Mary's would take a 27-25 lead. Another late layup by 5-foot-9 senior point guard Danielle Williams (Univ. of Michigan signee), and the Knights would finish the second period with a tie game at 29 all.
The third period would continue with a war between both teams. After another three-pointer from the wing from Chantel Osahor, St. Mary's would jump out to a narrow 37-35 lead with 4:15 left to play in the period. A steal and a transition three-pointer from Danielle Williams would give the Knights a 40-35 lead with 3:26 left in the period. Then, just before the buzzer, another three-pointer from Danielle Williams, after a drive-and-kick out assist from her sister, 5-foot-9 senior guard Dominque Williams (UCLA signee), would give the Knights a 43-39 advantage after three quarters.
In the final period, St. Mary's would continue their momentum in the game. A no-look back-door pass from Chantel Osahor to a cutting Courtney Ekmark, who would finish the play with a left-handed layup around her defender, would put the Knights ahead 45-39. St. Mary's would then take their biggest lead of the game, 48-39, after a three-pointer from Ekmark with 6:35 left in the game. With 3:15 to play, the Knights would make the margin 9-points, 54-45, after a driving layup by Chantel Osahor.
Bishop O'Dowd would make the game very interesting down the stretch after a 25-foot three-point bomb from Maya Williams with :37 seconds left to play in regulation. The three-pointer would narrow the margin to 3 points, 58-55 in St. Mary's favor, but Courtney Ekmark would convert 5 of 6 free-throws after being fouled in the final 30 seconds of the game to give the Knights the big 63-60 victory.
"We were ready tonight," said St. Mary's 5-foot-7 senior guard Chloe Johnson (San Diego State signee) after the game. "We played much more together tonight. We have a lot of work to do still, but it felt good to get this win."