Western High is again Batlimore City girls’ basketball champions. But it wasn’t easy.

The No. 5 Doves fended off a relentless and 15th-ranked Poly in overtime, 45-40, for the Division I crown at Coppin State University Saturday. Northwestern captured the Division II title with a 61-36 decision over Southwestern.

The Wildcats (16-1 overall) shook off a slow start to complete a perfect run in Division II as Nakiyah Johnson scored 16 points. Lyric Fortune finished with 13 points for Southwestern (13-7).

Coming off a huge victory over City College and an earlier rout of Southwestern, Northwestern trailed early Saturday before a 9-2 closing run gave it the lead for good. The Wildcats went on a 20-6 run in the final quarter.

“We just came out flat. We didn’t have no energy,” said Johnson. “We played like we had already won, but we didn’t. We should have came out hard.”

Johnson, a sophomore scored five points in the closing first quarter run. The Sabers (13-9) pulled within four on Fortune’s three-point play with 3:11 left in the second quarter, but the Wildcats answered, scoring the final seven points of the first half to take a 27-16 halftime advantage..

The Sabers pulled to within 32-24 midway in third after a 3-point play from Fortune, but got no closer. Northwestern defeated Southwestern, 59-25, during the regular season.

“Sometimes it’s hard to get up for a team that you beat by a lot,” Northwestern  coach Jermaine Dunn said. “I knew they were going to be very aggressive. They [Southwestern] killed us on the boards. They didn’t give up, but I’m glad our second half was better than our first half.”

The championship was the third straight for Dunn, who coached Forest Park to back-to-back league crowns. The northwest Baltimore school is being rebuilt as part of a merger with Northwestern. The two schools are sharing the Northwestern building and their sports teams have merged until Forest Park reopens.

Johnson, Krishauna Davenport, Tiffani Rice and Britney Levy joined Dunn at Northwestern this season after playing at Forest Park last year.

“We call ourselves North Park, a combination of Northwestern and Forest Park,” Dunn said. “The girls love each other. We share the same building … so it’s a proud moment for us, because, you know, a lot of people didn’t think we could pull this out, but this would show them otherwise.”



In a game where Poly struggled to score from the field, Western got all they could handle from the 15th-ranked Engineers. In the end, the No. 5 Doves (18-5) held on for their second straight city title, thanks to 20 points from junior guard Cache Waters.

“This is normal for us, Waters said. “We just went out did what we normally do and we came out on top.”

Western opened overtime with a 3-point play from senior Naya Delany and basket from Destiny Hawkins for a 41-36 advantage, but Poly (15-8), which didn’t make its first field goal until the final minute in the first half, refused to go away.

A free throw from Tylea Galloway and 3-pointer from Jada Gross brought the Cold Spring Lane school to within one. The Engineers had possession with 37.1 seconds left in overtime, but Waters intercepted a pass at the 3-point line and went in for a layup. Poly committed a traveling violation with 5.5 seconds left, and Waters capped her big overtime with another basket.

Western, which defeated the Engineers, 52-42, a couple of weeks ago, started Saturday with an 8-0 run. The Doves led 20-17 at halftime as Dasia Townes and Gross produced the first field goals for Poly in the closing minute.

In a back-and-forth second half, Poly led 36-34 with 34.1 seconds remaining in regulation. Western pulled even to force overtime, but didn’t have Jasmen Walton for the extra session.

Walton, the Doves’ leading scorer, was shaken up after hitting the floor going after a loose ball. Western was able to respond in overtime.

“Playing a tough game like this will prepare us for regionals,” said Western coach Tasha Townsend, whose team reached the Class 4A state semifinals last season. “They [Poly] are a tough team and they always fight us until the end.”

Engineers coach Kendall Peace-Able applauded her team’s effort. Poly hopes to make another run at the 3A state final after losing to Glenelg.

“I am very proud of how our girls, we are very young and after today’s game I think a lot our girls have bought in,” Peace-Able said.

Baltimore City girls’ basketball championship

at Coppin State University

Division II final

Northwestern 61, Southwestern 36

Southwestern – Fortune 12, Smith 2, Cox 10, Crosby 6, Pierce 2. Totals 13 8-23 36.

Northwestern – Gales 8, Davenport 10, Johnson 16, Rice 10, D.Jones 6, Smith 9, Rogers 2. Totals 23 13-23 61.

Northwestern 15 12 14 20 – 61

Southwestern 9 7 14 6 – 36

Division I final

No. 5 Western 45, No. 15 Poly 40 (OT)

Poly – Wilson 1, Gross 10, Porter 3, Weems 9, Galloway 3, Jones 2, Townes 9, Ayers 3. Totals 10 18-29.

Western – Walton 6, Johnson 2, Pickens 2, Waters 20, Jackson 2, Scott-Pearson 2, Delaney 5, Hawkins 6. Totals 16 10-22 45.

Poly 5 12 9 10 4 – 40

Western 11 9 6 10 9 – 45