Somewhere between exiting the court at halftime and returning to start the second half, Doherty lost its offense. But the Spartans found just enough of it and, paired with a timely defense, they outlasted Pine Creek in overtime for a 56-50 win Tuesday night.
"I wanted the team to take care of the ball a bit better in the second half," Doherty coach Pat McKiernan said. "But they ended up holding the ball. That's my fault, I have to learn from that, I can't ice my own team."
After jumping out to a 35-23 halftime lead, Doherty (10-1, 2-0 5A Colorado Springs Metro) managed only three points in the third quarter as Pine Creek (5-3, 0-1) roared back to within three points at 38-35.
Things got interesting from there.
A 3-pointer by Pine Creek's Brianna Bailey tied the game at 38, as Doherty's offense continued its cold streak. But the Spartans heated up briefly, going on a 7-0 run to take a 45-38 lead with just over two minutes to go.
Then it was Pine Creek's turn, as the Eagles matched that 7-0 run with one of their own, capped by a deep 3-pointer from Gabi O'Connor to tie the game with a minute left.
Pine Creek had a chance to win it, but the Eagles couldn't find a clean look.
In the extra frame, Doherty took its time as the Spartans searched for the right shot against Pine Creek's zone defense that had given the Spartans fits the second half.
That zone forced Doherty into taking shots from distance, resulting in the Spartans going 3 for 21 from 3-point range.
"That's the equivalent of turning the ball over 18 times," McKiernan said. "I give credit to Pine Creek though, they said, 'We're going to make Doherty beat us from the outside.'"
But the deep ball worked for Pine Creek. Another 3-pointer from O'Connor gave the Eagles a 50-48 lead in overtime with 35 seconds left.
That lead soon vanished as a foul and an ensuing technical on Pine Creek's Courtney Stanton changed things. Doherty's Kalani Poloa made all four of the free throws, giving Doherty a lead it would not relinquish.
The senior tandem of Poloa (16 points) and Aleita Amparan (17 points) combined for 33 points for Doherty. Five of the 16 for Poloa came on free throws in overtime.
The senior O'Connor led Pine Creek with 13 points.
The two teams meet again Feb. 2 at Pine Creek.
"Tonight was a great game and a great experience, I think, for both teams," McKiernan said. "(The rematch) is going to be a great game. I know they can play better, and I know we can play better."