Northwest's girls basketball team appeared to deal a knockout blow in the third quarter after a 20-9 run gave the Grizzlies a 37-25 lead entering the fourth quarter.
But Northwest found itself in a dogfight, holding off a Titans rally for a 48-40 victory Tuesday night at home.
Daniella Almonte and Shauna Chauncey combined for 13 fourth-quarter points, but the Grizzlies got a big three-pointer from Brianna Caldwell and four points on free throws by Caldwell and Alex Millspaugh to thwart the South comeback.
"We didn't panic," Northwest coach Jim Mernagh said.
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He said the Grizzlies used their defense to pull away in the crucial third quarter.
"We came out and got some easy looks off our press, that was big, and we knocked the free throws down and we hit some threes," Mernagh said.
Millspaugh hit two three-pointers in the third quarter, the last one with 1:18 left in the period that extended the Northwest lead to 37-21.
But South's Alex Gregg scored twice in the final minute to pull the Titans to within 37-25 as the fourth quarter began.
Almonte hit back-to-back three-pointers for South to keep the Titans close. Chauncey's layup with 2:48 to play got the Titans to within 44-37, but Alex Millspaugh made a basket from the right side and two free throws with 48.6 seconds left to help Northwest keep South at arm's length.
Chauncey's three-pointer as the buzzer sounded made the final score a little closer.
"We did a good job of not panicking," Mernagh said. "Getting the ball reversal is the key against the zone.
Northwest 6-foot-1 junior Alaina Shine faced double and triple teams whenever the Grizzlies tried to get the ball inside, getting fouled most of the time. She hit 9 of 12 free throws, most of them in the second and third quarters.
"South did a nice job of taking Alaina away inside. They tripled her, and Alaina did a good job of kicking it back out.
"South played well, and took a lot of the things we like to do away."
South coach Ryan Becker said that the Titans' speed helped them outscore Northwest 15-11 in the final period.
"I knew that we were going to maybe have an advantage with our speed if we could spread the floor and make them play us one-on-one," Becker said.
"We finally got to hit some shots (in the fourth quarter). It was a kind of feeling-out process. I was a player down (Jessa Molina) tonight because of an illness, and in the third quarter, we came out flat, which was the deciding factor in the game."
South (3-2, 2-2) 8 8 9 15 — 40 Northwest (4-1, 3-1) 11 6 20 11 — 48
SOUTH: Almonte 3 0-1 8, Clark 1 1-1 3, Chauncey 5 7-8 18, Gregg 1-2-2 4, Rattler 1 3-4 5, Glover 1 0-0 2. Totals 12 (3) 13-16 40.
NORTHWEST: Caldwell 2 3-5 8, Simon 3 0-0 6, Nolen 1 0-1 2, M. Millspaugh 1 2-2 5, A. Millspaugh 4 2-2 12, Wood 2 0-0 6, Shine 0 9-12 9. Totals 13 (6) 16-22 48.