She gave the shot no second thought.
“We’ve got a saying,” Spalding Coach Bookie Rosemond said afterward. “‘Shoot ’til ya get hot.’ She got hot when it counted.”
“I knew if I kept shooting, eventually they would fall,” said Epps, who did make 11 of 12 free throw attempts.
Epps sank her three-pointer from the right side, and senior guard Torri Chestnut made one from the left side moments later to give No. 5 Spalding its final lead in an eventual 70-57 double-overtime victory.
The game was an emotional, physical contest that featured double technicals, extended officiating conferences — one involving both head coaches — and even some unpleasantness in the handshake line afterward.
But when the last glare subsided and the final elbow was thrown, Spalding (23-1) updated its status as being the last local team to knock off Riverdale.
The Cavaliers did the same thing in December 2010, the most recent time before Friday that the Crusaders had lost locally.
Spalding’s quick start in the second overtime, and making 7 of 8 free throws in the final 67 seconds, spurred what Rosemond called “a big signature win for our program.”
The Cavaliers pulled it out despite second-leading scorer Camille Calhoun, a senior forward, fouling out with 4 minutes 3 seconds left in regulation.
“We were just ready to get the game over with,” said Spalding senior forward Jade Scaife, who led her team with 26 points and 17 rebounds. “We were like: ‘Pick it up. If we play hard, we can win.’ Everybody at some point in the game stepped up and did what we needed them to do.”
“We knew if we took them late in the season that it would mean something not only as we prepare for the playoffs but as we look to get the respect that we feel we don’t get,” Rosemond said. “Not only locally, but nationally.
“Every time I look at the [national rankings] I see Riverdale Baptist, St. John’s, Good Counsel. All deserving. But I don’t see Spalding. For four or five years now, we have stood toe to toe with all of those programs. . . . At the end of the day, we think we’re every bit the heavyweight that they are.”
Junior guard Chloe Jackson led Riverdale (21-5) with 17 points. She also had 10 rebounds.
Riverdale Coach Sam Caldwell lamented afterward that too many fouls were called on routine plays, action that would have not drawn whistles in boys’ games.