Prodded by a public halftime talk delivered in the La Plata gymnasium where curious fans could watch, the Lackey girls' basketball team roared back from a sluggish first half to beat a stubborn La Plata squad, 58-50.
With his team trailing by a point at the intermission, Lackey Coach Maurice Cole felt like he needed to do something to get his players' attention. So instead of retreating to the locker room, he spoke to his squad in the corner of La Plata's gym.
Suitably inspired, the Chargers came out firing with a decisive 20-point third quarter to clinch a Southern Maryland Athletic Conference victory.
"Maybe I'm a little superstitious," Cole said. "But we have been coming out lackadaisical in the third quarter, like our minds had wandered during halftime. I need a way to keep them focused, not let them get overly relaxed."
Lackey freshman guard Janaye Jordan had eight of her 12 points in the third quarter as Lackey (11-7 overall, 9-5 SMAC) won its third straight game and swept the season series with La Plata (8-10, 5-9).
Lackey sophomore Brandi Green sparked the Chargers with her defense, accumulating six blocks to go with six points and six rebounds. Cole said Friday's game was Green's best effort of the season.
"Today I just really felt on the ball," Green said. "I've been trying to pick it up a lot."
In the second half of the doubleheader, the La Plata boys' team used the hard-nosed rebounding of senior Keith Campbell to take a 59-56 victory over Lackey.
The win ended a four-game losing streak for the Warriors (8-12, 6-8), dating back to Jan. 31. Lackey (6-13, 4-10) lost for the second time this season to La Plata.
Campbell had 17 rebounds, 12 on the offensive end, resulting in nine points and nine trips to the free-throw line. La Plata had a 44-36 rebounding advantage over Lackey, including 25 offensive rebounds. Campbell joined the squad in midseason and has averaged 10 points in eight games.
"Since he's joined the team, he's been nothing but truly a rebounding weapon for us," Coach Mike Meiser said. "His attitude has really been able to ignite the rest of the team."
Junior Andrew Lee had 19 points and senior Leonard Bannister had 17, including 13 in the second half.
"What we really wanted to do in this game is be focused the whole way, then finish it at the end," said Bannister, who has three cousins who play for Lackey -- Eric Wood, Kelvin Henry and Joe Young. "This is a game that's big for us, because we know them all."