Western of Baltimore, which had waltzed past DuVal and Springbrook, probably expected a fairly mundane finish to this year's IAABO tournament at Prince George's Community College. And why not: The Doves, ranked 12th nationally by USA Today, were playing a Lee team that had climbed to .500 only by virtue of two victories this week.
But Western, which had won its first two games of the tournament by 61 points, had all it could handle before winning, 59-54.
The victory was the 35th straight for the Doves (8-0).
"Lee showed us a lot today," said Western Coach Breezy Bishop. "They really came to play. We did not play as well as I would have liked, but we will go back and work and try to learn from this."
Western appeared on the verge of breaking open the game early as Shana Sephes hit a jumper with 3:49 left in the first half for a 23-11 lead. But Lee kept coming back and the game was tied at halftime, 24-24.
The Lancers (3-4) led midway through the third period, 32-31. But they were never able to stop tournament most valuable player Dana Johnson (19 points, 37 rebounds), who will play at Tennessee next year.
"Dana is a strong kid," said Lee Coach Lori Barb. "She did a good job."
"We really wanted to win this tournament," said Johnson. "I knew it was going to be a tough game and we played really hard."
Lee countered with Duke-bound Zeki Blanding, who led all scorers with 22 points, but couldn't establish her inside game.
"It was a really hectic game," said Blanding. "Considering the tempo of the game we handled it well and moved the ball well. At times we got a little bit flustered, but I think we played a good game."
Lee trailed 42-39 to open the final quarter. After tying the game the Lancers twice got within one, the last time with 1:09 remaining. But Johnson powered inside for a layup with 49 seconds left giving the Doves a 55-52 lead.
"This tournament has really helped bring us together," said Blanding. "We have made drastic improvements from the way we looked two weeks ago. I think we are starting to play our best basketball now."