Stamford entered Friday night's showdown against Trinity Catholic as one of three unbeaten girls basketball teams left in the FCIAC.
The Black Knights would make it out of Walsh Court with their perfect record intact -- but it wasn't easy.
Not that anyone in the gym -- least of which both coaches -- thought it would be.
"They came at us hard and we knew they would," Stamford coach Todd Parness said. "These intra-city games are always exciting, and this was no exception. I'm proud of these girls. We countered their comeback. This was a good team effort, and we'll take any win we can."
With the game tied at 51 after a 3-pointer by Crusaders senior Kellie Hurd with 2:38 remaining, the Black Knights settled down and played big down the stretch on both ends, using a 7-0 run to pull out a hard-earned 58-54 victory.
Ashyla Cody, the lone senior starter in the Stamford lineup, led the way with 17 points -- including eight in the fourth quarter.
All in all it was a balanced effort for the Black Knights (11-0), who got 15 points, three blocks and a handful of assists from junior Kelsey Santagata. Junior Brianna Gordon added 13 points and freshman point guard Tiana England contributed nine points while showing off her deft ball handling skills.
"Tiana doesn't play like a freshman," Santagata said. "She means a lot to our team and has been one of the driving forces to our start. This was a really good win for us. We wanted it after last year, and it feels awesome to keep the momentum going."
Senior Ali Palma finished with a game-high 22 points for the Crusaders (7-3), who trailed by as many as 11 in the first quarter before finally trying the contest on a basket by Palma early in the fourth quarter.
Kellie Hurd scored 14 points and Amy Hurd had seven for Trinity, which refused to ever go away.
"We were figuring it was going to be a battle until the end," Crusaders coach Tom Kriz said. "They're a good team that can get the ball up and down the floor. We didn't pull it out, but to come back against that caliber of a team, I'll take it. There were plenty of positives to take away from this game."