As Lindsey Spann dribbled out the final seconds of the Good Counsel's girls basketball team's victory and its opponent began walking off the court, Amanda Fioravanti gave her teammate a high five and some instruction.
“Shoot it!” Fioravanti jokingly told Spann, who laughed off the idea. “Shoot it!”
“We wanted to get that last little bit of icing on the cake,” Fioravanti said.
Really, Good Counsel doesn't care much about the cake (the championship in the Best of Maryland tournament held this weekend at Damascus High School) or the icing (a few style points to cap a 68-57 title-game victory Saturday against Hathaway Brown, Ohio's reigning four-time state champion that returns all its players from last season).
Good Counsel is after the sprinkles, a sweet final layer for two of the program's premier players: a second consecutive Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title.
With Spann and Fioravanti returning for their senior seasons, expectations remain high, but that means even winning such a competitive tournament isn't just about celebrating that success.
“It's about the preparation,” Good Counsel coach Tom Splaine said. “It's a great tournament. It's an honor to be invited and certainly to come out and win against competition like this. But it's about preparation. That's the way we took it coming in. This is preparing us for our start in November.”
The tournament, which ran Thursday through Saturday, included 22 teams from Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, North Carlina, Kentucky, Colorado, Nevada, Indiana, North Carolina, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
Good Counsel is attempting to become the first team to repeat as WCAC champion since the school's 2005 and 2006 squads accomplished the feat.
“That was one of the hardest years we've had, because we came back with all the expectations, target on our backs, all the rest of that stuff,” Splaine said. “It's harder to win it the second time than it was even that first. It will put some pressure on us this year.”
If anything, Saturday's title will raise the pressure even more, but Spann and Fioravanti both said they relish it.
They also have the talent to conquer it.
Spann, a point guard, has received scholarship offers from Penn State, Virginia, Delaware, James Madison and Syracuse, and Fioravanti holds offers from Virginia, George Washington and Wake Forest.
So, what does Splaine tell his team about handling the pressure?
“We wouldn't have the pressure on if we weren't pretty good last year and stuff and know that we were there,” Splaine said. “So we can either bow down to it and stuff like that, or you can embrace it and figure out how to play the best you can with it.”