"Banks was really a beast out there tonight," said PHS head coach Kenny DeMoss. "We knew she was going to get her points but we made her earn them which is a different approach we have taken to girls in the past. We threw some different defensive looks at her and switched to a zone in the second half which slowed her down somewhat."
Both Kirby and Kurucz got the scoring started early for the Big Reds. The senior Kurucz sandwiched a make from behind the arc between two Kirby jumpers, which helped the Big Reds out to a 7-0 lead early. The advantage grew to as many as nine before the Patriots' Elisha Davis got the visitors on the clock with a jumper 3:37 into the opening period.
The Big Reds (15-7) punched their three-point advantage up one more point by the end of the period, 15-11.
GW (14-7) managed to find the lead for the first time in the second quarter after a 9-2 opening run, but the Big Reds didn't stay behind for long.
A jumper from Mackenzie Boone and a trey from Haley Ackerman evened things up at 20-all with 4:12 remaining in the period.
The two teams played the next two-and-a-half minutes to a scoreless tie before the Patriots' Morgan Hotsclaw poured in the first of her two buckets on the night and then Kirby answered right back for the Big Reds to knot it up again.
From there, GW scored one more point than their hosts and went into the locker room up, 24-23, at halftime.
PHS ran out of the locker room after halftime and poured in 15 points to just 10 for their visitors to enter the final period up, 38-34.
The Patriots managed to take the lead two times in the third but the Big Reds answered back everytime. Once on a duece by Kurucz to put the Big Reds up, 33-32, with 1:41 on the clock and again on a Kameron Snyder trey with 56 seconds left, 36-34.
PHS didn't give the lead away again in the final period as it outscored their burgandy and maroon clad visitors by one point, but it was by no means an easy period.
Kurucz pushed the lead up to seven after going three-of-four from the line in the opening minute, 41-34. George Washington immediately answered back to pull within four with 2:44 remaining.
After that the closest the Patriots came to the lead was two points on two different occassions. Each time the Big Reds found a way to push back ahead with either Kurucz or Kirby finding a way to get to the basket or the free throw line.
The pair went a combined 11 of 14 from the free throw line and poured in 15 of the Big Reds' 17 fourth quarter points.
"Brooke and I have been practicing those fast breaks you saw in the game tonight in practice," said Kirby. "If we see one of us about to make a steal, the other one starts heading for the basket at the other end. It worked out pretty well for us tonight."
"We played a really good team tonight and they have beaten some teams that we haven't," said DeMoss. "I think our girls really played the smartest game of the year tonight.
"At the end also we didn't fold or go under. It is like a wave at the beach ... If you can get through the initial hit intact you will be all right and we did get through the main wave which was awesome for us."
The Big Reds will be back in action Thursday when they play host to Wheeling Park in a Region I, Section I semifinal.