CREVE COEUR -- For about three and half quarters of their season opener at Whitfield High on Tuesday night, the Ladue girls basketball team was in full control.
The Rams were getting whatever shots they wanted, and were denying just about anything Whitfield tried to do, as well.
But in the final few minutes of the fourth quarter, Whitfield turned the tied and nearly rallied all the way back from a 15-point deficit.
As it happened though, Ladue managed to hold off the Warriors, for an entertaining 51-43 victory in the Rams' 2012-2013 hoops season opener.
Senior center Taylor Robinson had 19 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Rams, with 10 of her points coming in the first half, as Ladue built a 25-18 halftime edge.
In the second half, the Rams used a dominant third quarter, when they outscored the Warriors 11-3, to build a 36-21 lead going into the fourth quarter.
That deficit prompted a strategy change by Whitfield, which broke out its full-court press defense in a desperate move to get back in the game.
A ploy which worked, as the Warriors went on a 12-2 run to pull to within 41-35 with just under two minutes left in the game.
Then after a Ladue timeout, Whitfield stole the ball again, and inched even closer thanks to a three-pointer by junior Rae Smith.
Smith, who scored 13 points in the fourth quarter for the Warriors, finished with 19 points to lead her club.
Fortunately for Ladue though, Smith's three with 1:46 left in the game, was as close as the score would get, as seniors Nicole McNichols and Liz Greenberg combined to hit eight straight free throws in the final 90 seconds of the game to seal the win for the Rams.
Greenberg was a perfect six-for-six from the free-throw line, and finished the night with 11 points and six assists.