Faulcon helps Old Mill weather Meade, 52-46

Heading into Thursday’s game at Meade, it had either been win big or lose big for most of Old Mill’s first nine games.

While the Patriots had demonstrated the ability to pull away from teams in their six wins, they showed they can also win a tight game when pressed into one.

Sydney Faulcon scored nine points in the decisive second half and finished with a game-high 14 points and 21 rebounds in Old Mill’s 52-46 victory over Meade.

Old Mill (7-3 overall, 6-0 county) kept pace with South River as the only two remaining unbeaten teams in county play and handed the Mustangs their first county loss.

“I was expecting a game similar to this,” said Old Mill coach Rick Smith, whose team trailed by as many as nine points in the first half. “We settled down a little bit in the second half.”

The Patriots weathered a 14-0 run over a seven-minute stretch of the first half and fought back to trail by only one at the half. Meade scored the first two points of the second half to go up by three, but Old Mill responded with an 11-1 run and took the lead for good.

Faulcon scored seven of the Patriots’ first nine points of the second half while asserting herself more down low.

“We just slowed the game down and played our game in the second half,” said Faulcon, who also blocked six shots. “I knew my team needed me, so I just played a little bit smarter.”

Faulcon picked up three fouls in the fourth quarter and eventually fouled out late in the game, but by then her damage had been done.

“I wanted her down on the blocks as much as possible,” Smith said. “I felt maybe she would get double teamed and that would leave our outside shooters open, or Jasmine (Valentine) would be open on the other side.”

Valentine had 11 points and 11 rebounds, including six points over the game’s final nine minutes. She scored at the four-minute mark of the fourth with Faulcon on the bench after picking up her fourth foul and put the Patriots back up by seven.

“It’s all about making your layups, finishing and looking out for your team,” Valentine said. “This was a good win. We need more wins like this.”

Mikiyah Mallett scored all eight of her points in the second half, including six over the first five minutes of the fourth quarter. Hannah Franklin hit a pair of key late free throws and finished with eight points, five assists and three steals and Destiny Galloway added six points on a pair of 3-pointers in the first half for the Patriots.

Briel Owens scored 12 points, Excellanxt Greer followed with 11, Destiny Jackson and Jamaica Williams each had eight and Zara Whitfield added seven points for the Mustangs, who had won four straight.

“We were getting good looks (in the second half), but they just weren’t falling for us,” Meade coach Aanika O’Connor said. “The good thing is it’s still really early in the season. Games like this we love because it tests us and prepares us for the rest of the season.”

Old Mill (7-3) 11 12 13 16 — 52

Meade (9-3) 12 12 7 15 — 46

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