Two of Harford County's most successful girls basketball teams in recent years, Fallston and Joppatowne, met on the court Monday night as the region playoffs moved into the quarterfinals.
In a see-saw game featuring scoring runs by both teams, host Joppatowne was able to slip away with a 55-53 win over the Cougars in a Class 2A East, District VII sectional contest.
Aberdeen and C. Milton Wright also won region games Monday in 3A North action and Patterson Mill won in 2A East play.
In Joppatowne's win, the Mariners came out of the gate hot from the outside for an early 6-2 lead, but a patient, yet persistent, Fallston club, stayed close and on a pair of Alyssa March free throws, took a 15-14 lead. An Emily Nosek jumper boosted the Cougars to a 17-14 lead after one quarter.
Fallston pushed its lead to 23-17. But three minutes into the second quarter, point guard/small forward Rachael Holehouse, Fallston's star, was whistled for her third foul.
"We made critical mistakes at critcal times," Cougars head coach Mike McTeague said. "Really, we had a six-point lead in the first half and Holehouse gets her third foul, which wasn't the smartest foul, so that hurt us to have to take your point guard out. The mistakes we made were really badly timed. I'm proud of the effort."
With her on the bench, Joppatowne reeled off seven straight points, all by Lakiah Huff. Four points came off steals, sandwiching a three-point shot, one of three in the game for Huff.
Huff's run gave the Mariners the lead, 24-23, but the Cougars battled back with baskets from March and Nosek to retake the lead. Shakara Head, who was limited to two first half points on 2-of-4 free throw shooting, added her second. Fallston led, 27-25, at the break.
Joppatowne went right to Head to open the third quarter and her four points were part of a 10-0 Mariners run that gave Joppatowne a 35-27 lead.
Fallston answered with a 6-0 spurt to close to within two, 35-33, but Joppatowne was up to the task as Te'jha Patton-Hill's somewhat of a circus-shot, three-point play and Huff's final three-pointer gave the Mariners a 6-0 run to close the quarter with a 41-33 lead.
The Mariners appeared to be on their way to the win with a quick burst to open the fourth quarter that pushed the lead to double digits, 48-37.
The Cougars, however, had other ideas. Holehouse scored five points in a 9-0 Cougar run to get her team to within two, 48-46, but Joppatowne's Deona Jones hit her second three-point shot of the game to keep the Mariners ahead, 51-46.
Holehouse answered for Fallston to make it 51-48 and Jayme Harmon scored seconds later on an inbounds pass to trim the Mariners lead to one, 51-50, with less than a minute to play.
Two Patton–Hill free throws off of a questionable intentional foul call made it 53-50 with 38.7 left and Head followed a missed Huff free throw seconds later for a 55-50 lead.
A three-pointer from Holehouse with 7.8 seconds left made it, 55-53. The Cougars had a another chance with 6.7 seconds left after Joppatowne turned the ball over trying to get in bounds.
Joppatowne's Head stole the lobbed inbounds pass, but Fallston actually had one more true desperation shot at the buzzer that fell way short.
"I'm pleased with the way we played," Mariners head coach Mike Harris said, also pointing out and lauding the efforts of Patton-Hill and Huff, two of the Mariners who have taken on different roles as of late.
Patton-Hill led Joppatowne (19-3) with 20 points and Huff added 17.
Holehouse led all scorers with 21 points and Nosek finished with nine.
"It's definitely sad, it was a good game," Holehouse said. "And you have to give it to Joppatowne, they played a great game and it was a hard fight." The Cougars finish 13-8.
Joppatowne will host Patterson Mill tonight (Wednesday) at 6 p.m.
Eagles cruise over Indians
Aberdeen (20-1) had no trouble with visiting Franklin, winning big, 72-41.
Brionna Jones' 25 points led three Eagles in double figures. Kierra Palmer scored 13 and TK Fowlkes added 11.
Fowlkes also had nine rebounds and Jones had eight boards. Palmer also dished out eight assists. The Eagles led, 44-24, at the half.
The Eagles will host Digital Harbor at 6:30 p.m. tonight.
Mustangs beat Bulls
C. Milton Wright (18-5) also had a big win, beating visiting Hereford, 54-37. The Mustangs led, 23-14, at the half.
Allie Appleby scored 20 points to pace the Mustangs. Brittany Haber and Jess Canami added nine points and six rebounds each and Abby Smucker had seven points and seven rebounds.
The Mustangs will visit Milford Mill tonight at 7 p.m.
Huskies beat Rams
Patterson Mill moved on to face Joppatowne after a 38-31 2A East win over visiting Edgewood.
The Huskies led, 20-17, at the half.
Qalea Ismail scored 15 points to lead the Huskies (16-5) and Morgan Golec scored 13.
Jada Hatcher led Edgewood (12-10) and all scorers with 18 points.
Warriors lose big
Havre de Grace (5-16) saw its season end on the road at New Town in 1A North play. The Warriors were defeated, 64-18.
Nine girls basketball teams went to the hardwood Friday night to open region playoffs with first-round contests. Of the nine, six won to move on to Monday's quarterfinal round, while three saw the end of their seasons.
In Class 2A East District VII sectional play, where Harford County sent five teams into action, Joppatowne, Fallston, Edgewood and Patterson Mill all won.
At Joppatowne, the Mariners (18-3) got a monster game from Shakara Head as the Mariners rolled over visiting Rising Sun, 68-39. Head nearly outscored the Tigers herself, scoring 38 points. She added 13 rebounds for a double-double. Lakiah Huff added 13 points and nine assists.
In Fallston, meanwhile, the Cougars advanced with a 58-33 win over Harford Tech.
Alyssa March scored 15 points to lead the Cougars (13-7), while Rachael Holehouse and Devin Brady each netted eight points.
Britany Chavis paced Tech (4-15) with 13 points and Emily Edmunds finished with nine.
Rams move on
Edgewood had no trouble moving on after a 64-26 win over visiting North East. The Rams led 30-11 at the half.
Jada Hatcher pumped in 22 points to pace the Rams (12-9), while Shania Stamper added 20 points.
Huskies win big, too
Patterson Mill (15-5) was also an easy winner, beating visiting Elkton, 67-30. Carlee Lund scored 20 points to lead four Huskies in double figures. Sam Herman and Qalea Ismail each scored 13 and Morgan Golec netted 12.
Mustangs beat Hawks
C. Milton Wright moved on in 3A North, besting visiting North Harford, 51-46, despite trailing 24-23 at the half.
Allie Appleby led the Mustangs (17-5) with 15 points and Brittany Haber tallied 13 points. Abby Smucker chipped in with 10 rebounds. CMW will host Hereford on Monday at 6 p.m.
Morgan Knox had 15 points to lead North Harford, while Sarah Heaps had 14 and Jules Schrof added 12.
The loss ended North Harford's season at 13-8.
Bel Air, also playing in 3A North on the road at Hereford, saw its season end with a 47-40 loss to the Bulls. The Bobcats (4-16) trailed 23-12 at the half.
Kim Harrell scored 13 points and Caela Tindilia scored 11 as both seniors played in their final game.
Warriors beat Falcons
Havre de Grace, the county's only 1A school, picked up a 1A North win, beating visiting Overlea, 48-36. A close game throughout, Havre de Grace (5-15) outscored Overlea 16-4 in the final quarter to pull away for the win.
Katie Bubb had a big night, scoring a team-high 18 points, while Addie Richardson scored 17. Senior Jade McDonnell had six points, including a three-point basket in the fourth quarter to put the Warriors ahead for good.