Erin Snyder talks about the team's victory and the chemistry they've been building as the season progresses. (Megan Woodward / Carroll County Times)
For Winters Mill, everything begins and ends with the defense.
Tuesday's home matchup against Century was a prime example, and the Falcons used a third-quarter surge to pull away with a 48-29 victory.
"When we force teams into turnovers, or force them to have to play to our pace, it creates turnovers and leads to opportunities for us to get scoring out of transition and get scoring off of our defense," Falcons coach Dave Wynne said. "We're certainly not lighting the scoreboard up offensively so we need to use our defense to generate some of our offense."
Falcons forwards Addi Hill and Samantha Petela each scored a team-high eight points, and Petela added three rebounds. Sophomore guard Erin Snyder had five steals and three assists while junior guard Caroline Heffner notched three steals and an assist.
The Falcons (4-5, 2-2 in the county) capitalized on an early 10-0 run in the first quarter to build a 14-6 lead, and led the Knights 21-14 at the break.
Leading 21-14 at the break, Winters Mill came out firing in the third quarter. The Falcons scored 11 straight points from four different players to build their lead to 32-14 with less than three minutes remaining. Hill netted a pair of free throws, senior guard Shannon Snyder landed one, Petela scored four straight points and Erin Snyder's steal turned into a field goal that kept the Falcons on top.
The Knights' lone points of the period came from junior center Kelsey Weishaar, who scored a game-high 12 points.
At the buzzer, the Falcons were up 40-16.
Wynne gave credit to his team's third quarter energy boost, a quality he said helped transition into more scoring opportunities.
"We knew coming into the game that if we played up to our capability and buckled down with man-to-man defense that we could force turnovers or at least force difficult passes from Century," Wynne said. "We bought into the idea of if we're not impatient and reaching defensively, if we're disciplined in the defensive rotation, then good things will happen for us."
The Knights (1-8, 0-3) scored 13 points in the final quarter, and freshman forward Delaney Tofil netted a 3-pointer to account for her five points scored in the game. Weishaar added 13 rebounds and sophomore guard Angelina Bruno tallied the lone assist for the Knights.
The Knights suffered six straight losses before defeating Towson 37-34 in a holiday tournament at Fallston last week. Tuesday's game was the first regular-season game for both teams since returning from the holiday break.
Winters Mill has had an up-and-down start to the season, but Tuesday's win pulled the Falcons even in county play so far.
"We've been getting better together every game," Erin Snyder said. "We spend a lot of time together to focus on the future."
Century (29): Kelsey Weishaar 12, Jessica Diorio 6, Delaney Tofil 5, Sarah Deese 2, Kaitlyn Huber 2, Emily Kain 2.