Bel Air senior Maggi Hall made two free throws with 22.9 left on the clock Thursday night to lift the unbeaten Bobcats past host C. Milton Wright, 48-46, in an UCBAC Chesapeake Division girls basketball game.
The win moves Bel Air to 9-0 in division play and 14-0 overall, while the Mustangs fall to 5-5 in division and 10-6 overall.
The game was tied 43-43 with just under 4:00 remaining. Bel Air senior Jay Harden (eight points, five rebounds, one steal, one assist) made 1-of-2 free throws to push the Bobcats ahead, 44-43, with 3:14 to play. The Bobcats called timeout with the score unchanged with 3:01 to play.
Out of the stoppage, Ginny Donley beat the shot clock with her short jumper and the Mustangs were ahead, 45-44.
The game was retied at 45 all on an Emma Sanza free throw with 1:50 left and :30 later, Hall added a free throw to pit the Bobcats back ahead, 46-45.
Maddie Nimmo added a free throw to knot the game at 46-46 in the final minute. The Bobcats suffered a shot clock violation with their next possession, but Nimmo’s runner in the paint missed and Bel Air rebounded the ball.
At the other end of the floor, Hall was fouled on a three-point attempt. The veteran calmly sank the first and third free throws to put her team back ahead. Hall finished with 16 points, eight rebounds and a steal.
The Mustangs worked the ball around and inside of 10 seconds left, tried to work for a shot. That shot, a potential game-winning three from Miranda Turner, missed off the rim and Bel Air’s Olivia Simon pulled down her ninth and final rebound.
“That was a phenomenal team win, in my opinion,” Hall said. 'Obviously, we put a lot of pressure on 22 [CMW guard Nimmo], but in the second half Emma Sanza and Amelia Svoboda, they were the two that were face-guarding her and they were phenomenal, they did phenomenal. She probably had half of the points she did in the first half, which I mean is still a lot, but they really helped. I’m very proud of our team."
What Nimmo (21 points) scored was five, which was less than half, but it was the play of the sophomore that had the Mustangs out front the entire first half.
Nimmo knocked down four, three-point shots in the first quarter as the Mustangs raced out to an 14-7 lead.
Harden scored five straight points early in the second quarter, but went to the bench for a short time with two fouls.
The Mustangs had a 10-point, 29-19, lead late in the half, but Svodoba (eight points) scored six points, including a buzzer-beater, to keep Bel Air within six at the half, 29-23.
The Bobcats, behind Simon’s six points, outscored the Mustangs 14-8 in the third quarter to draw even, 37-37. Simon finished with 13 points and three blocks.
“First of all, I will say that, that team is as good as any team in this county. C. Milton Wright has a fantastic club, they’re brilliantly coached and they have probably the best player [Nimmo] in this county,” Bobcats coach Calvin Skelton said. “That said, our girls, we pride ourselves in putting five people together that can play defense as one unit. Five girls guarding the ball and that’s our philosophy.”
Donley finished with 10 points for the Mustangs and Turner added seven.
“Our shots weren’t falling, A, and B, offensively, we weren’t crashing the boards, so we weren’t getting second and third shot opportunities that we needed in the second half, that we got a little bit in the first half,” Mustangs coach Becky Dutko said.
Cobras beat Hawks
Host Harford Tech (10-1, 11-5) stays atop the Susquehanna Division standings with a 41-31 win over North Harford (5-6, 6-10) on Thursday.
Junior Kaitlyn Thacker had the double-double of 15 points, 15 rebounds to lead the win. Alexa Baldwin added 11 points and seven rebounds and freshman Anyia Gibson had nine points and nine rebounds. Jada Maddox contributed five points, 11 rebounds and four blocks.
“I’ve never seen our girls come and play the first half as hard as they did. Then it carried over to the second half.” Rams coach Wes Laguerre said. “Everyone was hitting shots and it was great to watch because these girls truly do work hard and put a lot of work in since last year in preparation for this year. It might not have been the year we quite expected as far as wins-losses, but we are improving everyday.”