Mount Hebron erased an eight-point deficit in the first half, then used stingy defense and clutch foul shooting to defeat visiting Oakland Mills, 61-47, in a Howard County girls basketball game last night.
Hebron (16-3, 10-1) won its ninth straight game and took control of the county title race by knocking the Scorpions (17-2, 9-2) out of first place. Hebron also avenged a 43-42 loss last month at Oakland Mills, the last team to beat the Vikings. Hebron has a one-game lead in the county with three games left.
"I feel real good. We wanted to beat them, because we think we're a better team," said Hebron coach Dave Greenberg. "But you can't say that if you don't beat them."
The Vikings left no doubts. Despite being dominated on the boards by the Scorpions -- who grabbed 43 rebounds to Hebron's 24 -- Hebron's man-to-man defense compensated by forcing many of Oakland Mills' 32 turnovers.
After Hebron took a 39-34 lead into the fourth period, the Vikings pulled away at the foul line. Hebron, which made 21 of 26 free throws (80.8 percent), hit 13 of 15 in the fourth quarter.
Erica McCauley, despite a 3-for-11 shooting night from the field, scored a game-high 17 points on 10-for-13 foul shooting. She also had 12 steals and five assists. Christy McCauley had 11 points (6-for-6 at the foul line) and five steals. Cescili Drake scored nine.