North Harford's boys lacrosse team came within 30 seconds of elimination from the Class 1A/2A state playoff quarterfinals Friday night. Then two of the Hawks' most experienced players, seniors Bret Schreiber and Tim Lucky, sparked the defending champs to a 7-6 win over Fallston in sudden-death overtime.

With 44 seconds to go in the game, Fallston took a 6-5 lead when John Navarro scored on a feed from Dan Bowers.

The Hawks (12-2) had no time to waste, so middie Schreiber snatched up the ground ball faceoff man Lucky sent his way and went straight to goal. He fired in the tying goal with 30 seconds left.

Lucky won the next faceoff too, and Schreiber quickly fed Mike Chaney, but his shot came too late. The game went into a three-minute sudden-death overtime period.

Sudden death came quickly for the Cougars (9-4), who had made a critical mistake in the final second of regulation. Joe Poling picked up a one-minute slashing penalty.

The penalty not only gave the Hawks a man-up advantage, but it also gave them possession outside the box to start the overtime period. The Hawks worked the ball behind the crease where Lucky

passed over the top to Chuck Kelly. Kelly scored the game-winner just 29 seconds into overtime.

"That (penalty) basically killed us," Cougars coach John Conley said.

Fallston played excellent defense most of the game. DefensemenTodd Hyer, Nick Gesell and Jason Alford upset many of North Harford's scoring opportunities and set the Cougar offense in motion on transition. The Cougars got their last two goals off the break.

Ryan Wegeler had scored on a pass from Derek Hampton with 1:27 left in the game to tie.

"Fallston was the last team in the playoffs that we wanted to play," Hawks coach John Grubb said. "We have a lot of respectfor their defense. Being this kind of rivalry, the game comes down to just how the ball bounces."

Cougar goalie Dave Luber stopped a lot of those bounces for eight saves.

Fallston had taken a 3-0 leadearly on goals from Lucky, Justin Smith and Joe Citrano but could not sustain offensive momentum.

"(Fallston) outplayed us," Lucky said. "We came out fired up, and then we laid down. I have to give Fallston a lot of credit. They were hungrier than us."

Hampton and Peerce Lake scored first-quarter goals to cut the Hawks' lead to 3-2. After a scoreless second quarter, Navarro made two goals on feeds from Lake and Hampton for a 4-3 Fallston lead midway through the third period.

Schreiber, who finished with three goals and an assist, scoredtwo goals in the final 2 1/2 minutes of the third quarter to put theHawks back up, 5-4.

Only one team stands between

the Hawks anda return trip to the state final game -- sixth-seeded Loch Raven, a 9-8 double overtime winner Friday against No. 3 Kent.

The Hawks will play host to Loch Raven (9-3) at 7:30 Tuesday night in the state semifinals. North Harford did not play Loch Raven during the regular season, but Fallston beat the Raiders, 5-3.

If the Hawks win, they will advance to the title game at 2 p.m. Saturday at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

In other playoff action, C. Milton Wright fell to second-seeded Annapolis, 9-4, in a Class 3A/4A quarterfinal game Friday night at Annapolis.

The No. 7 Mustangs (11-2) never had a lead against Annapolis (11-1), which led, 6-1, late in the second half. Rich Heckner led the Mustangs with two goals, while Corey Lambroff and Chris Lloyd added single goals. Israel Sostrin and BrianMoen had assists.

Annapolis goalie Chris Stauder had 13 saves. Inthe third quarter, the Mustangs outshot the Panthers, 10-5, but Stauder stopped eight point-blank shots -- including four one-on-ones.

"We got the shots we wanted, but their goalie played real well and kept them in the ballgame." CMW coach Carl Greenberg said. "We played the kind of ballgame we wanted to as far as the tempo of the game. Their transition was a little better than ours tonight."

Reporter Lem Satterfield contributed to this story.

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