Early in the season, Fallston coach Nancy Ferguson wondered how longit would take her freshman-laden squad to develop. Last week, the Cougars gave her an answer.
With Thursday's 44-43 victory over Edgewood, the Cougars extended their winning streak to six games. In that stretch, Fallston (9-4 overall, 6-2 league) has beaten all of the other contenders for the county title.
First, the Cougars knocked off defending county co-champ North Harford, 50-44, on Jan. 23. Tuesday, they dealt C. Milton Wright its first county defeat, 44-41, in overtime.
In the win over C. Milton Wright, the Cougars had four freshmen, Lori Heffley, Jenny Weber, SuzyHarrison and Candy Credito, on the floor through much of the fourth quarter.
"I didn't even realize I was the only upperclassman out there until it was over," said junior guard Cindy Jenkins. "They don'tplay like freshmen. It seems like everybody picks up the slack when we need it."
Jenkins led Fallston over the Mustangs (12-2, 7-1), scoring eight of her 12 points in the fourth quarter and overtime. ButHeffley added 10 points in the game, Credito, eight, and Weber, six.
"I think we work better as a team now," said Heffley. "We've gotten to know each other and how they play."
At Edgewood, Jenkins only had four points, but her last two -- on a jumper from the foul line-- sealed Fallston's victory with 22 seconds left on the clock.
Fallston had trailed by 12 midway through the third quarter. Edgewood's Monica Santana scored seven of her game-high 23 points to lead the Rams on an 11-point run. The Rams led 37-25 with 3:27 left in the third quarter.
But the Cougars quickly recovered. Their full-court press forced six Rams turnovers in the final 2 1/2 minutes of the quarter. The Cougars converted on four of those turnovers, pulling back within 37-33 by the end of the quarter.
Edgewood had trouble maintaining any offense when they lost Santana with 1:48 left in the third quarter. The junior point guard, who leads the county in scoring with a 21-point average, stayed on the bench with cramps in both legs through the first three minutes of the final quarter. Without their ballhandler, the Rams turned the ball over six times and took only two shots.
With 3:41 left, Nicole Lauer hit a free throw to tie the game at 38. Heffley scored the next four points to put the Cougars out in front, 42-38 with 1:38 left.
Santana gave Edgewood the lead back on a layup with 36 seconds left, but Jenkins answered at the other end.
On the inbounds play, Santana took the ball and tried to dribbleup the sideline, but Pam Toth was waiting for her. Toth took the charge, and the ball turned back over to Fallston with 13 seconds to go.
Fallston's victory avenged an earlier 41-38 loss to Edgewood (6-7, 4-4). The Cougars will have a chance to avenge their only other league loss when they host Joppatowne Tuesday at 4:45. The Mariners dealt Fallston its last loss, 38-37, on Jan. 7.