Maybe the third time really is a charm.
After losing to Baltimore County 2A-1A champion Loch Raven (20-2) twice during the regular season, visiting and fourth-seeded Towson (17-4) felt it had something to prove in the Class 2A, Region II semifinals.
Last night, the Generals made sure they made their point.
Abby Burk, Towson's only senior starter, scored 21 points and went 11-for-11 from the line to lead the Generals to a 60-50 victory over the top-seeded Raiders.
The Generals now will meet Hammond in tomorrow's regionachampionship.
Shelley Klaes led the Raiders with 20 points, 14 of them cominin the second half.
"This was the game of the year for us," said Burk. "We were a little nervous coming in, but we really wanted this game. Because of the rivalry [between the schools], any time you beat Loch Raven it's a big win."
Loch Raven led by as many as six, 18-12, in the second quarter, but Towson stormed back to take the lead, 24-22, on a turnaround jumper by Burk with one second left in the half.
Towson ran the lead to as much as 11 in the fourth quarter, only to see the Raiders cut it to 51-48 on two Michele DeJuliis free throws with 1:23 left. Towson made seven of eight free throws from that point to put the game out of reach.
"We played man-to-man on her," said Towson coach Bev Snyder of DeJuliis, who didn't score until the 5:36 mark of the fourth quarter. "She gets a lot of her points on layups, and we didn't allow her to do that."
Snyder gave Burk much of the credit for the victory.
"The whole year she hasn't played as well as she could have," said Snyder, "but in the playoffs she's been our workhorse."
Loch Raven coach Diane George announced her retirement to her team after the game. George, who coached in Baltimore County for 21 years and has more than 100 wins, will be replaced by former Milford Mill coach Ken Witts, who is now her assistant.
"We had too many turnovers and forced too many passes," said George. "We were a little slow coming out of the blocks in the second quarter and that hurt us.
As for the task of playing against a school from Howard County, which traditionally has done well against Baltimore County schools, Burk was optimistic.
"It'll be different this time. We're fired up."