Rob Myers scored 31 points and Mark Torba scored 21 -- all in the second half -- to rally Fallston past Kent, 80-67, in the Class 1A, Region III playoffs last night.
Until Torba made two free throws early in the third quarter, the Cougars' game was almost a one-man show. Myers, a 6-foot-6 senior, scored 16 points in the first half and kept his teammates in the game as Kent threated to pull away.
The host Cougars trailed by as many as nine in the first quarter and didn't pull even until Torba's two free throws made it 42-42 three minutes into the third period.
"Torba's free throws were the key in the third quarter," said Fallston coach Robin Hood. "They [Kent] allowed us to get the ball to him, and we took advantage of it."
Nick Johnson kept the rally going with back-to-back layups, and Fallston went on to outscore the Trojans 21-10 in the third quarter. Kernan Kelly made Fallston's first three-pointer of the game as the third quarter ended to give the Cougars a 55-48 lead. Myers and Torba built the lead to 10 in the next two minutes.
Fallston pulled away with sharp shooting and defensive rebounding in the second half. Pitted against 6-foot-7 Kent center Darius Waites, Myers had 12 rebounds and held Waites to 18 points.
"Rob played a great game," said Hood. "He really came on in the last five games.
"I said if we could stay within eight or 10 points in the first half, we would win it. I told them that if they get up, the the place is going to come down."
Fallston ran its lead to 12 with 3:35 left then called a timeout to set up a delay game. Kent's Greg Brooks made back-to-back steals to close the gap to eight with 2:07 left.
The Cougars outscored Kent 25-19 in the final period to earn their first trip to the state finals since 1987. It was the third straight win for Fallston (14-11).
"Kent is a fine team," said Hood, whose Cougars were just above .500 entering the playoffs. "If we had played with any less intensity tonight, we would have lost. This team has really come on at the end of the season. We won our last three big, by 20, 43 and 47 points. They have really matured."