Shortly before the season started, Kevin McGrath described his Severna Park girls basketball team as "a mixed mess."
Five wins later, McGrath offers a more flattering description of his squad.
"This group is taller than we've ever had and they're all beginning to find their own specific roles," said McGrath after watching his visiting and 17th-ranked Falcons defeat Catholic League affiliate Seton Keough yesterday, 57-50 in overtime. "They're all very versatile and we have enough talent on the bench that we didn't have to worry about foul trouble down the stretch."
Seton Keough was not as fortunate.
The Gators (4-3, 1-1) lost two players to fouls and were outscored 12-5 in the three-minute overtime period.
Sophomore forward Angela DeSalvo scored a team-high 13 points for the Falcons, six of which came in overtime.
Seton Keough's constant full-court pressure flustered the Falcons throughout the first half, forcing 23 turnovers, 15 in the second quarter.
The No. 15-ranked Gators, who led 19-17 at the half, exhibited similar generosity in the opening quarters as they turned the ball over 12 times to their Anne Arundel County foes.
Severna Park, which will compete along with Seton Keough in next week's Holly and Hoops Tournament at Essex Community College, took its first lead of the game with 7:04 left in the third quarter when junior Sandy Jenkin (11 points ) hit a turnaround jumper to give the visitors a 21-19 advantage. The Falcons hit their next three shots and led 25-19 after a basket by DeSalvo.
The Falcons' lead was short-lived, however. The Gators fought back and tied the score at 26 on a steal and a layup by Charity Carbine (10 points) and the second three-pointer of the night by Melanie Morris.
Severna Park (5-0, 3-0) managed to stretch the lead to five on a layup by Jenkins, but the Gators chipped away and trailed only 33-31 heading into the final quarter.
The fourth quarter was a see-saw battle. Severna Park took a one-point lead the with 58 seconds left in regulation on a pair of clutch free throws by sophomore Jennifer Holmes. But Andrea Pinheiro forced overtime when she sunk a foul shot with 19
"I thought we should have been up by 10, 12 or 15 at the half and we were only up by two," said first-year Seton Keough coach Mike Mohler. "I thought this was one that we let get away. It's one that we let slip through our fingers."