Unbeaten Fallston continues to find ways to get the job done.
Last night, the No. 9 Cougars (18-0, 12-0) had to rally in the fourth quarter for the third time in their last four games, but the end result was the same.
They won the Harford County championship by beating their closest rival, Joppatowne (14-3, 10-2), for the second time in nine days, 55-48.
For opposing teams, the scary thing about Fallston is that coach Nancy Ferguson has no seniors on a 13-player squad that features balance, depth and defense.
Reserves Courtney Benner, Jen Cook and Jessica Mook, who accounted for 13 of their team's points, did the scoring in pushing Fallston ahead 46-43 with an 8-0 spree to start the fourth quarter. Joppatowne then ended its drought and was within 48-46 on a basket by Santae Boyd with 4:20 left.
From there, Jenny Weber turned a pass from Lori Heffley into a basket and later added two free throws to shoot the Cougars out of danger, 52-46, with 2:37 to go.
Joppatowne might have been in a better position if it could have made its free throws. The team finished 8-for-25, including 1-for-8 in the last quarter. Fallston made 13 of 23.
Earlier, there had been one tie and six lead changes in a first half that ended with the Mariners in front, 29-27. Boyd, who had 10 of her 12 points in the third quarter, kept Fallston at bay with three successive baskets and her final one enabled Joppatowne to equal its widest lead, 43-36.
Weber, one of four juniors playing their third season together, has been one of the leaders in recent games. Against the Mariners, she had 12 points to lead her team for the second straight game. Earlier in the week, the balance was evident as her eight points topped 10 scorers in a 46-26 decision over C. Milton Wright.
Last week, after getting 10 points in a 51-44 victory over Joppatowne, the 5-foot-9 forward/guard collected 12 points, 13 rebounds, two blocks, two assists and three steals in a 46-44 overtime win over North Harford.
Other double-figure scorers for the winners were Heffley with 11 (plus several key assists down the stretch) and Candy Credito with 10. For Joppatowne, sophomore standout Brandi Barnes, a 6-1 sophomore center, had 17 points, all in the first half.
"The last time we played, the back row handled her [12 points, four below her average], but this time they needed help," Ferguson said of a rotation defense that helped out inside. "We just wanted to contain her."
Second-year Joppatowne coach Lynette Shelley, who has brought a program back to life, said her team shot better than in the previous meeting, but they still missed too many and didn't get in good rebounding position.
"Brandi gets intense and the mental part takes away from the physical, but Fallston had something to do with that, too," she said of Barnes' second half.
Both teams end their regular season today.