Towson center Katie Walker said the frustration started to take its toll in the first half of last night's Class 2A North semifinal against Loch Raven.
Stuck in the middle of a harassing triangle-and-two defense, the senior scored only one field goal in the first half and watched the visiting Raiders keep things close.
But once Walker broke free, she never looked back, scoring eight of her team-leading 13 points in the second half and pulling down most of her game-high 18 rebounds to lift the 10th-ranked Generals to a 50-42 win over Loch Raven.
"I had one person in front of me and another behind me, and it was really hard for me to break loose," said Walker. "I was getting down on myself and losing confidence."
Second-seeded Towson (22-0) advances to tomorrow's regional final against top-seeded Fallston. The Generals lost to Fallston in last year's regional final. This time around, Towson's players said they have a good chance to produce a different outcome.
"It seemed like we all had an off-day in that game," said Walker. "I think we can win it this time."
To get that chance, however, the Generals had to survive a tough Loch Raven team, as well as themselves.
Towson never got into an offensive rhythm, but used its size advantage and defensive pressure to take control of the game.
The Raiders (19-5), though, were their own worst enemies. They had numerous chances to cut into the lead, but were never able to take full advantage, committing 26 turnovers -- including 17 in the first half -- and shooting just 25 percent from the field in the final three quarters.
"Our defense was doing the job, but we missed a lot of layups," said Loch Raven coach Ken Witts, whose team lost to Towson for the third time. "I thought the kids just played their hearts out, but the baskets just weren't there."
Senior center Kelley Powell led the Raiders with 15 points, but no other player scored more than eight.
Towson got off to a quick start, taking a 15-9 lead after the first quarter. Freshman guard Sara Lev led the way, scoring the Generals' first nine points and 11 for the quarter.
Forward Kerry Koch also played a significant role on offense, scoring 12.
Turnovers plagued the Raiders throughout the first half. They trailed by 25-14 late in the second quarter.
After cutting the deficit to five at halftime, Loch Raven made just one of its first 12 shots in the third quarter and fell behind 37-24 after Leslie Hunt's put-back with 3:40 left in the quarter.
Towson was never threatened the rest of the way.
"They just kept hustling," said Towson coach Bev Snyder. "They played like they really wanted it."
* Northwestern-Balto. 63, Cambridge-SD 49: Keisha Todd scored points to lead top-seeded and host Northwestern-Balto. (16-2) over fourth-seeded Cambridge-South Dorchester (10-12).
Northwestern will play Parkside of Salisbury tomorrow in the
region championship game at 5 p.m. at Arundel.