After battling Randallstown's tough inside game last night, Fallston center Jessica Mook said she is ready for another showdown with unbeaten C. Milton Wright.
Mook, a 5-foot-10 senior, faced double trouble against 6-1 center Katrina Johns and 5-11 forward LaTonya Chambers. Although the Rams duo dominated the boards, Mook scored 13 and complemented the Cougars' sharp perimeter game to boost No. 6 Fallston past the Rams, 64-43, in a Class 3A North regional semifinal.
The Cougars (16-2) play host to C. Milton Wright, a 63-40 winner over Bel Air in last night's other semifinal, for the regional title tomorrow night at 7.
The Harford County champion Mustangs already have beaten the Cougars twice -- by a total of five points. Mook and her teammates hope to prevent a sweep Friday and earn a fifth straight trip to the state final four.
"Playing against Katrina will help me with Nicole Nimmo," said Mook of the Mustangs' 6-3 center. "We just want to win so bad. I'm sure it'll be close. I can't wait."
Last night, the Cougars had trouble shaking Randallstown (10-12). They missed at least a half-dozen layups in the first quarter and could not keep Johns and Chambers off the boards. Johns finished with 13 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks while Chambers had 18 points and 11 rebounds.
But eventually, the Cougars' balanced offense -- especially on the perimeter -- and their quick defense wore down the Rams. Karen Tiedemann led the Cougars with 15 points while Rachel Simon and Jenn Cook added 11 each.
Until the third quarter, though, it was anybody's game.
With about a minute left in the first half, the Rams scored seven points within six seconds to pull ahead, 27-26. Three times, the Rams hit a layup and drew the foul. Shavon Henley and Chambers could not complete their three-point opportunities, but Johns hit hers, giving the Rams their first lead of the quarter.
"That was big," said Randallstown coach Chris Hodge. "I thought right there that was going to push us over the top as far as staying in the game."
The game was tied at 31 early in the second half when the Cougars made their break. Cook scored seven in a 14-1 Fallston blitz. Her 20-footer with 3:25 to go in the quarter gave the Cougars a 45-32 lead.
Randallstown, which turned the ball over 32 times in the game, gave it away four times in the run. Each time, Fallston converted.
"That was the game," said Hodge, "and we never recovered from it. I think it was just nerves. There were a lot of turnovers. We made it so they didn't even have to work for it. You just can't be successful turning the ball over."