Top-ranked Mercy, faced with two tough games on successive days, took care of the first one last night, using a height advantage to put down outmanned Fallston in the final three minutes, 73-64.
Now the Magic (20-2) must make a return trip to Harford County this afternoon to face No. 6 John Carroll in a Catholic League game in Bel Air.
Mercy, in and out of trouble in the first half, seemingly took charge of Fallston (16-2) during a third quarter that produced a 9-0 burst, saw Ashlee Courter get nine of her 17 points, and ended with a 61-50 cushion.
But a succession of turnovers contributed to a scoreless three minutes in the final quarter, and three Fallston baskets made it a game again. When Karen Tiedemann made the second of her three-point shots, it made the score 65-61 with 2: 35 left.
Mercy got some breathing room when Adrienne DiPietro and Jamie Vogtman scored on put-backs, with a block at the other end sandwiched in between. Another Tiedemann three-pointer at 1: 15 cut the gap to 69-64, but it turned out to be the Cougars' last gasp.
Vogtman, her team's leading scorer (14.4) and rebounder (8.8), and like Courter a sophomore, had 21 points, including 10 in the second period when the Magic was digging out of a 27-19 deficit. Shannon Cohen added 13 points.
For No. 18 Fallston, seniors Tiedemann and Jenn Cook did the bulk of the work, just as they have all season. Tiedemann hit her average with 21 points, and Cook had 20 before fouling out with 3: 13 to go.
On this occasion, though, the two got some help as junior Melissa Bustry converted two early baskets, and reserve Lacey Anzelc later came through with two baskets in her team's final rally.
"One of the things I liked about this one was the way we moved the ball against their zone defense. We did a nice job of getting it to the open man," Mercy coach Mary Ella Marion said.
Of Courter's three three-pointers, she said, "Just recently, Ashlee has found her outside touch -- a good shooting stroke -- and that is a big plus."
Another recent contributor is freshman Katie Schuyler, who came off the bench to get eight points.
Some defensive hustle kept Fallston in the hunt, but at the end it was on the boards that the Magic won this one, with the 5-foot-11 Vogtman and the 5-9 Courter working well around the basket at each end of the court.
Originally, Mercy and Fallston scheduled their game for early December, each wanting to play a strong team early to help prepare for league races. However, Mercy asked for a postponement because of school-wide sickness.
"I don't know that I want two big games back-to-back but that's the way it is," Marion said. "We know John Carroll is a big game for us, and there is no doubt we will come out strong against them."
Pub Date: 2/19/97