The Mount Hebron girls basketball team proved immune to falling behind once again.
The No. 6 Vikings survived a scare last night as they squeezed past visiting and unranked Annapolis, 55-45, in a Class 3A East Region quarterfinal in Ellicott City.
Mount Hebron, which captured the Howard County championship with a 15-3 county record, improved to 19-4 and advanced to the semifinals against the winner of the No. 13 Long Reach-Douglass (Prince George's) quarterfinal last night.
The Vikings earned that berth despite being burdened with a four-minute scoring drought in the second quarter and a 23-19 deficit at halftime.
"We're not a team that plays hard for all four quarters," said junior forward Kristen Waagbo, who registered a game-high 24 points, 10 rebounds and three assists. "We had to have a slow quarter, but I'm glad that we could come back and play well after that."
Mount Hebron has endured deficits before, overcoming a 15-point Hammond advantage and a 12-point River Hill lead earlier in the season to escape with wins.
"The girls have really made runs in the second half," Vikings coach Scott Robinson said. "They have the confidence to come back."
That rally began in the third quarter. Mount Hebron scored 18 of the period's first 24 points to reclaim a lead it had enjoyed in the first quarter.
But Annapolis (12-11) kept it close courtesy of junior point guard Whitney Crankfield, who scored 11 of her team-high 15 points in the second half.
Crankfield connected on three three-pointers -- all in the second half --and junior center Samantha Sydney posted six of her 10 points in the third quarter and finished with eight rebounds and two blocks.
But the Panthers had few answers for Waagbo, who scored 14 points in the second half and became the 12th player in Vikings history to record her 1,000th career point.
A put-back by senior guard Rishelle Charles helped the Panthers make it a 51-45 game with 1:06 left, but senior forward Jackie Greenbaum converted both ends of consecutive one-and-ones to seal the victory for Mount Hebron.
Annapolis coach John Brady said he thought the key was his team's inability to carry over its execution on offense in the first half to the second.
"We didn't play our offense the way we did in the first half," he said. "They got a little run going, and we played from behind."