The Severna Park Falcons had some new wrinkles in their lineup from the last time they met Arundel a few weeks back.
The No. 6 Wildcats came with nothing new, just a lot of the same old from sophomore guard Alex McGuire.
Showing poise in coming back from an early double-digit deficit in the first half and then a "we-want-it-more" attitude in the second half, the Wildcats came away with a 64-58 win over the No. 10 Falcons at Severna Park last night.
Arundel improves to 16-3 overall and 12-1 in the Anne Arundel County, beating the Falcons (15-4, 11-2) for the second time this season to take over sole possession of first place.
Tied at 36 going into the second half, it was McGuire - again - who took charge starting in the game-changing third quarter. Constantly attacking the basket, she scored 11 of her game-high 26 points in the third to set the tone for the rest of the game.
It was nothing new for McGuire, who had 25 in the Wildcats' 64-50 win over the Falcons last month in Gambrills.
"In the second half, we rebounded a little better and got better shots. We just ran our offense and played good defense," said McGuire.
A 14-0 run that started at the end of the third quarter and lasted through three-plus minutes in the fourth gave the Wildcats a 58-49 lead. The Falcons closed the gap to 62-58 with 1:13 left, but the Wildcats got two free throws from senior guard Jessie Collins (13 points) and were able to run out the clock.
"Our goal was to separate ourselves from the rest of the pack ... everything is like a playoff game to us," said Arundel coach Lee Rogers. "We weathered the storm in the first half and felt like we took their best shot."
Patience was the key for the Wildcats in the first half against the Falcons, who had senior center Julia Waters back from mononucleosis and a new catalyst in Dominique Jennings up from the JV.
A steal and layup from senior guard Jessica Norris gave the Falcons the game's biggest lead at 30-19 with 4:45 left in the half.
But the Wildcats were able to close the gap before halftime, getting points from senior guard Jessie Collins, McGuire, Tiffany Johnson and a jumper at the first-half buzzer from Theresa Nolan to go in tied.
Norris finished with 12 points to lead the Falcons, who also got 11 points from Jennings and 10 apiece from Waters and Lauren Hall. Johnson had eight for the Wildcats, who also got two key second-half jumpers from senior guard Amanda Hernandez.