Strickland, Walker lift Owls in OT

Marah Strickland and Candice Walker love to have the ball in their hands with the game on the line. Last night at McDonogh, there were plenty of opportunities for both Towson Catholic seniors to step up down the stretch.

The duo combined to score the No. 2 Owls' final nine points as they slipped past No. 5 McDonogh, 65-60 in overtime, in an Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference girls basketball game.


Strickland, last season's All-Metro Player of the Year, hit a three-pointer with 10 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 59 and force overtime. She later wove through the lane to bank in a short jumper for a 61-60 lead with 55 seconds left in overtime.

Walker, who scored 18, did the rest, hitting all four free throws in the final 27 seconds.


"I love the pressure. I love it," said Walker, who also hit a buzzer-beating half-court shot before halftime. "It's either me or Marah that has to step up, and in this game, it was Marah. Coach told me to give the ball to Marah because she was hot."

The Owls (11-6, 9-1 conference) needed the big finish after giving up an early 15-point lead. The Eagles (12-3, 8-3) rallied, using pressure defense and hot shooting to take their first lead, 50-46, after back-to-back three-pointers from Annie Politsch and Becky Cox opened the fourth quarter.

Cox hit two free throws with 17.7 seconds left to give McDonogh a 59-56 lead before Strickland tied it with her three-pointer.

McDonogh had plenty of opportunities in overtime, especially as the Owls turned the ball over four times, but the Eagles rushed their offense and missed all 10 shots they took, including two layups.

"I think we felt we needed to get the first shot that we saw instead of working it around and finding the open shot," said Eagles All-Metro guard Brittany Mallory, who finished with 16 points, while Cox had 18.