Fallston’s Ayla Galloway’s competitive spirit leads to her becoming The Aegis 2022-23 girls basketball Player of the Year

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Fallston's Ayla Galloway averaged 17 points, 14 rebounds and five steals in her junior season, leading the Cougars to the Class 2A East Region I regional championship game. She has been named the 2022-23 Aegis Girls Basketball Player of the Year.

How competitive is Ayla Galloway? Her coach says it’s not unlike Michael Jordan famously pitching pennies, a refusal to be bested no matter the game.

Johnny Woods coaches Galloway twice a year, both on the Fallston girls basketball team and the AAU team, Not 4 Everyone. Woods laughs recalling a weekend tournament trip last year to Philadelphia when he learned the full extent of his star player’s determination.


“We were just sitting, talking,” Woods said, “I think I was like, ‘I can probably hold my breath longer than you.’ She goes, ‘No, you can’t.’ I said, ‘Yeah, I think I can.’ She was like, “No. No, you can’t.’”

Coach and player puffed out their cheeks holding their breath until both turned blue in the face.


That same relentlessness earned Galloway The Aegis All-County girls basketball Player of the Year honors. She averaged 17 points, 14 rebounds and five steals in her junior season, leading the Cougars to the Class 2A East Region I championship game.

“I think I’ve always had that grit to want to be better than I was the day before,” Galloway said. “I always love to have someone to compete with. I think it makes me better and it makes the other person better. I just love competition.”

Fallston's Ayla Galloway is a Division I lacrosse player committed to Mercer, but she was a force on the basketball court this winter, turning in nightly double-doubles.

Galloway wasn’t always a dominant force on the court. In fact, she didn’t start basketball until eighth grade — in a rec league. Lacrosse is her main sport — Galloway’s committed to play at Mercer University. She plays soccer too but that’s, as she called it, her fun sport: “Like I can mess up and laugh at myself.”

Basketball became a more serious venture after being pulled up to varsity last year. That team was overloaded with talent. Fallston captured the 2A state championship, but graduated 10 seniors. In turn, this year’s team lacked significant varsity experience.

Woods felt the 5-foot-10 junior forward wasn’t having her competitive eagerness challenged enough in practice. So, he brought his knee pads and laced up his sneakers. Woods guarded Galloway himself in the latter half of each practice.

“I told her if you can work against me, there’s no girl in Harford County that can defend you,” Woods said. “And at the beginning, I was killing her. I knew exactly what she was doing.”

“I think I’ve always had that grit to want to be better than I was the day before. I always love to have someone to compete with. I think it makes me better and it makes the other person better. I just love competition," Fallston's Ayla Galloway said.

She was quick but he could stay in front. She didn’t like to go left, so he took away her right. All the while Woods was developing her repertoire of moves — drop steps, rolls and finding ways to get Galloway to her preferred spots.

“By the end of the season, the kid was legit getting by me,” Woods said. “I’d have to grab her; I’d have to foul her. She legitimately got better.”


Galloway saw that development translate onto the court.

It’s quicker to count the times she failed to record a double-double than the times she did. In 24 games, she fell just short of the mark three times. Her best statistical output was a 20-and-20 game against Edgewood on Jan. 23.

Woods said he would frequently be pulled aside after the final buzzer. “Hey, who is that No. 21?” people would ask him referring to Fallston’s interior wrecking ball.

The Cougars’ season concluded with a 41-27 loss at Harford Tech in the regional championship. Not being the ones to cut down the nets left Galloway with a bad taste in her mouth, possibly still holding her breath from the Philly trip last year.

“Next year, I feel bad for other teams,” Woods said. “She’s just gonna be a year stronger. She’s gonna be a year more mature and a year better. Mentally, she’ll be prepared because she’s been through the fight. She’s gonna be a problem.”

North Harford's Jenna Amrhein sprints up the court during a playoff game against Fallston.

All-County first team

Jenna Amhrein, North Harford, senior, guard


Amhrein played the part of the Hawks’ defensive stalwart. She averaged 10 points and 3.5 assists but most impressively swiped 95 steals in 19 contests.

Sam Donovan, Edgewood, freshman guard

Donovan had a memorable first season for the Rams, leading the team with 12 points, 2.9 assists and 2.5 steals a game. She hit 55 3-pointers on the season.

Harford Tech senior Anyia Gibson cuts down the nets after the Cobras won the Class 2A East Region I championship.

Anyia Gibson, Harford Tech, senior, forward

A leader on the Cobras’ regional championship team, Gibson was dominant inside with 12 double-doubles and three triple-doubles. She averaged 16.1 points, 10.8 rebounds, 4.1 blocks and 3.3 steals a game.

Harford Tech's Amya Goodsell sees her chance and drives to the basket during the game at Fallston on Dec. 22.

Amya Goodsell, Harford Tech, sophomore, guard


Goodsell was second on the Cobras with 14. 4 points and 10.4 rebounds a game. Her 6.3 assists per game led the state according to Maxpreps. She also averaged 5.9 steals a game.

North Harford's Caroline Nicholson eyes the rim looking to take a shot with Joppatowne's Samiah Head hoping for the block during a game on Jan. 9.

Caroline Nicholson, North Harford, junior, forward

Nicholson was right on the precipice of averaging a double-double for the Hawks. Her 11.5 points and 9.1 rebounds per game were both a team best. She also blocked 47 shots, more than two per game.

Patterson Mill's Kiley Wilhelm helped lead her team to the Class 1A semifinals.

Kiley Wilhelm, Patterson Mill, junior, forward

Varsity Highlights


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Wilhelm led the Huskies to the 1A state semifinals, topping the team in points (13.6), rebounds (10) and blocks (2.5). She also had 2.1 assists and 2.2 steals a game.

All-County second team

Vivian Carrico, John Carroll, sophomore, guard


Renae Gent, Fallston, senior, forward

Nyjah Harris, Aberdeen, sophomore, guard

Rachel Taylor, Bel Air, junior, guard

Ava Wheeler, Patterson Mill, senior, guard

Azareya Whiting, Havre de Grace, junior, forward