C. Milton Wright's girls basketball team ran away from a 20-20 halftime tie to beat the Fallston Cougars, 43-37, in county league action Friday night.
The Mustangs (9-3 overall, 4-2 league) established a seven point lead, 34-27, in the fourth quarter. But that lead diminished to 40-37 with just three minutes left to play in the game.
The turning point in the fourth quarter came when Fallston forcedthe Mustangs to turn over the ball in the Mustang's court with 2:24 remaining, but the Cougars' Pam Toth was called for traveling as she raced for the basket.
A Cougars basket would have brought them within one point of the Mustangs.
C. Milton Wright's Kelly MacNeill (15 points) was fouled with 2:10 remaining. She hit both free throws to put the Mustangs up, 42-37.
Fallston (4-6 overall, 3-3 league) did not score on several opportunities late in the fourth quarter.
The Mustangs' Stacey Milton (12 points) hit the first of a one-and-one foul shot at the 38-second mark, sealing the win for the Mustangs.
The key for the Mustangs, said head coach Gloria Liedlich after the game, was her team's effort at the foul line, 12-15, 80 percent.
"That's phenomenal for us," said Liedlich.
The Mustangs had been averaging 41 percent from the foul line for the season until Friday's game.
She said the excellent shooting of the Cougars' Jenny Howard (13 points) and Kristie Wegeler (14 points) gave her Mustangs plenty tofret over in the game.
If it had not been for the clutch foul shooting, the game may have had a different outcome, she said.
The Cougar's shot 11-14 from the foul line, 78 percent.
The Mustangs started out the third quarter with a triangle in two defense, designed toput pressure on the Cougars' sharpshooting Howard and Wegeler.
The Mustangs then went on a 6-0 run with scores from Kelly MacNeil, Stacey Milton and Danni Rivas, prompting a time-out from Fallston coach Nancy Ferguson.
"We weren't boxing out that well," said Ferguson. "But with the height disadvantage, I thought we hit the boards prettywell."
The Cougars' main problem was 6-foot forward Milton, who positioned herself under the basket for rebounds and follow-up shots.
The tallest player on the Cougar squad is 5-foot-9 forward Toth.
The Cougar's used speed and hustle to hang with the Mustangs. "Fallston players were always there," said Liedlich.
"We're scrappers,"said Ferguson, who occasionally used a full-court and half-court press to create turnover opportunities.
Toth and Nicole Laver added four points for the Cougars, and Tammy Kloiber and Meghan Williams each added one.
Debbie Keiser (three points), Leigh Biggerman (7 points), and Rivas (six points), added to the Mustang's scoring.
Despite the loss, Ferguson was happy with her team's performance.
"With the skill they have this year, they could have blown us out," said Ferguson.