The county title in girls basketball could come down to the final day of the season when the league's only undefeated team, North Harford, travels to meet Bel Air, the only team that can catch the Hawks.
Both teams have two games left, but North Harford (18-1 overall, 12-0 league) has the easier route and appears to have sewn up at least atie for the title. Wednesday, the Hawks entertain a young Aberdeen squad that they easily beat the first time around. Then, the Hawks, who last won a county title in 1985, head to Bel Air Friday for a 6:45 p.m. game.
The last time these two teams met, the game was close enough to give the Bobcats plenty of incentive for the upset. North Harford won,42-38, on a couple of clutch free throws and a follow shot in the final seconds.
Bel Air, however, must beat a rejuvenated Joppatowne squad Wednesday to force the showdown with North Harford on Friday. Unless North Harford loses to Aberdeen, the best the Bobcats (13-5, 11-1) can hope for is a tie.
That would be OK with the Bobcats, who haven't won the title since the early 80s. "We always stress that we'd like to win the county championship," said Bobcats coach Phyllis Hemmes. "The regionals and everything else is secondary, because you'd like to be king of your own hill."
Thursday, the Bobcats romped over Edgewood, 51-17. Heather Heitz led Bel Air with 12 points, while Dawn St. Clair added 11 and Lisa Thomas, 10.
At the same time, the Hawks beat Fallston, 48-34, with four players scoring in double figures. Carie James scored a game-high 14 while Cathy DeRan added 12. Tracy Thompson scored 11, and Shannon Bracken had 10. Point guard Valerie Phipps finished with three assists and three steals.
"We're just playing enough to win," said Hawks coach Lin James. "We've had a littletrouble getting our offense going and our defense going at the same time, but I think we're coming out of that now."
After Friday's game, both the Hawks and the Bobcats will advance to their respective regional playoffs. If the Hawks win all of their games this week, theywill get the top spot in the Class 2A region. Fallston could also advance in Class 2A.
Bel Air could land third or fourth in its Class3A region. Catonsville and Parkville appear to have locks on the toptwo spots with Lansdowne and Bel Air battling for third and fourth. C. Milton Wright should be fifth.
In other action Thursday, Joppatowne (11-7, 5-7) beat Havre de Grace, 31-23.
The Mariners got 17 points from Thori Staples, while Nitrease Hamilton led Havre de Grace with 10.
"We have to be a little more consistent," said coach Kathy Wunderlich.
"We seem to play to the caliber of our opponent. Against North Harford, we scored 53 points, but (Thursday) we could barely get 31. It all depends on what days we click."
The Mariners should get the first or second-seeded spot in their Class 1A region. Havre de Grace is the defending regional champ, and the Warriors could wrap up one of the other six spots in the same region as the Mariners.
C. Milton Wright (12-6, 7-5) romped over Aberdeen, 52-26, Thursday. Stacy Milton had 18 points and 12 rebounds for the Mustangs. Siobhan Kelly led Aberdeen with nine points.