The third-seeded C. Milton Wright girls basketball team ended its season Friday night, losing in the Class 3A Region II championship gameat top-seeded Catonsville, 66-35.
The Mustangs (19-4) had troublebreaking a full-court press initiated by the Comets from the start. Getting the ball inside to center Stacey Milton (six points) also proved difficult against a tight defense.
Mustangs coach Gloria Liedlich said she expected to face a tough man-to-man defense. Still, the Mustangs could not adjust.
The Comets (19-3), ranked No. 20 by The Sun, scored often on transition and fast breaks, racing to a 20-8 first-quarter lead and a 34-15 halftime advantage.
"Their presure on the ball really made the difference,"Liedlich said. "It just threw us off."
The Comets outscored the Mustangs by only 16-14 in the third quarter, but went on a 16-6 tear to end the game.
Wright stayed in a zone defense most of the game, but the Comets penetrated well, dishing off to Amanda Deems (15 points) and Jill Altshuler (13 points) for 28 of their 66 points.
The Mustang's Cynthia Padilla, Amanda McCulloch and Jen Kreps joined Milton in scoring six points. Danielle Rivas (4), Kim Haker (3), Erika Dedrich (2) and Carmen Kinard (2) also scored.
Catonsville shot 15 of20 from the foul line, while C. Milton Wright went 3-for-9.
"The kids played hard," Liedlich said. "We're just proud to have made it to this point."
"We've got nothing to hang our heads (about)," she added. In Wednesday night's semifinal, the Harford champs finally shook off a Lansdowne jinx with a 58-42 victory over the southwest Baltimore County squad.
For two of the last three years, Lansdowne (14-7) has knocked the Mustangs from the playoffs. Both times, the game was at Lansdowne, with the Vikings playing a quick, physical game the Mustangs couldn't handle.
The visiting Mustangs appeared headed for the same fate Wednesday night until sharp-shooting guards McCullochand Debbie Keiser sparked a second-half comeback.
McCulloch, hitting from the baseline, and Keiser, from up top, scored all but one ofthe Mustangs' 13 third-quarter points to pull them within 38-32 going into the fourth quarter.
Outside shooting loosened second-seededLansdowne's 2-3 zone, opening the inside for 6-0 Milton and 5-11 Rivas, who had struggled early. After McCulloch hit a baseline jumper ona feed from Keiser and added a free throw, Milton fed Rivas to pull the Mustangs within one, 38-37.
Keiser popped a three-pointer fromthe top of the key to give the Mustangs their first lead with 5:28 left in the game.
"Our coach always says the sign of a good team isto be down and come back and win it," said McCulloch, who led the Mustangs with 15 points.
Keiser had a career night with 14 points and five assists, even though she only played about three quarters of the game. Milton and Rivas added 13 points each.
Monday, the Mustangs opened their playoff run by bouncing back from a regular season-ending loss to Edgewood and beating sixth-seeded Bel Air, 62-49.