WESTMINSTER — It took a while for Mount Airy III to get rolling at West Middle School in Sunday afternoon's Carroll County Girls Basketball League Senior Division championship game against St. Joseph's.
But when it finally did, the team roared to a 39-27 win in the final game of the league's two-part postseason tourney that decides its championships.
Earlier, St. Joseph's age 9-11 girls team had dropped a close decision, 19-15, to Westminster Bank and Trust, in the Junior Division championship.
St. Joseph's Senior team of 12- to 15-year-olds, was blitzed by an 18-6 second-half spurt by Mount Airy that left the Eldersburg-based squad behind, 37-19, early in the fourth quarter.
Mount Airy had started slowly, hitting only two of its first 21 shots.
"We were tight," explained Mount Airy coach Rick Harmer.
St. Joeled, 10-4, after the first quarter, as Ashley Davis hit a couple of early jumpers to put her team ahead.
But St. Joe couldn't add to the lead because quicker Mount Airy hounded it into numerous miscues.
While his team trailed early in the second quarter, Mount Airy assistant coach Don Beall said he remained confident.
"They were taking good shots. We knew they would start falling sooner or later," Beall said.
As predicted, Mount Airy found the range.
Shannon Henley, who would lead all scorers with 17 points, hit six to key an 11-3spurt that carried Mount Airy to a 19-13 halftime lead.
Mount Airy, completely dominating its boards and limiting St. Joseph's to longoutside shots, continued its tear after intermission.
Mount Airy had pulled away by the end of the third quarter.
"We were shootingwithin our range, they just weren't falling," said St. Joseph's coach Joe Smith of his team's cold second half from the outside.
Smithsaid he was satisfied, though, with his scrappy bunch, which had placed fourth in the regular season.
Mount Airy had finished second in the regular season.
"(In the regular season) we lost to them by 32 points. We've matured a lot since then," Smith said.
Harmer noted that his squad has seven players from Mount Airy's 1990 Junior Division champs.
"We have a mature team," Harmer said.
"We have the depth to wear other teams down," he said.
"It's been a pleasure coaching them this year."