On paper, last night's Class 2A, North Region championship showed promise of being a matchup between two evenly-matched teams.
Top-seeded and homestanding Fallston entered the contest with 20-0 record and a No. 8 ranking while second-seeded Towson came to Harford County sporting a an identical 20-0 record and a No. 7 metro-area ranking.
"This should be a good one," said one Fallston supporter, shortly before tip-off.
And you won't hear any complaints from Fallston.
The Cougars took advantage of Towson's mistakes in the fourth quarter and secured a 48-39 victory and a berth in next Friday's Class 2A state semifinals at UMBC. It will be Fallston's third straight trip to the state tournament.
The Cougars, who advanced to region finale by defeating Catonsville 72-32, came up empty on its first seven possessions before senior guard Jessica Owens ended the Generals drought a three-pointer that pulled her team to within 4-3 with 5:06 left in the first quarter.
Towson, which advanced to last night's final by routing Baltimore County rival Loch Raven, 83-54, on Friday, took its first lead of the game when Katie Barnes scored following a no-look pass Sarah Weaver. Both teams struggled from the floor in the first quarter,which ended in a 7-7 tie, with Towson converting a dismal two of 18 field goals and the Cougars just two of 12.
The Generals got sloppy in the third quarter and Fallston took advantage of the miscues. A short jump shot by freshman guard Karen Tiedemann brought the Cougars back to within one and Lori Heffley's breakaway layup gave the hosts a 21-19 lead with 5:12 left in the third.
Towson managed to tie the score three times in the closing minutes of the third quarter but found themselves trailing 29-26 at the end as Courtney Benner closed out the period by hitting three of four foul shots.
The Cougars opened their lead to five on a basket by Rachel Simon but Towson answered with a pair of transition buckets by Barnes and Weaver to momentarily return the margin to one.
Two more Towson turnovers resulted in easy baskets for the hosts and helped the Cougars take another five-point lead -- one they wouldn't relinquish. Heffley emerged as the game's leading scorer with 15 points and no Fallston player scored in double-figures.