Fallston seniors work on a new ending

January 22, 1995|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,Sun Staff Writer

Three seniors on the No. 5-ranked Fallston girls basketball team are determined this year's season will have a different ending than the past three. The ultimate goal: a state championship.

It is not as though this group and ninth-year head coach Nancy Ferguson have not been there before. In order, their season-ending losses came in the state championship game and two successive state semifinals.

Seniors Candy Credito, Lori Heffley and Jenny Weber were a part of all those teams (a fourth, Suzy Harrison, is out this year because of back surgery), they remember those feelings and are determined to go out winners.

The three already have experienced success in other areas. Credito, who runs cross country and track, too, is a 4.0 distinguished honors student who has been accepted at UNC-Asheville (basketball scholarship) for next year. Weber, another three-sport athlete, has a 3.9 average and is headed for William & Mary (lacrosse scholarship), and Heffley, who played soccer for two years before being sidelined with an injury, has a 3.5 average and is undecided about next year.

Fallston's 69-54 Harford County League victory over Joppatowne Friday was the team's fifth of the season and stretched its county winning streak to 27. Overall, the season record is 10-1. Mount Hebron inflicted a 60-56 loss in mid-December in a game that could have gone either way.

"The loss to Mount Hebron strengthened us," said Credito, a 6-foot-1 center. "It made us realize we do have faults. Regardless of other scores, we're not going into any game over-confident."

True to the players-coaches' code, the seniors publicly say they are taking the games one at a time, but it is tough not to dwell on that final prize when the team is outscoring the opposition by an average of 38 points.

Take C. Milton Wright, for instance. Not counting the Fallston game, the Mustangs are 6-0 in the county with an average scoring margin of 27 points. Until the Joppatowne game, they had given the Cougars their closest county game -- and the final score was 64-36.

The three players are the first to say the team has no superstar.

The three of us -- we've been playing together since the fourth grade when my father, George, was our coach, and we've always played as a unit," Heffley said. It is the overall skill level that makes the team a force.

"Someone always steps up," added Heffley, a 5-4 point guard. "On any given night anybody can have a good or bad game."

Weber, a 5-9 forward, added, "The players are good enough to know when some part of their game is off, and they pick up on something else. Say they're not scoring, they play tough defense. I think our strength is other teams can't focus on just one or two players."

The scoring averages reflect this, too. The three seniors are the team leaders with averages around 10 a game; Credito averages 10 rebounds and 3.4 blocks; and Heffley is the county assist leader with 5.2 a game, plus 3.3 steals.

It is this last category that holds one of the keys to team success. The other two starters, junior Rachel Simon and sophomore Karen Tiedemann, have combined for 90 steals, by-products of overall tenacious pressure.

Still, there is one problem to be worked out, and the players hope they get a chance to address it.

"The first year we went to states, I don't think we felt pressure, but those semifinals, we were just so nervous, and by the time we calmed down, it was too late," Heffley said.

Now, "We're all hard workers. We know what it takes," Credito said.

"You try to keep them focused, game to game, and hope you get to the ultimate end, but it's not a given," Ferguson said. "What impressed me were our games against St. Mary's [handling the unknown factor] and Mount Hebron [playing with poise]. Now, they have to file that information." They could need it in March.

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