C.M. Wright looks to turn tables on Fallston County lead on line in battle of unbeatens

February 09, 1996|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,SUN STAFF

C. Milton Wright and Fallston, two of the area's top six girls basketball teams, will place unbeaten records on the line when they meet at C. Milton Wright today at 5:15 p.m.

Fifth-ranked Wright is 13-0, 9-0 in the league, and No. 6 Fallston is 11-0, 8-0.

It is not as though this is something new, however, because the two have been the Harford County powers in recent years.

When defending league champion C. Milton Wright defeated Fallston, 55-48, on Jan. 21, 1993, though, it hardly seemed noteworthy.

Both teams were undefeated in the league at the time, but Fallston had lost three noncounty games earlier in the season, and had lost three county games the previous year.

Now, more than three years and 45 games later, the date looms large. It was Fallston's last county loss.

While Fallston was winning three successive county titles, Wright was finishing second twice. Of the four games between the two since the streak began, Fallston's victory margin has been by an average of 19 points.

Both sides are treating it, outwardly, as just another game. After all, they will meet again Feb. 19, at Fallston, and with Fallston moving to Class 3A this year, a regional playoff meeting also is likely.

Wright has all its starters from last year's 16-9 state semifinal entry, and as coach Gloria Liedlich said, "We had expectations, and I think we would have been disappointed if we were not this far along."

And what of Fallston, which lost three four-year regulars who had helped the school reach four straight state tournaments?

"We have two starters back [co-captains Rachel Simon and Karen Tiedemann], and there are six seniors who have been through the learning process," said coach Nancy Ferguson.

Tiedemann, a junior, is the scoring leader.

"Playing with those players last year helped me," she said. "They were just so much more experienced, they made me more aggressive. Now, if the lane is there, I'll take it."

Courtney Benner, a reserve last year and starter this year, has developed into a reliable outside shooter.

At C. Milton Wright, "We've been working harder and been able to improve different aspects of our games -- as individuals and as a team," said senior Miranda James.

One key to Wright's success is its unselfishness.

Erin Updegrove is a good example. Last year, she was the metro area's leading scorer with a 23-point average, but this year, while her scoring average is down (19.0), her assists and rebounds are up, as are her field-goal and free-throw percentages.

James has boosted her scoring, to 12.2. "One reason my shots are falling more often is I don't get down on myself if I make a mistake the way I did last year," she said.

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