Winters Mill wins with `D'

Winters Mill 49 Walkersville 44

Girls basketball


Winters Mill's defense took command in the second half last night against Walkersville, turning up the intensity and helping the Falcons earn a second consecutive regional championship game appearance.

Allie Dreschler scored 12 of her game-high 20 points in the fourth quarter and No. 14 Winters Mill used a swarming defense against the visitors in the second half in rallying for a 49-44 victory in the Class 2A West regional semifinal.

Winters Mill (20-4), a state semifinalist last year, will play at Middletown tomorrow at 7 p.m. in the regional final. The teams split two games this season, each winning on the other's court.

The Falcons struggled early last night and fell behind. Walkersville (15-9) scored the first half's final 12 points for a 24-13 halftime lead. Winters Mill scored only three second-quarter points and none in the final 6 minutes, 52 seconds.

But the Falcons quickly turned up the defensive pressure after the break. They used a variety of presses and traps to disrupt the Lions' offense. Walkersville turned the ball over 20 times in the second half, mistakes that often led to Winters Mill points.

"The defense created numerous turnovers in the second half. ... The kids played a great second half," said Winters Mill coach Bernie Koontz. "My theory is anytime you score only 13 points in one half and make a comeback, you know the kids played hard."

Sierra Saunders led the way with seven steals.

Jen Peters (eight points) and Caitlin Byrne (five points, eight rebounds, three assists) helped Winters Mill's patient offense keep its poise while the defense did its work.

The Falcons caused numerous problems with their pressure and quickly cut into the 11-point halftime lead. They trimmed it to 30-28 after three periods and took the lead early in the fourth quarter. Two steals helped Winters Mill score six points in 35 seconds, four from Dreschler, for a 40-33 lead with 3:49 left.

But Walkersville rallied and tied the game at 42 on two free throws by Teri Hessler with 1:25 left. Dreschler then hit a three-pointer with 58.6 seconds left that gave the Falcons the lead for good.

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