Fallston girls upset Digital Harbor, 42-31

Cougars topple Rams on strength of total team effort

March 12, 2010|By Katherine Dunn | katherine.dunn@baltsun.com

Fallston's Jess Harlee didn't have her best shooting day in Friday's Class 2A girls basketball state semifinal, but with her teammates, it didn't really matter.

The Cougars got big plays from every girl on the floor, dominated the defensive boards and controlled Digital Harbor's running game en route to a 42-31 upset of the No. 3 Rams in a clash of 2009 state champions at UMBC's RAC Arena.

Last season's Class 3A champions, the Cougars (19-5) go for another title at 1 p.m. Saturday at UMBC against Gwynn Park, a %64-51 winner over Liberty.

While Harlee, a 6-foot All-Metro forward playing only her eighth game back from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee, didn't put up the big points, she gave the Rams (19-6) fits. She scored six of her eight points on free throws in the final minute, grabbed 10 defensive rebounds among her 13 for the game and did more of the critical little things than you could count.

The Rams were so preoccupied with Harlee that they left 6-1 forward Lindsay Garnett open under the basket for nine first-quarter points. In the fourth quarter, with the Cougars leading 37-31, Harlee stole a long Rams pass with 55 seconds left and all but ended their comeback hopes.

On the boards, Fallston had a 42-38 edge, but 29 of the Cougars' rebounds were on the defensive end, thanks to Harlee, Garnett, Alyssa March and McKenzie Hannahs. That proved to be key down the stretch, said their coach, Mike McTeague.

"Our defense was so strong that I think they weren't getting good looks at the basket and we were rebounding well. That started the run -- the stops on the defensive end and they were only getting one shot. I think they're probably not used to that, and ... I think we got a little bit more confidence offensively."

The Cougars broke away with a 14-1 run that lasted more than seven minutes and ended on Garnett's layup off a feed from Rachael Holehouse. The Rams shot 0-for-8 during the stretch, in which Holehouse hit three layups.

"In the fourth quarter, we weren't getting back on 'D,'" said All-Metro forward Asia Logan, who led the Rams with 11 points and four steals. "And also we fell in love with the jump shot and we didn't really attack like we were supposed to."

Freshman Alexus Harrison had seven points and 11 rebounds for the Rams.

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