For the Severna Park High girls basketball team, the Class 4A quarterfinal against visiting North Point of Charles County was a matter of survival.
The Falcons had to survive mistakes and dodge a couple of gritty comebacks from North Point before prevailing, 38-32, on February 27.
Severna Park went 7-for-19 from the free-throw line in the second half, including 2-for-10 in the fourth quarter.
“We couldn’t make our free throws,” Severna Park girls basketball head coach Kristofer Dean said. “And we got in foul trouble. It was tough managing players off the bench. It’s a constant rotation. You are trying to make sure we have the five or six players you want on the floor at the end. But our defense held them at the end.”
Senior forward Abby Kavanagh led the Falcons with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
“She is so valuable to us,” Dean said. “She is a great leader on and off the floor. She can settle our team down when needed and she did that tonight.”
The Falcons advance to play visiting South River on March 1 in the regional semifinal at 6:00pm.
Severna Park (19-4) lost to South River, 47-32, in early January.
There’s more on the line in the rematch: a trip to the regional championship game on March 3.
“We have to play better defense this time,” Dean said. “We will work on it and be ready for them. We can beat anyone on any given day in the country. They can, too. It will be a good battle. We have to be very good.”
Severna Park led by as many as 16 points in the middle of the third quarter and appeared safely ahead of North Point, 33-22, with 5:30 remaining in the final quarter.
Then North Point went on a 10-4 run, which started with Morgan Dow’s 3-pointer to make it 33-25. Dow finished with 11 points.
The Grizzlies cut into the lead again, 37-30, as Carson Burwell sank a free throw with 2:19 left.
Thirty-six seconds later, Burwell hit a layup to slice the margin to 37-32.
“They sped us up,” Dean said of the play down the stretch. “The girls did a good job of setting down.”
North Point went scoreless in the final 1:42 as the Falcons forced three turnovers.
“They came out strong in the second half and caught us off guard,” Kavanagh said. “But we kept our heads in it and finished strong.”
The first half was a different story for the Falcons. After North Point opened the game with a 3-pointer, Severna Park went on a 7-3 run with five minutes to go.
The Grizzlies managed to trim the lead to 8-7 before the Falcons closed the period on a 9-0.
Severna Park led 25-11 at halftime.
Ryn Feemster (nine points), Maria Bragg (eight points), Karli Kirchenheiter (five points), Sally Trent (four points) and Hanna Verreault (two points) also made the scoring column for the Falcons.
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