Severna Park needed every bit of Kaila Stasulli’s nine fourth-quarter points in Wednesday’s Class 4A East Region II final at South River.
Her final two points were the most important.
Stasulli drove the length of the court and converted a driving layup with three seconds left that broke a tie and lifted the Falcons to a 41-39 victory over the Seahawks.
Severna Park (19-5) won its third region title and first since 1988. The Falcons will play in a state quarterfinal on Friday against an opponent to be determined.
Stasulli scored all nine of the Falcons’ points in the final quarter and the final two of the third after scoring just a point prior to her first field goal of the game in the final seconds of the third.
“I just tried to beat my first girl and look for what I had,” said Stasulli, on the go-ahead shot. “I thought I was in position to take the shot.”
South River had one last chance, but its final shot was off the mark and the Falcons stormed the court to celebrate.
“The girls made some adjustments and Kaila did a wonderful job running the offense,” Falcons’ coach Kristofer Dean said. “We have a designed play we run at the end of quarters that we’ve been working on, but generally she doesn’t get the shot. I’m proud of her.”
The game was tied five times—all in the second half—and the lead changed hand 13 times. The biggest lead of the game was Severna Park’s five-point lead early in the second half, but South River quickly fought back and neither team led by more than three points the final quarter and a half.
“We just had so much energy and we really wanted to win,” Stasulli said. “We were all just so motivated.”
Lena McLaughlin and Hailey Betch each scored eight points for the Falcons, who found some success down low through the first three quarters. Cam Chew followed with five points and Jess Albert and Theresa Bragg each added four.
Severna Park, which has five losses in games that counted toward the region standings, will likely have to go on the road on Friday. The eight region champions will be reseeded based on record.
“We have a lot of film on a lot of different teams right now,” Dean said. “We’ll figure it out and these girls will be ready.”
Ashlynn Burrows scored 24 points to lead South River, but the rest of the team combined for just four field goals and 15 points.
“She flat out carried us tonight,” South River coach Mike Zivic said. “It she wasn’t doing what she was doing, we probably lose that game by 15 points.”
The teams traded five-point victories on the other’s home court during the regular season. In the meeting at South River on Jan. 17, South River ran out to a 15-point lead in the second quarter before the Falcons rallied for the 38-33 victory.
That victory in January gave the Falcons the much-needed confidence they needed to pull off the win on Wednesday.
“That was huge,” Dean said. “These girls couldn’t have been any more confident today.”