The Washington Post

Falcons impose their will on defense and soar into the state quarterfin­als


Severna Park girls’ basketball coach Kristofer Dean knew coming into Wednesday night’s Maryland 4A East Region II final his team would have an advantage in the backcourt. South River, the Falcons’ opponent, was without starting point guard Raegan Ogle because of an injury.

So Dean exploited Ogle’s absence, with his team hounding the Seahawks’ guards with an aggressive defense while Severna Park delivered a dominant rebounding effort in a 42-23 win at home.

“I feel so bad for her, such a nice girl,” Dean said of Ogle. “They got a really good program over there, and that hurts, injuries hurt, but you know what? We’re not stupid, and we’re going to go at you if that’s where the weakness is.”

The win sends the Falcons (20-4) into Friday’s 4A state quarterfin­als. South River’s season ends at 17-7.

The Falcons’ pressure forced 33 turnovers — including 19 steals. The Seahawks’ young guards struggled to cope, forcing passes and showing hesitancy to come get the ball.

Six Falcons recorded at least one steal. Senior guard Lilly Spilker finished with three, thriving at the top of the Falcons’ defense, jumping into passing lanes and igniting fast-break opportunit­ies.

“That’s kind of how I am in every sport. I’m more of a defensive player,” Spilker said. “I love to try and anticipate all the passes. I can make it hard for the other team to handle the ball or stay composed.”

The Falcons also enjoyed a 39-22 rebounding edge.

As Severna Park stayed aggressive, the game grew chippy. The teams combined for 44 personal fouls, including 26 assessed to the Seahawks. While South River’s visiting fans complained enthusiast­ically at the referees, Coach Mike Zivic pinned the blame on his team.

“[Severna Park] took care of the ball. We had more turnovers than points, and they had way too many offensive rebounds,” said Zivic, who lamented how his young backcourt dealt with Severna Park’s pressure. “. . . I mean, sometimes we had people who didn’t want the ball.”

Severna Park lost by 15 to the Seahawks earlier this season after an 8-1 start. The Falcons regrouped to close the regular season by winning 11 of 12.

The last time the Falcons made it to a region final was in 2020.

No girls’ basketball banner hangs in the Severna Park gym. Even though the Falcons cut down the net after the win, this victory won’t change that. They will need to win three more games to do so, a task that will require more tough-nosed outings like they delivered Wednesday.

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