The shooting of Katie Sterling helped 17th-ranked Springbrook pull away from Seneca Valley and win an aggressively played Montgomery County Division I girls game yesterday, 63-48.

"We both knew that this was going to determine the division and that we had to fight real hard," said Sterling, who had a game-high 17 points and 11 rebounds. "We both just hustled and were really aggressive."

Said Springbrook Coach Bill Wiley, whose team has beaten Seneca Valley twice this season, "It was an extremely rough game, but Seneca is a scrappy team. It was a real important game for us. They really pushed us out there, but we got some excellent play out of our guards."

Seneca Valley (11-2, 8-2 in the division) controlled the game in the opening quarter, taking a 10-4 lead. But Springbrook (12-3, 9-1) quickly started to execute better and convert its free throws (21 of 24 for the game) to tie it at 14-14 with 3:18 to play in the half.

Sterling and junior forward Holly Joyce (16 points) have been the cornerstones of the Blue Devils' disciplined offense. But yesterday the scoring of Kia Middleton (eight points) and Melanie Foye (nine points) helped Springbrook build a 25-20 halftime lead.

Sterling and Springbrook were at their best to open the second half, reeling off seven straight points. The Screaming Eagles had a 7-0 spurt of their own to cut the lead to 32-27.

Sterling and Joyce, however, scored the Blue Devils' next eight points as the lead rose to 40-28 with three minutes to play in the third period.

"In the first half our offense wasn't working out; we weren't getting the open pass and we were just rushing everything," said Sterling. "But in the second half we just took our time and ran our offense."

The Screaming Eagles, who got 11 points from Julie LeFevre and nine from Katie Mack, kept hustling in the fourth period, but got no closer than 45-37.

Springbrook guard Jennifer Twine did a good job overcoming defensive pressure and teammate Lisa Richardson (five points, 14 rebounds) played well inside.

"We didn't score and hit open shots from the field," said Seneca Valley Coach Ricardo Samuda. "We missed seven layups and that turned the whole ball game around."