McLean's walking wounded dismissed a lingering list of bumps and bruises to unravel Herndon, 50-42, at home last night in a Virginia AAA girls basketball game that could determine the Great Falls District winner.

Paced by point guard Barbara King's game-high 18 points, the 20th-ranked Highlanders extended their winning streak to five and improved to 4-0 in the district (9-1 overall). No. 12 Herndon, which led by eight twice in the first half, had its seven-game winning streak broken and dropped to 8-2, 2-1.

The victory was of particular importance to McLean, which plays eight of its final 11 games on the road. "I told the girls this might put us in the driver's seat when we go on the road," said Highlanders Coach Fred Priester. "They just laughed."

The Highlanders, many with taped knees, wrists and elbows, once again can thank King for her clutch play down the stretch. King, who scored 10 of the team's final 14 points last week against Langley, scored 10 of 12 this time.

Despite experiencing an eight-minute scoring drought, Herndon carried a 32-31 lead into the fourth quarter. Freshman Andrea Zenone (12 points) hit three straight jumpers and Becky Dendler (16 points) hit a free throw with 3:22 left to maintain the margin at 39-38.

Following Zenone's steal, King took over. The 5-foot-4 senior converted a three-point play to give the Highlanders their first lead, 41-39, with 2:55 left. Stacey Fierce hit two free throws to make it 43-39 before Dendler cut it to 43-41 on a pair of foul shots.

King then hit two driving jumpers and made three of four foul shots to secure the victory.

"I want to do whatever it takes for us to win," King said. "In the first half I was being too tentative and my shots weren't falling."

Priester thought the difference was a switch in defensive assignments. Fierce took on the Hornets' hot-shot guard, Dana Bowman, held her to 10 points and freed up King to run the offense.

"Stacey came in and did a nice job on Bowman," Priester said. "And it allowed Barbara to focus on running the offense."

Herndon, which led 24-21 at halftime, didn't score from the 2:35 mark of the second quarter until Bowman hit a three-pointer with 2:31 left in the third quarter.

"I don't think {Herndon's drought} was so much our defense as it was the familiarity these teams have for each other," Priester said.