In Oakland Mills’ last game against Glenelg, the Scorpions let an eight-point halftime lead evaporate into a loss. Ahead by just two points at the half of Thursday afternoon's contest against Western Tech, head coach Seth Willingham had an idea.
The team stayed on the floor for the entire 10-minute intermission – running a layup line and a 4-on-4 drill to practice their offensive sets.
“The last couple of games we’ve come out in the third quarter and have been flat,” Willingham said. “So I wanted to try something different to keep them in game mode and keep them moving.
“We’re a young team with some inexperience so we’re just trying new things and see what works. We want to keep the good and try to get rid of the bad.”
The Scorpions responded to the change by pushing out to a double-digit lead in the third quarter before holding off a late rally by the Wolverines to earn a hard fought, 34-31, victory in their own holiday tournament.
Senior guard Traonna Thomas scored a game-high 10 points for Oakland Mills (5-3 overall), while sophomore guard Tori Diggs added nine.
Oakland Mills had trouble scoring in the opening half, totaling 11 points and just one in the second quarter. Luckily for them, Western Tech also struggled to add points to the scoreboard.
The ball started to fall in the third quarter, however, as the Scorpions took a 21-11 lead thanks to a 10-0 run. Karigan Awkward got thngs going with a turnaround jumper that was assisted by Fern Peters. Awkward hit another jumper, Diamond Lee added three points and Diggs had a layup during the spurt.
Diggs stretched the lead to 11 after she nailed a 3-pointer late in the third but Western Tech started to claw its way back into the contest.
With Oakland Mills leading 34-27 with 2:16 left to play, Ashley Gourdine drove to the basket for a layup. Then with just over a minute remaining, Sydney Clopton sank two free throws to bring the Wolverines within one possession at 34-31.
Lee looked to give the Scorpions some breathing room after driving to the rim for a layup but the bucket was waived off as she was called to an offensive foul. Later, with a chance again to close out the game, Oakland Mills missed two free throws, allowing the Wolverines one last chance.
Western Tech was unable to convert on its final opportunity and Awkward grabbed the rebound to run out the clock.
“This was such a tough game because both teams played really hard,” Thomas said. “A game like this is going to help us a lot in county. This team tested us and we were able to hold on. It will definitely help us when we play county teams.”
Oakland Mills will face Thomas Johnson of Frederick County on Friday at 5 p.m. in the championship game.
Oakland Mills Holiday Tournament
Oakland Mills , Western Tech
WT: Clopton 7, Tapley 6, Dixon 5, Coles 5, Gourdine 4, Dennis 2, Splieot 2.
OM (3-3, 5-3): Thomas 10, Diggs 9, Awkward 7, Lee 5, Peters 3.
Half: 11-9 OM.