As he watched his team struggle to score in the first half of Saturday night’s contest, Reservoir coach Kyle Sullivan challenged his team to make a decision on how it wanted to play in the second half.
“At halftime I told them that we looked sluggish and I reminded them that we are in contention for a county championship,” Sullivan said.
“I told them if they didn’t make up their minds to play better, then they were going to look back and wish that they had played with more focus and intensity. I said, ‘It’s on you guys. If you don’t pick it up, we’re not going to win this game.’ ”
The Gators – led by junior captain Zelor Massaquoi – decided to be dominant over the final 16 minutes. Reservoir used its defense to create instant offense and raced to a 48-33 victory over host Glenelg in the annual Howard County Women's Athletics Hall of Fame game.
Massaquoi took it upon herself to help get the Gators (13-2, 13-2) rolling in the third quarter. She scored 12 of her career-high 29 points in the third, and grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds.
Junior guard Olivia Nowlin drained three 3-pointers in the second quarter to help the Gladiators take a 19-14 lead into the halftime. Defending county champion Glenelg was looking to snap a five-game slide and appeared to be on its way to doing so.
Then Massaquoi asserted herself on both ends of the floor.
Reservoir opened the third quarter with an 8-0 run – sparked by five points from Massaquoi and a 3-pointer by Keri Rager – to claim the lead, 22-19.
“When I was shooting around during halftime, I thought about something that my assistant coach told me. He said ‘The way I play, my teammates follow suit,’ ” Massaquoi said. “If I play the right way, they will play the right way. If I have intensity, they will have intensity.”
The intensity was definitely there. Later in the third, Massaquoi turned two steals into layups and gave an emphatic fist pump after getting fouled on a put-back layup.
Trailing by 13 early in the fourth, Glenelg (6-9, 8-10) tried to mount a comeback.
Ally Forejt was fouled on a drive to the basket and sank both free throws. Megan Taylor followed with a strong move to the rim to cut the deficit to 38-29 with 3 minutes, 54 seconds left to play.
But the Gators kept their foot on the gas pedal, outscoring the Gladiators, 10-4, over the remainder of the game.
“I thought that we played well,” said Nowlin, who finished with 12 points for Glenelg. “In the third quarter, I guess we were just off but we worked as a team and really gave it our all.”
Re: Massaquoi 11, Bonner 4, Rager 3.
G: Yuan 11, Nowlin 3, Zucco 2.
Re: Rager 3, Thompson 3, Turner 3.