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Thomas' late free throws push Oakland Mills girls basketball past Glenelg

Basketball

In the fourth quarter, all eyes in the gym were glued to two players – Oakland Mills’ Traonna Thomas and Glenelg’s Sam Heisig. The pair of seniors on opposite sides of the court went shot-for-shot, trying to will their respective squads to victory.

Heisig and Thomas scored all of their team’s points in the final quarter, and in the end, it was two free throws by Thomas with 16.9 seconds left that pushed the Scorpions past the host Gladiators, 39-35, in the opening round of the Class 2A South regional playoffs Friday.

“(Heisig) is a good player and it was fun battling with her,” Thomas said. “She was going and I was going but we were able to get the win.”

With her team ahead, 37-35, Thomas was fouled and was awarded two shots in the double bonus. She calmly sank the first before Oakland Mills called a timeout to set up their defense. Thomas stepped back to the line and made her second attempt.

“Those free throws were big. I was praying that they went in,” Thomas said. “I stepped to the line and once I knocked that first one down, it gave me confidence to knock the second one down.”

Thomas finished with a game-high 24 points – including 12 over the final eight minutes – and had eight boards for Oakland Mills (13-10 overall). Heisig, who returned from an ACL injury in January, scored 10 points in the fourth and 22 points total in the final game of her standout career for Glenelg (10-13).

“Those seniors didn’t want to give up,” Scorpions coach Seth Willingham said. “Sam has overcome a lot and she is a heck of a ball player. We tried to put a couple different girls on her but we kept losing track of her and she made us pay.”

When his team needed a big shot or rebound or a crucial defensive play, Willingham knew where to turn.

“Traonna is one of my most fundamental and knowledgeable basketball players so that’s who I’m going to go down with,” he said. “All of the girls played with heart tonight.”

Thomas helped the visitors get off to a fast start, scoring 12 first-half points as her team held a 19-11 halftime lead. Tori Diggs pushed the lead to 10 when she knocked down a jumper to open the third quarter.

The Gladiators decided to switch defenses, going to a zone to cut down on penetration to the basket and turned to a full-court press to slow momentum.

It worked.

Glenelg was able to create some turnovers and a 10-0 run pulled the contest even at 21-21 midway through the third. Olivia Nowlin nailed a 3-pointer to spark the turnaround. Lauren Wright added a mid-range jumper, Nowlin sank two foul shots and a Heisig 3-pointer sent the crowd into a frenzy.

Karigan Awkward helped Oakland Mills weather the storm with four free throws and a layup to end the third.

Trailing by three in the fourth, Heisig drilled back-to-back threes to give the Gladiators their first and only lead of the game. Unfortunately for them, it lasted just one minute.

“We changed the defense up a little bit in the third quarter and were able to double team out of our zone. I thought that worked well,” Glenelg coach Don Beall said. “We got a lot of turnovers but you have to get something out of it on the offensive end. We had a nice run where we went up by three but then we had a couple turnovers.”

Oakland Mills took advantage of those miscues when Thomas knocked down a 3-pointer to help the Scorpions reclaim the lead. Then she stepped into another three from the top of the key to push the lead to 35-31 with 2:43 remaining in regulation.

An old-fashioned three-point play from Heisig pulled Glenelg back to within a single point, but Thomas went 4-for-4 from the foul line to ice the game.

“I knew if I made those free throws it would keep them from being able to come down, hit a three and tie it,” Thomas said. “I’m happy we’re moving on. I’m a senior so I’m very happy that it didn’t end tonight.”

But for Glenelg’s senior class, this was the end of the road, which was especially hard to accept since the group didn’t have the season that they were hoping for. Heisig, a two-time first team All-County selection, returned mid-season at the same time that defending league player of the year Emily Russo (UMBC) suffered a knee injury.

The duo, along with Kristin Yuan and Elisa Tetro, were part of back-to-back county and District V championships teams over the last two seasons.

“I just gave them all a hug and told them how much I appreciate their work and effort,” Beall said. “They are all good people. They do well in school and they’ll be good people in society. That’s what its all about.”

Oakland Mills may be playing its best basketball at the right time, winning their last four contests. The Scorpions will return to the court on Monday when they host Long Reach in the 2A South semifinal round.

Statistical breakdown:

Rebounds:

OM: Thomas 8, Thompson 8, Awkward 6, Witherspoon 6.

G: Heisig 5, Taylor 5, Nowlin 4, Wright 4.

Assists:

OM: Witherspoon 3, Thompson 2.

G: Taylor 2, Forejt 2.

Field goals:

OM: 12

G: 11

Free throws:

OM: 12-16

G: 8-11

Class 2A South first round

Oakland Mills 39, Glenelg 35

OM         13            6            8            12            --            39

G            2            9            14            10            --            35           

OM (10-9, 13-10): Thomas 24, Awkward 7, Diggs 4, Thompson 2, Witherspoon 2.

G (8-11, 10-13): Heisig 22, Nowlin 7, Wright 4, Taylor 2.

Half: 19-11 OM.

Other scores:

Class 2A South first round

Long Reach 36, Frederick Douglass-PG 30

Senior Olivia Callan had 12 points, six rebounds and six steals to help the Lightning pick up their first playoff win in the past several seasons. Domination on the boards was key for visiting Long Reach as Gillian Engelbrecht pulled down 13 boards and Destini Joyce added 11 more.

“We were composed and everyone came to play tonight,” said Lightning coach Kelli Cofield. “This win is a turning point in our program as far as what to expect from ourselves.”

LR (11-12): Callan 12, Sanders 7, Ratliffe 6, Engelbrecht 6, Peterson 3, Joyce 2.

FD (12-10): Smith 13, Barnes 4, Harrison 3, Stansfield 3, Ritchie 2.

Half: 12-6 LR.

3A East first round

Atholton 68, Northeast 50

The Raiders were unable to get their last practice in before the start of the postseason on Thursday after a bomb threat was sent into the school, leaving coach Julia Reynold “a little nervous” for tonight's game at Northeast of Anne Arundel County.

The extra day of rest serve Atholton well, as they were able to maintain a solid lead for most of the contest.

Chelsea Mitchell tallied a game-high 23 points and Sage Mayhew added 10 for the Raiders, who take on the region’s No. 4 seed Reservoir on Monday.

A (10-11): Mitchell 23, Mayhew 10, Caldwell 9, Keating 8, Hart 8, Petersen 6, Tatum 2, Burmester 2.

N (6-14): Robinson 14, Walter 13, Woolford 7, Ueberfluss 6, Bostie 6, Dittmar 4.

3A East first round

Mt. Hebron 51, Centennial 47

The Vikings were able to come-from-behind and hold off the Eagles. Both times the teams played in the regular season, it was a close contest and tonight was no different.

Jamila Williams scored 18 points to pace Mt. Hebron, which moves on to face the region's No. 3 seed Howard on Monday. Tianna Wallpher and Meghan Doherty added nine each.

Brittany Anderson had a season-high 16 points for Centennial.

C (7-12, 8-15): B. Anderson 16, A. Mitchell 6, M. Anderson 6, Hsieh 6, Eads 6, Downing 5.

MH (14-5, 17-6): J. Williams 18, Wallpher 9, Doherty 9, Crump 7, Green 2, Konig 2, Bowen 2, Alli 2.

Half: 31-26.

3A East first round

Annapolis 60, Hammond 27

Senior Andrea Baker scored a team-high 11 points for the Golden Bears in her final game.

A (5-17): M. Lillifloren 12, Bush 9, Cooper 9, A. Lillifloren 5, Busch 5, Hyman 5, Clinksiales 4, Tyler 4, Privette 3, Harmon 3, Johnson 1.

Ha (0-21): Baker 11, Faass 5, Straton-Bratcher 5, Wallace 4, Conley 2.

Thursday’s results

3A East first round

Wilde Lake 49, J.M. Bennett 29

JB (5-16): Ross 11, Hudson 5, Shockley 4, Price 4, Franicios 3, Todd 2.

WL (5-17): Lazris 15, Williams 12, Harrison 9, Corbett 5, Drury 4, Bialek 2, Fisher 1, Babaturk 1.

Half: 28-11 WL.

Class 2A South first round

Marriotts Ridge 58, Patuxent 26

P (5-16): Jackson 16, Miller 11, Johnson 3, Stewart 3, Deahl 3, Copper 1.

MR (7-14): Kerr 19, Stukenberg 11, Taylor 8, LaVeck 7, Davey 6, Sharbaugh 3, Delaney 2, Miller 2.

 

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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