With its lead dwindling on Monday evening against Glenelg, Atholton managed to find the hot hand at the perfect time.
Raiders’ senior Michael Bernetti, who finished the night with a career-high 28 points to go along with 11 rebounds, did almost all of the heavy lifting down the stretch — scoring 10 of his team’s final 17 points to help secure a 73-62 victory.
Bernetti was backed up by 17 points from Justin Ballmer and 10 from Brandon Willis, and was quick to credit his teammates for his personal success in crunch time.
“My teammates were helping open up the floor for me with screens, allowing me to drive, and also hitting me with great passes,” said Bernetti, who made two threes and shot 10-13 from the foul line.
Glenelg, which got a game-high 21 points from Daine Van de Wall, trailed by nine points, 35-26, at the half and as many as 13 points in the third quarter.
But behind the 3-point shooting of Zack Haussler, the Gladiators battled back to make a game of it. Haussler hit three consecutive threes in a span of a little over a minute to make a large dent in the Raiders’ lead. A minute later, a couple of free throws by Bryce Helensky suddenly made it a three-point game four minutes left in regulation.
That, however, is when Bernetti found an answer. He converted an old-fashioned three-point play and then added two more foul shots to extend the lead for good.
After having lost a big lead against Centennial earlier this year, Bernetti said that experience paid dividends this time around.
“We’ve been in that kind of situation before in past years and earlier this year against Centennial. I think that helped us stay calm and get the couple baskets we needed here and there to open things up again,” Bernetti said.
The win improves Atholton to 4-1 and Raiders’ coach Jared Albert talked about just how important the victory was.
“That’s a (Glenelg) team that is well coached and is going to be in a lot of games with the way they shoot the ball, so that was definitely a good win for us,” Albert said. “Protecting our home floor is a major focus for us as well this year.”
Atholton 73, Glenelg 62
A (4-1, 4-1): Bernetti 28, Ballmer 17, Willis 10, Kelly 6, Mason 6, Purdue 4, Flemming 2.
G (1-3. 2-3): Van de Wall 21, Hammert 11, Haussler 9, Napolitano 6, Helensky 5, Jarboe 4, Mullinix 4, Oates 2.
Half: 35-26 A.
Oakland Mills 70, Centennial 65
After trailing by double digits multiple times throughout the game, including by 11 at halftime, the Eagles cut it down to a one-possession contest with a minute left. The comeback, though, ultimately fell short and the Scorpions stayed undefeated.
Mamadou Ndiaye led Oakland Mills with 21 points, while Isaiah White led Centennial with 23.
OM (4-0, 5-0): Ndiaye 21, Tapscott 13, Williams 11, Bradley 10, Kiely 8, Willis 7.