After needing fourth-quarter comebacks in each of its previous two games, Oakland Mills made things a little easier on itself Wednesday against Centennial.
On the strength of a 21-3 run in the first quarter, the Scorpions built themselves an early double-digit lead and never looked back en route to a 75-63 victory on the road. Lavon Long (19 points, 15 rebounds and 6 blocks) led four Oakland Mills players in double figures scoring in a win that improves the team to 15-0 overall.
“We got off to a tremendous start and a lot of it came off our pressure,” Oakland Mills coach Jon Browne said. “We got a lot of lay-ups … really did a good job of attacking the rim. I thought that was one of our better halves of the year.”
Marvin Williams added 15 points and Nekhi Bradley had 12 for a Scorpion team that led by 20 points, 43-23, at the half and never saw its lead dip below 12 points at any point in the second half.
“We were about due for one like this, because how we had been playing wasn’t really up to our maximum potential,” Long said. “We came out from the get go and just played our game.”
Omari Ringgold (22 points) and Timi Tinuyoe (19) led the way for Centennial (8-6) in the loss.
A jumper by Centennial’s Walter Fletcher (8 points) a little more than a minute in gave the Eagles a 3-1 lead. But less than a minute later, Williams hit a 3-pointer to put Oakland Mills in front and the visiting Scorpions didn’t trail again the rest of the way.
Following a lay-up by Ringgold with 5:32 left in the first quarter, making it 8-7 Oakland Mills, Centennial went the next five minutes without a field goal.
That drought, coupled with the Scorpions heating up offensively, led to the 21-3 spurt that broke the game open. Long’s lay-up with 38 seconds left in the opening quarter made it 29-10.
“We had to get them out of the way early, because the first time around it was a pretty close game,” said Long, referencing Oakland Mills’ 53-48 win over the Eagles to open the season. “That (first game) probably helped us because all the jitters were gone (tonight) and we knew what we had to do to come in and win.”
Oakland Mills went up by as many as 28 points early in the second half, providing a cushion plenty big enough to sustain a couple late pushes from Centennial.
The Eagles closed the third quarter with a 14-2 stretch to get within 16 and later closed the game on a 14-6 run to create the final margin of 12.
“Chad (Hollwedel) does a great job with those guys, they have no quit in them, so we knew runs were coming and it didn’t help that we had our studs on the bench with foul trouble,” said Browne, who had Long and Dajuan Dent (8 points, 6 rebounds) saddled with four fouls much of the second half. “But I thought we did a good job of sustaining and keeping it comfortable. I was very proud of our effort.”
Oakland Mills is back on the road Friday when they travel to Reservoir for a 7 p.m. game.
Oakland Mills 75, Centennial 63
OM (12-0, 15-0): Long 19, Williams 15, Bradley 12, Willis 11, Dent 8, Zayatz 4, Reyna 2, Hunter 2, Madden-Stricker 2.
C (7-5, 8-6): Ringgold 22, Tinuoye 19, Fletcher 8, Olmstead 6, Eads 3, Benson 2, Strothers 2, Conley 1.
Half: 43-23 OM.
River Hill 70, Hammond 53