For Oakland Mills, the beat goes on.
Despite making just one field goal and shooting less than 50 percent from the foul line in the fourth quarter Saturday against Reservoir, the Scorpions buckled down defensively and pulled out a 57-52 victory on the road.
It was the team’s 16th straight victory without a loss this winter.
“We made stops and, I hate to beat a dead horse but, these guys continue to find ways to win,” Oakland Mills coach Jon Browne said. “I kept telling the boys … I don’t care what happens, how many free throws we miss, we have to find a way to make a few more plays than them. Whatever those plays were.
“And bottom line, as they keep proving night after night, these guys are winners.”
Lavon Long scored 20 points to pace an Oakland Mills (13-0, 16-0) team that had five guys score eight points or more. Kyle Reilly, who hit four threes, led Reservoir (8-5, 9-6) with 18 points.
Although the final quarter was a defensive struggle, the three quarters prior were played at a breakneck pace. With both teams pressing and looking to push in transition, there were 10 ties and 12 lead changes thru the first 27 minutes.
“It was a battle, really everything I expected it to be,” Browne said.
Oakland Mills grabbed its largest lead of the afternoon, 26-17, with 6:14 left before halftime courtesy of an 11-0 spurt between the end of the first quarter and beginning of the second, punctuated by a three by Nekhi Bradley (9 points).
But as quickly as the Scorpions got a little separation, the Gators answered right back. Following a 3-pointer by Aaron McDonald (8 points) with six seconds left in the second quarter, Reservoir had retaken the lead, 38-37.
Neither team led by more than four points in the third quarter and the score ended up knotted at 48 heading into the fourth.
Mishaud Reyna hit a 3-pointer to open the final quarter for Oakland Mills, but Reservoir answered right back with back-to-back lay-ups by Cameron Brooks and McDonald to go back in front with 5:35 left.
That, however, was the Gators’ last lead.
Over the final five minutes, Reservoir didn’t score again. Oakland Mills’ activity at the top of its zone defense forced contested shots and the combination of Long (11 rebounds) and Dajuan Dent (8 rebounds) cleaned up the misses.
“As hot as they were to start, they were that cold at the end,” Browne said. “Our zone worked for us down the stretch and they just couldn’t get those same shots. As long as they weren’t hitting those jumpers, we were going to stay with it.”
On the other end, the Scorpions weren’t making any field goals either. But they did make just enough foul shots, six in the quarter, to pull out the victory. For the game, Oakland Mills was just 14-28 from the line.
Reyna was particularly big down the stretch, scoring six of his eight points in the fourth quarter.
Oakland Mills is back in action on Wednesday when they travel to face second-place River Hill (11-1, 13-2) at 5:30 p.m.
Oakland Mills 57, Reservoir 52
OM (13-0, 16-0): Long 20, Bradley 9, Dent 9, Reyna 8, Williams 8, Willis 2, Zayatz 1.