Arundel’s Austin Carroll poured in a game-high 18 points, including eight during a pivotal 11-2 run to close the third quarter, and the Wildcats earned a season-opening, 51-39, victory over River Hill Wednesday evening.
After an opening 20 minutes that saw neither team lead by more than seven points, Arundel used its outshooting shooting to open up a double-digit advantage it never surrendered the rest of the way.
“You have to give them credit, they have good players that hit big shots,” River Hill coach Matt Graves said. “That said, I feel like we’re capable of playing with that team and we have to use this as a learning experience.”
With the Hawks clogging the interior most of the game in an effort to neutralize the Wildcats athleticism, Arundel coach Jeff Starr credited his team’s patience.
“Hitting those threes helped us stretch out the defense and force them to move around a little bit,” Starr said. “They like to slow the game down and by stretching the lead out we got them out of their comfort zone. I was proud of the guys for not forcing things.”
In the loss, River Hill got big games from its interior duo of senior Walt Moody (18 points and 11 rebounds) and sophomore Charlie Thomas (13 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocks).
It was thanks to those two getting themselves going early that the Hawks were able to jump out to a 13-12 advantage after the first quarter.
“We established an inside game, got Charlie and Walt some touches and got some easy shots around the basket,” Graves said. “Our defense was also clogging things up, which was making them have to work for shots.”
To start the second quarter, though, Arundel’s pressure defense began generating steals and shots at the rim. The Wildcats, which forced River Hill into 20 turnovers on the night, went on a 10-2 spurt to open the second eight minutes. It also didn't help matters that River Hill's Thomas was forced to the bench with two fouls.
By halftime, Arundel still held a 29-22 lead.
River Hill showed some fight immediately out of the half, again going to Moody and Thomas down low and also getting a jumper from Gary Sandler (4 points) to cut the deficit to four, 34-30.
That is as close as things got, however, with Arundel proceeding to go on its decisive run. The Wildcats hit four of their six 3-pointers on the night during the last three minutes of the third quarter and first two minutes of the fourth. The Hawks, meanwhile, finished the evening 0-9 from beyond the arc.
River Hill will be back in action on Friday against Hammond at 7 p.m.
Arundel 51, River Hill 39
A (1-0): Carroll 18, Lewis-Cenales 13, Oliphant 8, Mack 5, Hill 3, Ramsey 2, Wells 2.
RH (0-1): Moody 18, Thomas 13, Sandler 4, Titus 2, Heitzmann 2.
Half: 29-22 A.
Southern (AA) 69, Wilde Lake 50
The third quarter ended up being the decisive quarter, as Southern turned a four-point halftime lead into a double-digit advantage and never looked back. “Unforced turnovers were the difference and it really put us in a bind in the second half,” Wilde Lake coach Deon Wingfield said.