River Hill’s young team grew up in a big way Wednesday evening. Despite playing much of the night without their second-leading scorer, Charlie Thomas (16.2 points per game), the Hawks still managed to pull away down the stretch against visiting Long Reach for a 48-35 victory.
“Charlie is a really good player, so to be able to get a win without him shows that we are a team,” said senior forward Walt Moody, who led the way for River Hill with 23 points and 13 rebounds. “Everybody stepped up a little bit to make up for him not being out there.”
Thomas, who has been battling sickness the last couple days, managed just four minutes in the first half and never came back out to the bench for the second half. Yet, even with him off the floor, River Hill (5-1, 5-2) managed to turn a four-point halftime lead into an eventual double-digit win.
“Tonight showed a lot about our character,” River Hill coach Matt Graves said. “We showed we can play within the framework of what we do without Charlie, which is a big step for us.”
Freshman Mike Heitzmann chipped in with 10 points, while sophomore Gary Sandler and junior Michael Titus had four apiece, to provide support behind Moody. But the real story of the night was the Hawks’ defense.
Long Reach only had one guy, Avery Allmond (14 points, 7 rebounds), finish in double figures and had several lengthy scoreless stretches. The longest of the droughts came over the opening six minutes where River Hill managed to build a 9-0 lead.
For all their struggles, though, the Lightning did show glimpses of putting things together. After that slow start, for example, Long Reach put together its own 15-4 spurt to take a two-point lead.
Allmond, Brian Green (8 points) and Jeremiah Hall (8) scored all of the Lightning points during that stretch. But as quickly as River Hill had lost its lead, Moody helped his team grab it right back.
Three lay-ups by Moody, sandwiched around a 3-pointer by Heitzmann, helped the Hawks to a 22-18 lead at the half.
“Coach Graves always tells us that good teams are going to make runs and Long Reach is a good team, so we just had to stick with the defense,” Moody said. “We weathered the storm and everything was good after that.”
River Hill ended up maintaining its lead through the third quarter and then made its move to open the fourth. Moody ended up scoring 10 points in a five-minute span, including six foul shots, to open up the Hawks’ largest lead up until that point, 44-32.
Long Reach never managed to get closer than nine points over the final three minutes.
River Hill 48, Long Reach 35
RH (5-1, 5-2): Moody 23, Heitzmann 10, Sandler 4, Titus 4, Richardson 3, Schlect 2, Thomas 2.
LR (3-3, 4-3): Allmond 14, Green 8, Hall 8, Woodland 2, Stewart 2, Neal 1.
Half: 22-18 RH.
Oakland Mills 87, Glenelg 67
OM (6-0, 6-0): Willis 19, Dent 18, Tapscott 16, Bradley 13, Long 11, Zayatz 4, Foster 2, Hunter 2, Madden-Stricker 2.
G (4-2, 4-3): Oates 21, Randle 12, Hammert 10, Van de Wall 8, Livak 6, Kittleman 3, Napolitano 3, Helensky 2, Kasura 2.