Coming off her team’s first win of the season the night before, Oakland Mills guard Diamond Lee said her squad is finally starting to gel together.
On Thursday, playing in a weather-rescheduled match-up at Marritotts Ridge, the Scorpions had everything going their way.
Lee’s 23 points was only bested by fellow senior Karigan Awkward’s 24 – including 20 in the first half – and the team shot 22 of 29 from the foul line on the way to a 69-44 win over the Mustangs.
“Now we’re starting to get a little more team chemistry, and that’s what we needed in the beginning of the season,” Lee said after the win.
Having her seniors start to play together is important for Scorpions coach Christina Hewitt, who said that she expected these types of performances from the start of the year.
“They’re the leaders of the team, as well as some other seniors,” she said. “We need big games from our impact players. When we don’t get that, we struggle.”
Awkward also registered seven rebounds in the win, creating an offensive attack that outscored the Mustangs 20-5 in the third quarter alone.
“We’re rebuilding. We’re working on running our offense and playing physical defense, and both of those things have improved drastically,” said Marriotts Ridge coach Caitlin Bay. “We lost that game with our heads.”
Marissa Davey was the only scorer for the Mustangs in double digits with 13 points. Cassie Evans, Carly Miller and Jenna Kerr all had five points as well.
While Oakland Mills (2-4) found success from the charity stripe, it was at the expense of the Mustangs, who were in foul trouble before the first quarter came to a close.
The Scorpions’ game plan was to attack the basket on every possession, and early on, it was Awkward’s job to draw fouls in the paint. In the first half, 10 of her points came off 12 foul shot attempts.
In the second half, the Mustangs (0-6) backed off the aggressive play, focusing on tactical defense to create steals. For the first few minutes of the third quarter, that strategy kept the game close.
With five minutes to go before the fourth quarter, Lee took over the game. Of her squad’s 20 points in those eight minutes, Lee claimed 15 for herself.
“I just played hard, looked for my teammates and stayed positive throughout the game,” she said. “We worked on attacking because we are a quick team full of guards. If we get to the basket, we can’t be stopped.”
Hewitt said nabbing two wins before the New Year was crucial for her team’s confidence. She added that, collectively, things are starting to just click.
“It’s good to go into break with a win to be able to enjoy our holiday,” she said. “But then we have a tournament, so I hope we have taken a couple of steps forward, so that we will be able to continue improving.”
The Scorpions host their own tournament on Dec. 27 and 28, then will get a test when the team welcomes Reservoir on Jan. 3. The Mustangs will host Hammond following the holiday break as well.
Oakland Mills 69, Marriotts Ridge 44
OM (2-4): Karigan Awkward 24, Diamond Lee 23, Lauren Thompson 7, Tori Diggs 9, Jordan Kerr 3, Maranda Robinson 2, Tekelle Evans 1.
MR (0-6): Marissa Davey 13, Jenna Kerr 5, Cassie Evans 5, Carly Miller 5, Caitlin Ohnmacht 4, Amanda Miller 3, Micah Meekins 3, Jaleah Sydnor 2, Kali Taylor 2, Caroline Blalock 2.
Half: 31-28 OM.
Around the county:
Glenelg 51, Wilde Lake 46
Glen (4-2): Lauren Wright 16, Julia Wolfrey 9, Miranda Mattis 8, Ally Forejt 5, Olivia Nowlin 5, Taylor Zucco 3, McKenzie Dailey 3
WL (2-4): Lindsey Williams 15, Brynn Drury 10, Rachel Lazris 10, Alyssa Bialek 4, Marissa Sciabarra, Ni’jah Richardson 2.
Half: 28-19 WL.
Glenelg Country 47, Beth T’Filoh 20
GCS: Ka’Mari Robinson 5, Kathleen DeLeonibus 2, Sabrina DeLeonibus 20, Mallory Pappas 4, Deja Hursey 10, Erynne Rasheed 2, Lauren Smith 4.
Half: 24-12 GCS.