After two previous attempts to reschedule its game with visiting Oakland Mills were unsuccessful because of snow cancelations, the third time proved to be the charm for Reservoir on Saturday afternoon.
Zelor Massaquoi totaled 26 points and 10 rebounds in just three quarters of play, Blair Bonner had eight points and eight boards, and the Gators romped to a 62-43 victory over the Scorpions.
“We did a good job in our press, and got some easy looks after turnovers,” said Reservoir coach Kyle Sullivan, whose squad improved to 10-2 and hasn’t lost since Dec. 17. “I thought our ball movement against the zone was really good as well. They’re getting more comfortable with what we’re doing.”
The Gators' game plan against the Scorpions (3-9, 4-10) was to attack the basket. Behind a fast-paced system that created chances for guards Keri Rager and Danaysha Turner, as well as Bonner and Massaquoi, the visitors were forced into early foul trouble.
In a first quarter that featured a 12-0 run to start the game, the Gators were sent to the line seven times. While only converting on four out of 12 attempts from the stripe, Reservoir players were clearly not afraid to make passes in the paint or drive straight to the hoop.
By halftime, the Scorpions’ defense showed enough of a spark to slow the scoring flurry, but it still couldn’t keep the Gators from putting together a 30-17 lead.
In the third quarter, Massaquoi went off. Scoring 14 points in those eight minutes alone, the senior completed her double-double outing without setting foot on the court for the final period – keeping up with her season-long trend of high-performance play in the process.
“My philosophy is to take everything one day at a time,” she said of her dynamic play of late. “I’m going to celebrate this one, but then come back Monday ready to work.”
The talented senior – who a little over one week ago announced via Twitter that she was heading to Grand Canyon University on a Davisson I scholarship – said she has focused on helping teammate Bonner when it came to the squad’s rebounding duties. Bonner flirted with a double-double herself, and added three assists in the winning effort.
In the fourth quarter, Massaquoi joined a number of starters on the bench, making way for the team’s reserve players to get some well-deserved playing time as the Gators’ lead grew.
“It’s not anything to worry about,” Massaquoi said, praising her team’s deep roster. “In practice, those girls play the hardest on defense than anyone. I love having them in.”
While they showed flashes of impressive ball handling, quick defensive stops and steals, and even lights-out shooting, the Scorpions failed to make any significant pushes as the game faded out of reach.
Led by Lauren Thompson’s 13 points, which included a scoring frenzy of 10 points in the third quarter, Oakland Mills couldn’t come up with enough rebounds to stop the Gators potent offense.
“We didn’t execute our game plan, and we didn’t box out,” said coach Christina Hewitt. “Reservoir came to play.”
Over the last two weeks, breaks for exams and snow cancelation meant stagnant play on the court. Sullivan said his team has been up for the challenge, remaining focused as it faces one of the longest stretches of the season.
“We’ve got good leaders on this team, and they keep everyone motivated and ready to play,” he said. “We’re all working towards a common goal, and they are just ready to take another step up that ladder every day to chase our end results.”
With games against the county’s top competition still to be played, Reservoir is one of the lucky teams taht can decide its county championship destiny on the court. According to Sullivan, that’s exactly the way they wanted it all along.
“We’re in a good position now where we control our own fate,” he said. “I am always telling them to keep plugging away, one game at a time.”
Reservoir 62, Oakland Mills 43
Res: Zelor Massaquoi 26, Blair Bonner 8, Danaysha Turner 6, Amani Ball 6, Keri Rager 4, Haley Tiller 4, Mary Dudzinski 4, Tara Thompson 3, Micah Avent 1.
Oakland Mills: Lauren Thompson 13, Theda Jackson 10, Karigan Awkward 7, Tori Diggs 5, Brittany Weiss 2, Diamond Lee 2, Maranda Robinson 2, Vanessa Mallory 1, Olivia Eldridge 1.
Half: 30-17, Gators.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun