The Oakland Mills girls basketball program has been “climbing a mountain” all season, according to players and coaches. Senior guard Lauren Thompson said they will only reach the summit with a 2A state championship in hand.
The Scorpions inched one step closer to that goal Wednesday, taking down Marriotts Ridge in the South regional Section I quarterfinals, 58-45.
“We knew we had to come out strong and set the tone, to make sure we came out on top,” said Thompson, who notched nine points and 12 rebounds. “All around, we made sure we were always on the same page, and I think that showed on the court today.”
Tori Diggs got Oakland Mills (5-14, 8-15) off to its fast start. Her 3-pointer sparked an early 9-1 lead before the Mustangs finally got their legs under them.
Diggs had a game-high 19 points, followed closely by Karigan Awkward’s 18.
While Marriotts Ridge (3-16, 5-18) was coming off a win Friday against McDonough, the Scorpions hadn’t played in eight days. That layoff, according to coach Christina Hewitt, didn’t stop her girls from stepping up to the challenge.
“It’s so hard when you have those stretches when you don’t play,” she said. “I always say I have to see what my team looks like…I was pleasantly surprised. They were ready.”
Hewitt’s girls were “ready to attack,” and it especially showed in the second quarter, when Diggs, Awkward and Thompson combined for 13 points from the field – including nine from behind the arc.
Marriotts Ridge coach Caitlin Bay said her team’s goal was to stop Oakland Mills’ prolific scorers, which proved difficult down the stretch. Her girls’ effort and progress from the start of the winter, however, was still put on display.
“We’ve come a long a long way from the beginning of the season,” she said. “The last time we played (Oakland Mills), we won in a close game at the end. We knew it was going to be tough to beat them again.”
The visiting Mustangs came out of the break firing with improved accuracy, but Oakland Mills responded to nearly every momentum shift. Marissa Davey notched a team-high 17 points in the losing effort.
By the fourth quarter, already sitting on a comfortable nine-point lead, the Scorpions went to the charity stripe eight different times, going 10-for-16 as the game came to a close.
The Scorpions travel to Calvert for the Section 1 final Thursday. Hewitt is optimistic that her team is hitting its stride at the right time.
“We’re still trying to climb a mountain,” she said. “Hopefully we’re not peaking yet.”
Oakland Mills 58, Marriotts Ridge 45
OM: Tori Diggs 19, Karigan Awkward 18, Lauren Thompson 9, Theda Jackson 6, Diamond Lee 4, Jordan Kerr 2.
MR: Marissa Davey 17, Jenna Kerr 8, Amanda Miller 6, Carly Miller 5, Caroline Blalock 4, Sarah Blalock 3, Jenna Bergquist 2.
Half: 30-21, Scorpions.
Calvert 64, Hammond 35
Howard 58, Blake 39
How (17-2, 21-2): Sydney Biniak 14, Jayda Gilmore 11, Anne Kinsey 10, Berit Batterton 10, Emma Hoesman 7, Emileigh Scott 4, Natalie Talley 2.