Having last played to a double-overtime loss on the same court nearly two months ago, Atholton girls basketball was determined not to let an opportunity for revenge against Reservoir escape its grasp.
Behind a relentless defensive attack, and top-scoring performances from Chelsea Mitchell and Sage Mayhew, the Raiders rolled to a 66-50 win in Thursday’s 3A East Section II final.
“You knew it was going to be a fight, because Reservoir is an incredible team,” said Atholton coach Julia Reynold. “We just had to put a couple of things together, cut down on some of our turnovers and learn from that last game.”
In her final career performance in a Gators uniform, senior Zelor Massaquoi notched 26 points and 11 rebounds.
In the first half, the Raiders (13-6, 17-6) rocketed out to a 15-0 lead before the two-minute mark in the first quarter. Reservoir (14-5, 15-6) coughed the ball up on three consecutive trips down the court in its first few possessions, resulting in quick Raider scores. Mitchell scored nine of her 18 total points in the first eight minutes alone.
“We knew we always have to start out with intensity, and we cannot be stopped,” said Mitchell, who added 10 rebounds in the winning effort.
Sharing point guard duties between Mitchell, Mayhew (13 points, four rebounds) and Francesca Venegas (12 points), the Raiders stayed steady, and found ways to thread passes and create open looks. Atholton even knocked down five triples in the game. “They were just falling for us,” Reynold added. “Sometimes things work, and sometimes they don’t.”
Keeping a consistent lead for much of the contest, Reynold said she was wary of a Reservoir comeback. With three minutes remaining in the final frame, the Gators took advantage of a momentum push would soon cut it to a four-point deficit.
“You knew Reservoir was such a great team, so they would be coming back,” she said. “We just had to stay composed for the entire game.”
In the game’s closing stages, any push the Raiders looked to take advantage of was thwarted by timely free throws for Atholton. The Raiders shot 10-for-10 from the stripe inside the 46-second mark, effectively putting the game out of reach for Reservoir.
Atholton will face Poly Saturday for a chance at a 3A East regional title.
Atholton 66, Reservoir 50
Ath: Chelsea Mitchell 18, Sage Mayhew 13, Francesca Venegas 12, Caitlyn Burmester 9, Becca Weinberg 7, Kalere Caldwell 4, Margaret Tatum 3.
Res: Zelor Massaquoi 26, Keri Rager 9, Blair Bonner 8, Danaysha Turner 5, Mary Dudzinski 2.
Half: 29-18, Raiders.
Calvert 52, Oakland Mills 33