The Howard girls basketball team traveled to the River Hill gym twice last season, and both visits ended in defeat, including a painful 50-27 loss in the regional championship. Howard also lost to River Hill in the regional finals two years ago.
But in Friday night's season opener, the Lions made sure that history didn't repeat itself.
Senior guard Anne Kinsey hit six free throws in the fourth quarter, three with less than 40 seconds left, to propel Howard to a 45-35 win at River Hill.
"We knew we had to bring the intensity to River Hill, because they always give us a great game," said Kinsey, who finished with ten points, two assists, two steals and two blocks. "Being at the line I was thinking about some of the past games and knowing the feeling of coming and losing, and I knew I had to hit those shots to seal the deal … I'm so excited about the win."
River Hill, which lost by four points to Aberdeen in the state championship last year, trailed 25-18 at halftime, and 35-22 early in the third quarter, but rallied with a 9-0 run — fueled by seven points from sophomore guard Jess Hopkins — to make the final minutes exciting.
"We were right there with them in the fourth quarter, but then we started making fouls but that's because we're young, inexperienced and we don't have the cohesiveness. But we're going to work on it," River Hill coach Teresa Waters said. "It's a new year, and a new team, but the same dream. We're going to let this game go after we learn from it and go from there, because we've got three games next week."
Hopkins led the Hawks with 11 points and two assists, followed by Julia Collins (9 points, 2 assists, 1 steal) and Sydney Poindexter (8 points, 1 assist, 1 steal).
Howard got good production from the high-low post combo of Sydney Biniak (7 points, 4 assists) and sophomore Berit Batterton (10 points), as well as junior guard Natalie Talley (8 points, 5 steals, 3 assists off the bench) and freshman forward Emileigh Scott (8 points, 1 steal). The Lions had 12 steals in the game.
"We've been over here in the regional finals the past two years and we haven't been able to beat them, so I'm happy for the girls," Howard coach Scott Robinson said.
Howard 45, River Hill 35
Halftime: Howard, 25-18
Ho: Anne Kinsey, 10; Berit Batterton, 10; Emileigh Scott, 8; Natalie Talley, 8; Sydney Biniak, 7; Emma Hoesman, 2.
RH: Jess Hopkins, 11; Julia Collins, 9; Sydney Poindexter, 8; Jenna Collins, 4; Chelsea Buchiane, 3.
Around the league:
Reservoir 64, Marriotts Ridge 49
Res (1-0): Massaquoi 20pts, 4 assists, Thompson 2 pts, Turner 14 pts 6 assists, Bonner 12 pts 14 rbs, Ball 6 pts, Rager 5 pts 6 stls, Dudzinski 3 pts, Bartley 2 pts
MR (0-1, 0-2): Davey 14, Bergquist 9, A. Miller 7, Kerr 6, Blalock 5, Meekins 4, Evans 2.
Half: 31-20 Res.
Mt. Hebron 45, Long Reach 25
MH: Green 13 pts, 10 rbs, Crump 9 pts, Konig 6 pts, McLamb 4 pts, Kelliher 4 pts, Stevens 3 pts, Williams 3 pts, Doherty 2 pts, Wallpher 1 pt.
LR: Sanders 8 pts, 2 reb, 1 stl, Engelbrecht 6 pts, 1 reb, Peterson 5 pts, 5 reb, Ratliffe 2 pts, 2 reb.
Half: 15-13 LR.
Centennial 61, Atholton 38
Cen: B. Anderson 26 pts (6/6 from beyond the arc), Eads 12 pts, Downing 6 pts, A. Mitchell 6 pts, M. Anderson 3pts, K. Mitchell 2 pts, Wilson 2 pts, Burk 2 pts, Hsieh 2 pts.
Ath: Mayhew 9, Mitchell 5, Hart 4, Weinberg 1, Tatum 6, Burmester 4, Caldwell 4, Jones 2, Venegas 2, Peterson 1.
Half: 35-20 Cen.
Glenelg 76, Hammond 19
Glen: Mattis 23, Nowlin 15, Forejt 9, Wright 6, Kapinos 6, Price 5, Wolfrey 4, Zucco 3, Taylor 3, Henggeer 2.
Ham: Wallace 8, Shawnice King 6, Cannon 3, Shawntel 2.
Half: 40-19 Glen.