Once just wasn’t enough, and this time it wasn't even close.
With a 49-33 victory Tuesday night, Howard became the only county team to beat Reservoir twice this season. The Lions eked out a two-point win over the Gators earlier in the season.
Tuesday’s victory keeps the Lions in the hunt for the county title and a playoff seed in the regional tournament. Howard has two games left on its regular season schedule — Wilde Lake (Feb. 19) and Marriotts Ridge (Feb. 21).
“We need to win out,” said Howard coach Scott Robinson. His team has won its last six games.
Balance in all aspects of the game helped the Lions spoil Reservoir’s Senior Night.
The Lions’ game plan was to contain senior Zelor Massaquoi, the county’s leading scorer, and force Reservoir’s other players to take over, and it worked.
Barit Batterton was assigned to be the primary defender on Massaquoi.
“Barit did a tremendous job on Zelor,” Robinson said. “We weren’t going to let her beat us.”
“We knew she would be difficult to stop,” said Sydney Biniak, who helped defend against Massaquoi.
Howard kept Massaquoi, who averages over 20 points a game, bottled up near the basket.
Shooting from outside didn’t pay off for the Gators and Plan B wasn’t that successful either.
“When a team is trying to pack it in (on defense), you’ve got to beat them down the floor and we didn’t do that a whole lot tonight. When we did, we made nice runs,” said Reservoir coach Kyle Sullivan.
Unfortunately, those scoring runs were few and far between.
Guards Emma Hoseman and Anne Kinsey handled the ball well and got Howard’s scoring going early. The Lions never trailed in the game.
Late in the third quarter with his team trailing, 33-16, Sullivan sent in five substitutes.
“I took all five out. I was tired of watching them stand there and watch the ball go up and not get a rebound. I thought I’d see if anybody else (on the team) wanted to rebound,” he said.
Overall, Reservoir’s fourth quarter was its best quarter, but the gap between the two teams was too big to close.
“I said this the last time we played Howard. You can’t expect to play a quarter or less of a game of basketball and beat a team like Howard,” Sullivan said.
“Howard came out ready to fight plain and simple, and our fight didn’t come until a little bit later,” Massaquoi said.
The Reservoir senior, who scored her 1,000th career point Monday night, finished with a game-high 15 points against Howard.