Following Monday night’s heartbreaking loss to Howard, Reservoir coach Kyle Sullivan said his team needed to stop waiting around for others to make the big play. A day later, on her home court, Zelor Massaquoi took that lesson to heart.
Behind the senior’s 24 points, including 12 from the foul line, the Gators defeated visiting Mt. Hebron in double overtime, 64-61.
“It was about keeping our team motivated. After a loss like that, it’s easy to get down on yourself,” said Massaquoi of her team’s bounce back win. “It’s not the end of the season. Tough losses happen.”
Knowing her strong frame and ability to get to the hoop, the Gators (3-2) made it a point to get Massaquoi in a position to be fouled early and often. On Tuesday, she was 12-of-14 from the line.
“They just kept feeding her the ball,” said Vikings coach Tony Bell after the loss. “I tip my hat to Reservoir. They wanted this win bad. They had a two-game losing streak and we knew they were going to come out intense.”
Megan Konig led the Vikings (3-2) offensively with 20 points. Back from injury was Nia Crump, who added 12 points and three rebounds.
Bell said Crump’s presence was huge for his squad, especially her two free throws at the end of regulation to force overtime.
In the first half, the Mt. Hebron got out to a good start offensively. Konig drained two 3-pointers early in the first few minutes.
By the middle of the second quarter, the Gators had kept Mt. Hebron’s lead in check. But, costly turnovers and stout defense from the visiting squad resulted in a quick four-point swing just before the break.
“I told them at halftime…to continue to attack,” said Sullivan, who added that he wanted his girls to start to take control instead of waiting for the ball to come to them.
The Gators responded right out of the gate in the third quarter, scoring seven unanswered points to tie it up in the first few minutes before Konig’s third triple of the night halted the run.
Heading into the final eight minutes of regulation, Reservoir had cut the lead to just one point.
Early in the quarter, Vikings center Gabby Green fouled out with just five points. Bell was then forced to rotate his different forwards into the paint in an effort to adjust.
After trading baskets and fouls – including a stretch that sent Massaquoi to the line three times – the Gators finally broke through and took the lead with under 30 seconds to play. The Vikings made a push, Crump drew a foul and sunk both chances, and the game went to extra time.
In the first four minutes of overtime, the Gators got out to a quick four-point lead before Mt. Hebron could respond. With 25 seconds left, Blair Bonner (10 points) hit a mid-range jumper to go ahead.
But, less than 15 seconds later, Olivia Williams drew a foul and made both shots, forcing the second period of overtime.
The Vikings last-ditch efforts, however, were unsuccessful, as the Gators pulled away for the win at last.
“I think they turned a corner, intensity and focus-wise, in these last two games, and that’s as important as anything,” said Sullivan of the victory, which moved his team back over .500 in what looks to be a very competitive county this season.
Both teams will play their third game in a row on Wednesday. The Gators will take on undefeated Centennial, while Hebron will welcome Marriotts Ridge.
Reservoir 64, Mt. Hebron 61
Res (3-2): Zelor Massaquoi 24, Danaysha Turner 6, Tara Thompson 7, Keri Rager 10, Blair Bonner 10, Amani Ball 3, Mary Dudzinski 2, Haley Tiller 2.
MH (3-2): Megan Konig 20, Giovanna Alli 2, Gabby Green 5, Olivia Williams 6, Nia Crump 12, Meghan Doherty 7, Tianna Wallpher 3, Peyton LeConte 4, Shannon Kelliher 2.
Half: 28-21 MH.