For all the missed shots and mistakes Reservoir made during the middle portion of its road game against Marriotts Ridge Friday night, the team’s resolve in crunch time was ultimately enough to pull out an opening-night victory.
Behind nine fourth-quarter points from Seth Henry, and a defense that allowed the Mustangs to score just three field goals in the final eight minutes, the Gators pulled out a come-from-behind win, 61-56.
“I’m going to go 12 (guys) deep most of the year, but I shortened the rotation in the second half when it got to winning time and went to the guys who have been here before … the guys that know what I expect,” Reservoir coach Mike Coughlan said. “We tightened up defensively and the kids executed.”
Henry finished with a team-high 16 points, while Aaron McDonald and Joe Kearney added 11 points apiece to pace the Reservoir attack.
Robert Davis, who scored seven of his team’s final eight points to keep things close until the final seconds, led Marriotts Ridge with 20 points. Patrick Clipp added 10 points, all in the second quarter, and Greg Speelman chipped in with eight.
Courtesy of a 10-2 spurt in the middle of the second quarter, Marriotts Ridge seized control of the game in the early stages. The Mustang lead got up to as many as 10 points, 31-21, at one point in the final minute before halftime.
And, even though Reservoir began its surge immediately to start the second half, the Mustangs never trailed at any point in the third quarter.
It wasn’t until Gator senior Kevin Mayers (10 points) hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 5:18 remaining in regulation that Reservoir got its first taste of the lead since the first 10 minutes of the game.
“Credit to him, for a kid that barely played at all last year, to step out there in a very big moment and not only have the confidence that he could hit it, but be willing to take it,” Coughlan said.
Sparked by that basket, Reservoir’s defense dug in and never let go of the lead the rest of the way.
“We stopped executing the way we had been, but I thought a lot of that had to do with them ramping it up a little bit,” Marriotts Ridge coach Marcus Lewis said. “We kind of sat around and watched Rob play too much in the fourth quarter and that’s something we’re going to have to work on. A tough game, but also some stuff we can build on.”
Reservoir 61, Marriotts Ridge 56
Re (1-0, 1-0): Henry 16, McDonald 11, Kearney 11, Mayers 10, Reilly 9, Hedgren 3, O’Hagan 2.
MR (0-1, 1-1): Davis 20, Clipp 10, Speelman 8, Caffes 6, Stringfellow 6, Bryant 6
Centennial 59, Atholton 56
Centennial never led at any point in the second half, yet still managed to rally thanks to a 10-2 run to close the fourth quarter that forced overtime and set the stage for a three-point double-overtime victory over the visiting Raiders.
“Their intensity and energy, and their pressure on (Atholton’s) ball handlers, that was the difference in the game,” Centennial coach Chad Hollwedel said. “No matter what was happening, our guys played fearlessly.”
Eagles’ junior Isaiah White led the way with a game-high 23 points, while seniors Walter Fletcher (12 points) and Chase Conley (11) were huge in the overtime periods. It all helped spoil a game that saw huge efforts from Atholton’s Michael Bernetti (20 points) and Justin Ballmer (18).
The Raiders led by as many as 10 points in the fourth quarter, and, following a lay-up by Abel Kwong, were up 42-34 with just 3:57 to go.