After a lackluster first half, Howard picked up its energy in the following two quarters against C. Milton Wright Monday and rolled to its 17th-straight win.
“First half we weren’t playing like we usually play,” said Lions senior Emileigh Scott. “We knew we had to pick it up. The intensity, the energy and that is what we focused on in the second half, just picking up our overall energy.”
The visiting Mustangs hung with Howard for most of the first half. They trailed by nine after the first quarter and were within 10 for most of the second, but the Lions upped their play out of the break and pulled away for a 72-37 win.
“Maybe that’s on me and I will take responsibility for that, but in the first half we were just dead," said Howard coach Scott Robinson. "There was no communication, so every thing at halftime was playing with more energy on the offensive and defensive end. At halftime we laid into them pretty good, just about playing with passion, enjoy it, enjoy being around each other and have fun. I thought second half was a great performance.”
Sydney Bukowski (eight points) netted the opening second-half bucket for C. Milton Wright, but Howard countered with a 7-0 run in the following two minutes. Moriah Snyder (team-high 15 points) put an end to the surge with her basket with 4:45 to play in the third, but again the Lions piled on a 6-0 stretch.
The Mustangs hit back-to-back shots midway through the quarter to end the run, but with 2:19 left Howard scored 12 unanswered points to push its lead, 58-25, entering the fourth.
“That’s all we talked about at halftime,” Robinson said. “We were sleep walking through the first half. No disrespect to CM Wright, but we didn’t play with any energy in the first half. I am proud of them in the second half. They played hard. The bench was in too and there was a lot more enthusiasm. It was like two different teams. That is the way we have to play.”
Snyder scored six-straight points to open up the fourth, but the Lions limited the Mustangs to just two made shots the rest of the period.
“I think we definitely picked up our defense in the second half,” Scott said. “We talked more. We helped each other out. We just overall picked up our defense and it was just something we knew we had to work on from the first half.”
Scott led Howard with a game-high 18 points, followed by Sam Lewis (13), Taylor Addison (12) and Courtney Furr (10).
The Lions are gearing up for a big matchup on the road against Atholton on Wednesday. County championship implications are on the line as the two are the only teams remaining with an unblemished league record. Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m.
“They are a very, very talented team, no doubt about it,” Robinson said. “Going over there is going to take our best effort. I have a lot of respect for them. [Atholton coach] Julia [Reynold] does a good job and certainly I have a lot of respect for the guard trio of Ryan [Jones], Franny [Vanegas] and Sofia [Harrsion]. And I think they’ve got a good balance of post players that they rotate in that are good too, so it is going to be a very difficult matchup for us.”
Howard 72, CM Wright 37
Ho (7-0, 17-0): Scott 18, Lewis 13, Addison 12, Furr 10, Malagar 6, G. Sanchez-Henry 5, M. Sanchez-Henry 4, Eich 3, Jones 1.
CW: Snyder 15, Bukowski 8, Marchetti 6, Brown 6, C. Hoover 2.
Half: 33-17, Howard.
Around the league:
Manchester Valley 56, Wilde Lake 43
WL (0-7, 3-15)
Gerstell 37, Glenelg Country 24
GCS (9-3 IAAM B, 10-5)