With her team holding on to a seven-point cushion and the final seconds ticking down, Long Reach coach Kelli Cofield soaked in the atmosphere of a packed crowd on the road against rival Howard.
The Lightning had lost to the Lions earlier in the season on their home floor, and on Wednesday night they repaid the favor, as they handed Howard (9-1 county, 19-1 overall) its first loss of the season, 54-47.
“It’s always fun any time you play Howard,” Cofield said. “It doesn’t matter. The record is out the window. This is a big game historically, so I am glad they came out. Howard played great. Long Reach played great. I’m just out here watching. It was a good game for everybody.
“Everybody just came to play. They were locked in from the beginning. This is the best kind of environment you want to play in. We wanted to get a win against a rivalry team. They got a packed house in here. This is fun. This is what you play high school sports for.”
Long Reach (8-2, 17-4) wanted to bounce back from a tough loss against Centennial on Monday and were looking to also spoil the Lions senior night.
“To us it means a lot, because day in and day out we always want to beat them because they are our rivals,” said Lightning junior guard Kiana Williams. “We were already hyped up before the game even started. We didn’t even know it was their senior night until we got here. But yeah, it got us more hyped up and we felt like we picked each other back up. It’s time to win now. We kept our heads up and we didn’t let down. It was a good game.”
Lyric Swann started off the game with a three for Long Reach, but the Lions countered with back-to-back baskets to take their first lead.
There were three different lead changes throughout the first quarter, with the score tied once at 11 with 3:20 left.
After Howard took an 18-17 advantage after the first, the Lightning answered with a 10-0 run, which gave them their largest cushion of the half at 25-18 with 3:30 remaining before the break.
Taylor Addison broke up the surge, scoring the Lions only points in the period to cut the deficit to 26-21 at halftime.
“I mean they hit tough shots. They are a very talented team and they were prepared for us, so give credit to them,” said Howard coach Scott Robinson. “I think Long Reach did all the right things. They were in their [defensive] stance. They didn’t try and block shots. They were focused — give credit to Long Reach. They did a good job.”
It was another tight quarter after the halftime break. The score was tied at 31- and 37-all with three more lead changes.
But after Courtney Furr knotted the game up once more with less than a minute to play in the period, Swann earned a trip to the foul line in the remaining seconds. She connected on both attempts, which gave her team a two-point cushion entering the fourth quarter, and Long Reach never let go of the lead from that point forward.
Emileigh Scott and Taylor Addison cut the deficit to two with five minutes remaining in the game, but Long Reach answered with four consecutive trips to the foul line, where it made 6 of 8 in that stretch. Overall the Lightning made a productive 17 of 24 (71 percent) from the line in the game.
The Lions trailed by eight points with 2:30 remaining, but Sam Lewis and Jenny Kinsey got Howard within four with 41.1 seconds left. However, the Lions could not get another basket to go in their final few possessions to complete the rally.
“I thought that we give them too many second shots,” Robinson said. “I thought we tried to block shots instead of playing just good defense and trying to box them out. I thought we bailed them out three times [in the fourth quarter] where we tried to block it with the shot clock running down. The difference from the first game and the last game too, we made a conscious [effort] of getting it inside. This game when we got it inside the shots just didn’t fall and then I thought we got too impatient launching threes.”
It was another great defensive performance for Long Reach. It held Howard to just 37 percent shooting from the floor and forced 17 turnovers, while for the second time this season, kept the Lions to their lowest scoring total of the year.
“We kind of took that a little bit out of their book,” Cofield said. “They do such a good job of being in help, and we like to pressure the ball but we also wanted to concentrate on our help, which I think they really followed the game plan.”
The loss also kept Howard from clinching its second-straight county title, but it will have the opportunity again Friday on the road against the Eagles.
“We’ve had a great run,” Robinson said. “It’s hard. We haven’t been in this [situation], so I am excited to see how we bounce back at practice tomorrow, and I am excited to see how we bounce back against a very good Centennial team.”
Addison scored a team-high 12 points, while Kinsey and Lewis followed with nine points each.
Williams recorded a game-high 22, with Swann and Arianna Briggs-Hall following with 11 and seven points, respectively.
“We’re young, so I am excited about our future [and] I am excited about our present,” Cofield said. “Especially to be able to get this kind of game heading in to playoffs, this was exciting. That was a good game and I’m happy for them, especially for our seniors. You want this to be a big game and it [lived] up to the hype.”
Long Reach will end its regular season with another tough matchup on the road against Atholton on Friday at 7 p.m.
“It gives us a lot of confidence,” added Williams. “We are really hoping to get up to states this year at Towson. So we feel really good about this win and it helps push us towards playoffs.”
Long Reach 54, Howard 47
LR (8-2, 17-4): K. Williams 22, L. Swann 11, Briggs-Hall 7, J. Swann 6, Thompson 5, D. Williams 3.
Ho (9-1, 19-1): Addison 12, Kinsey 9, Lewis 9, Furr 8, Scott 7, Sagi 2.
Half: 26-21, Long Reach.
Around the league:
Reservoir 39, Centennial 28
The Gators bounced back from a tough home loss against Damascus Monday and defeated the visiting Eagles on senior night.
Reservoir was far from 100 percent, as the flu had gotten to half of its roster including coach Deb Taylor.
Taylor was on the sideline on Wednesday, but she was without starting senior guard Haley Tiller and senior forward Greta Schuster who missed the game because of illness. But the Gators, who had just eight players suited up for the game, grinded through and earned their 10th win of the season.
Centennial, which also battled through both sickness and injuries in the game, was coming off a huge upset win over Long Reach on Monday. However, it couldn’t put together enough offense to tally its second-consecutive win.
Reservoir held the slight one-point advantage after the first quarter, and entered the break with a 17-13 lead.
Nia Powell led the Gators in the third, as she registered eight of her 13 points in the period to help her team extend their cushion to 12 heading into the final eight minutes.
The Eagles limited Reservoir to just two made shots in the fourth, but couldn’t hit enough shots down the stretch themselves to pull out the victory.
Ashley Molz led the Eagles with 10 points, as she scored eight of her 10 in the second half. Jasmine McCree followed with nine points, while Chandler Worthy chipped in with five.
Emily Dorn and Powell led the Gators offensively, as they both finished with 13 points. Dorn also recorded 13 rebounds and two assists, while Powell added seven boards. Senior guard Kayla Wilson finished with 11 points, two assists and one steal on the night, while fellow senior Cassidy Pham added three assists and had a solid night defensively, stepping in for Tiller.
Jenni Fourney added great minutes off the bench for Taylor’s group, as she chipped in with two points, four rebounds and two assists.
“Nice way to celebrate our six senior players with a win to guarantee home court advantage in the first round of playoffs, so we will [also] be able to celebrate Haley and Greta’s careers,” Taylor added.
Reservoir and Centennial end its regular seasons Friday, with the Gators visiting Mt. Hebron and the Eagles taking on Howard at home. Both games are set for 7 p.m.
Re (8-2, 10-11): Dorn 13, Powell 13, Wilson 11, Fourney 2.
C (5-5, 10-10): Molz 10, McCree 9, Worthy 5, Welsh 2, Eichhorn 2.
Half: 17-13, Reservoir.
Glenelg 48, Wilde Lake 35
The visiting Wildecats gave the Gladiators a battle through the first half Wednesday, but ultimately Glenelg pulled away in the following 16 minutes and notched its fourth-straight win.
Wilde Lake jumped out to take an early 13-9 advantage after the first quarter thanks to Kiarra Lewis-Turnbo and Kalani Corkeron, who totaled 12 of the Wildecats 13 points in the period.
The Gladiators stepped up defensively in the following eight minutes and held Wilde Lake without a basket. Senior Grace Butera led the Gladiators in the second, as she scored all of eight of her team’s second-quarter points, which helped Glenelg get in front, 17-16 at the break.
The Gladiators took over in the second half, as junior guard Jess Foster and senior forward Julia Wolfrey stepped up to combine for 20 points in the third, which aided their 22-point cushion entering the fourth quarter.
Glenelg saw solid minutes from most of its bench in the final period, while the Wildecats battled back with 13 points in the quarter to close the gap.
Butera finished with 12 points, four rebounds, three steals and two assists, while Wolfrey ended with 11 points, six rebounds, two steals and two assists.
Foster led all scorers with 17 points, while Kellie Johnson added four points, seven rebounds and five assists.
The Gladiators and Wildecats end their regular seasons at home Friday, with Glenelg taking on River Hill and Wilde Lake hosting Hammond. Both games are slated for 7 p.m.
G (4-6, 14-7): Foster 17, Butera 12, Wolfrey 11, Johnson 4, Gillespie 1.
WL (0-10, 3-18): Lewis-Turnbo 11, Corkeron 10, King 4, Lee 3, Kostelec 2, Service 2, Perry 1.
Half: 17-16, Glenelg.
Marriotts Ridge 63, Hammond 35
The Mustangs went on the road and defeated the Golden Bears Wednesday night to clinch their 15th win of the season.
Despite being without starter and one of its leading scorers in Caroline Blalock (illness), Marriotts Ridge still rolled to the double-digit win as it had solid contributions from everyone on its roster and tallied its most impressive team victory of the season.
Sarah Blalock led the Mustangs with 22 points on 5 of 12 shooting from the field, and also added three rebounds and three steals. Meanwhile senior Caitlin Ohnmacht had one of her best games of her career, as she finished with a career-high 11 points on 5 of 8 shooting, and added seven rebounds — four on the offensive glass — two assists and five steals.
Hope Morath finished with a double-double on the night for Marriotts Ridge, recording 10 points and 12 rebounds — eight of which on the offensive glass, while Hannah Bergquist gave the Mustangs great minutes off the bench, as she ended with eight points, eight rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Hammond and Marriotts Ridge finish its regular season play Friday, with the Mustangs hosting Oakland Mills and the Golden Bears visiting Wilde Lake. Both games are set for a 7 p.m. tip.
MR (6-4, 15-6): S. Blalock 22, Ohnmacht 11, H. Morath 10, Bergquist 8, Conroy 6, Bryan 3, Quinn 3.
Ha (1-9, 4-16)
Atholton 54, Mt. Hebron 49
A (8-2, 14-5)
MH (7-3, 12-9)
River Hill 31, Oakland Mills 29
RH (3-8, 6-14)
OM (1-9, 9-12)