Having won five straight games by double figures, winning those contests by an average of 29 points, Oakland Mills found itself in a completely different spot Tuesday night against Centennial.
The Scorpions were in foul trouble from the start, trailed almost the entire second quarter and never once led by more than nine points. Yet, in crunch time, the last undefeated team in Howard County this winter handled the adversity with poise and confidence.
Daniel Kiely led the way with a team-high 18 points, all but three coming in the second half, and Oakland Mills closed the game on a 7-1 run to pull away for a 66-57 victory on the road.
“We definitely needed to face some adversity, especially because this was the first time all year that most of the starting five was in foul trouble,” Kiely said. “Players had to come off the bench and show up and they did to keep the game close. We just faced a lot of adversity and handled it well.”
Oakland Mills coach Jon Browne agreed that a test is exactly what the Scorpions (14-1 overall, 12-0 in Howard County) needed at this point in the year.
“This rivalry with Centennial has been entrenched for several years now and it’s fun. You know you are always going to get a battle against those guys,” Browne said. “We need tests like this along the way. These are the games that help you get that playoff presence and you see what guys have in them when they have to step up and make plays. We grew as a basketball team tonight and that’s great.”
After Centennial (10-5, 8-4) had played the Scorpions to a one-possession game earlier this season, dropping a 59-56 decision, it was no surprise to see the Eagles come out firing this time around. Tom Brown, who finished with a game-high 25 points to go with 11 rebounds, got going early with 10 points in the first quarter.
By the end of the period, the game was knotted at 15. The problem for Oakland Mills was that Kiely and Naquan Williams-Day (11 points) were each already saddled with two fouls apiece.
With that duo on the bench, Centennial surged to its largest lead of the night, 27-22, following a jumper by Brown with 1:26 left in the second quarter.
“There were similarities to that first game, but it was also very different in that we never dug ourselves into a hole like we did by being down 10 at the half last time,” Centennial coach Chad Hollwedel said. “I actually thought we held them in a point range all night that we really like, especially against a team as explosive as they are. I felt like we really should have been up more in that first half.”
But instead of taking a lead into intermission, Centennial found itself in a tie game once again following five straight Oakland Mills points in the final 75 seconds to knot the score at 27.
Then, in the third quarter, Williams-Day and Kiely got back on the floor together and began taking over. The two combined for 16 of the Scorpions’ 22 points in the period to stake their team to a 51-48 lead.
“I definitely needed to pick it up a lot, so did Naquan … and we did,” Kiely said. “Coach Browne gave us some advice on offense because we kept getting offensive fouls. … We started shooting more pull-ups and that started to work real well. We stayed aggressive and stayed unselfish, too.”
Centennial hung close the entire final period, getting within one following a layup by Kaleb Addisu (15 points) with 6:08 left. Later, after falling behind by seven points, the Eagles closed the gap to three again on a 3-pointer by Brown with 2:41 remaining.
Ultimately, Oakland Mills simply was just a little too much.
Kiely and Tre Hopkins (16 points) combined to make enough foul shots down the stretch to extend things and Jordan Campbell put an exclamation point on the victory with a fast-break layup in the closing seconds.
“It was toe to toe, back and forth, but we just could not get over that hump. Every time we cut it to one or two, we had trouble converting or gave up a basket on the other end,” Hollwedel said. “We had a lot of chances, good looks out of offensive sets, but just didn’t finish the way I know we are capable.”
Oakland Mills 66, Centennial 57
OM (12-0, 14-1): Kiely 18, T. Hopkins 16, Williams-Day 11, Campbell 5, Harris 4, McFadden 4, Smith 4, Aaron 2, J. Hopkins 2.
C (8-4, 10-5): Brown 25, Addisu 15, Hohmann 5, White 5, Smith 4, Fowler 3.
Reservoir 62, Wilde Lake 55
The Gators used a huge first quarter, jumping out to a 20-7 lead, to carry themselves the rest of the way to the victory. Judge Payne (13 points), Matt Winters (12) and Kevin Miller (12) all scored in double figures in the Reservoir victory.
Re (6-7, 7-9): Payne 13, Miller 12, Winters 12, Phillips 7, Weith 5, J. Garcia 5, Ricketts 4, Archampong 2, Omorgbe 2.
WL (2-10, 2-13): Cantwell 13, Stubblefield 12, Boateng 10, Ichrist 7, David 4, Robinson 4, Samuels 3, Barnes 2.
Half: 28-25 Re.
Glenelg 41, River Hill 39 2OT
G (6-6, 7-7): Powell 9, Winn 9, Piwowarski 8, Walsh 7, Currie 3, Mills 2, Coburn 2, Koele 1.
RH (2-10, 3-12): Mitchell 15, Martin 8, Krause 5, Robinson 5, Hraky 4, Ndiritu 1, Daniels 1.
Half: 18-11 RH; End of Regulation: 33-33.
Long Reach 66, Marriotts Ridge 60
Tre Morgan flirted with a triple double, finishing with 20 points, 12 rebounds and 7 steals, to help lead the way for the Lightning in the team’s fourth straight win. Andre Brodnax chipped in with 18 points, while Ryan Menusan pulled down 10 rebounds.
LR (7-6, 8-8): Morgan 20, Brodnax 18, Chad Brown 6, Chan Brown 3, Dix 9, Menusan 6, Parham 4.
MR (2-10, 3-12): Heard 17, Wright 15, Talentino 14, Morath 6, Lunsford 4, C. Ingersoll 3,Whitacre 1.
Half: 30-28 LR.
Howard 62, Mt. Hebron 55
Ho (8-4, 11-4): Shuart 20, Greene 18, O’Malley 9, Dawkins 8, Scaife 7.
MH (5-7, 8-7): Schroeder 17, Linsenmeyer 16, Horton 8, Madden 5, Prox 5,
Bates 2, Dickerson 2.
Hammond 59, Atholton 48
Ha (10-2, 12-2): Lamar 21, Willis 16, Johnson 9, Doles 6, Ridgell 6, Gordon 2, Aja 1.
A (5-7, 8-7): Mendelsohn 15, Myers 10, Mason 10, Waterworth 5, Washington 4, James 4.