With its lead shrinking in a hostile road environment against Atholton on Monday, Oakland Mills went back to its roots.
By increasing the defensive pressure and working for a mix of midrange jumpers and layups, the No. 8 Scorpions regrouped to finish like the defending county champions that they are.
A 10-1 run midway through the fourth quarter helped Oakland Mills break open a four-point game and create the separation needed to earn a 78-71 victory. The win keeps the Scorpions (9-0, 11-1) undefeated in Howard County play and gives them a two-game lead in the loss column over second-place Atholton (9-2, 10-3) and River Hill (9-2, 9-4).
"It's a testament to their spirit and their toughness because no matter what the situation is, these kids never give up and always find a way," said Oakland Mills coach Jon Browne, whose team has won 28 consecutive league games dating to last season. "Most of these guys have been there and know what it takes. They took the run, they took the punches, and they regrouped to come out on top."
Oakland Mills ended up getting standout efforts from Deshawn Willis (22 points) and Mamadou Ndiaye (21 points and 12 rebounds) on an evening in which five Scorpions scored eight or more points.
Michael Bernetti paced the Raiders with 20 points.
No. 11 Randallstown 96, Overlea 66: Jerell Cooke was the game's leading scorer with 22 points as the host Rams (8-2) beat the Falcons in Baltimore County league play. Devin Smith and Anthony Granger each scored 16 and Jeremy Robinson added 12 for Randallstown.
Mervo 76, Southwestern 33: Larry Webb led all scorers with 26 points as the visiting Mustangs beat the Sabres in Baltimore City league action. Demetrich Williams had 16 points and Tyree Dowery added 14 for Mervo, which led at the half 36-14.
No. 8 Howard 41, Long Reach 29: The Lions beat the host Lightning behind Sydney Biniak's 13 points and remain undefeated at 12-0.
Sun staff contributed to this article.