There are very few things Hereford senior guard Reese Harden can’t do on the basketball court.
When she made her fifth three-pointer of the night to put the Bulls (12-4) up 46-35 with 5:07 remaining in the game on Feb. 12 against host Western Tech (15-3), it looked like she was destined to be the player of the game.
But Harden, who averages 20 points a contest, and leads the team in assists, barely touched the ball the rest of the way and the Wolverines closed with a miraculous 17-0 run to pull out a 52-46 victory.
Sydney Stokes gave the Wolverines their first lead, 48-46, with a layup, after an assist by Tiffany Manning (15 points, 5 assists) with 2:45 left in the fourth quarter.
A putback by Dyani Mattar with 1:34 left made it 50-46 and Manning’s two free throws with 11 seconds left capped the scoring.
Destini Ward had a key blocked shot that led to her conventional three-point play at the other end, after another assist by Manning, that pulled the Wolverines within two, 46-44, with 3:52 left in the game.
A short jumper by Maya Britton tied the game with 3:23 remaining.
Ward, a sophomore, finished with a team-high 20 points to go along with seven rebounds, four steals and three assists.
“We had to dig deep down to pull this out, we lost last year and we knew we couldn’t lose again this year, we are on a streak, we needed to do this for our seniors, so I was like, ‘I just got to give everything I have to get us ahead,’” Ward said.
Ward made three three-pointers in the game, despite her coach’s desire for her to penetrate.
“She is having a nice season for us, I mean she has a lot of pressure on her,” Fitzkee said.
For over three quarters, Harden’s teammates helped alleviate that pressure by holding Manning in check.
She is Western Tech’s all-time leading scorer with well over 1,000 points.
“There were times when our defense was effective and other times when we just went to sleep,” Fitzkee said. “I thought we did a nice job on the boards defensively in the first half and in the second half, not so much.”
They also couldn’t contain Ward.
“She’s a nice player, she rebounds well and she moves well without the ball,” Fitzkee said.
Western Tech will get a rematch from last season when they play Pikesville in the Baltimore County championship game at SECU Arena on Feb. 25 and Ward is looking forward to it.
“After losing last year, we have to give it everything that we have in order to get where we want to win a county championship,” Ward said.
Western Tech 52
Destini Ward 20, Tiffany Manning 15, Sydney Stokes 7, Dyani Mattar 6, Troi Williams 2, Maya Britton 2.