It only takes a few minutes for things to unravel.
Winters Mill’s boys basketball team found that out Tuesday night in its home game against Howard, when a three-point halftime deficit turned into something much more in less than one quarter of play.
The Lions doubled up their Carroll County foe in the third and scored 30 points en route to an 82-55 victory, leaving the Falcons flummoxed once more.
“I don’t know, its just like … the team, we fail to get together,” said forward Alan Jean Joseph, who led WM with 21 points. “On defense we’ll have a couple mishaps, like someone doesn’t know who’s who [on the other team]. Things get lazy, I think that hurts us a lot.”
Howard (4-8) got 23 points from Justin Hendricks, 22 from Christian Rodgers, and 18 from Darrian Harris — Hendricks had 10 in the third quarter and knocked down a pair of 3-pointers, while Harris netted six points in the quarter to help turn things around in a hurry.
Jean Joseph scored 10 of his 21 in the third, but Winters Mill (2-11) fell too far behind to post a victory.
The Falcons were even after one quarter, 19-19, and trailed 34-31 at the break, which gave coach Devon Lesniak and his players hope for success. Lesniak’s message to the Falcons during a full timeout stoppage in the middle of Howard’s third-quarter surge was anything but positive.
“I’m pretty frustrated,” Lesniak said. “We’ve put together a lot of good first halves. That’s what we were saying on the bench. Maybe we should just go out there and run drills during halftime and not go back in the locker room. I don’t know what it is.”
Winters Mill committed nine turnovers in the third quarter that led to 11 points for Howard, which led 64-46 at the end of the period. The Falcons then went more than 4 minutes in the fourth without a point.
Meanwhile, the Lions didn’t stop — Hendricks drained a 3 on their first possession of the quarter, and Rodgers added one midway through the fourth to make it 77-48. Howard coach Seth Willingham enjoyed the luxury of using his reserves at will in the final quarter.
“It helps when you make shots,” Willingham said. “We’ve done that in the past for spurts, but not consistently for a whole game. Being a little bit on the smaller side, we don’t get a lot of offensive rebounds. So we have to shoot the ball really well for most of the game to have a chance.”
Chandler Gentzel, a junior guard, scored 17 for Winters Mill, and senior Avery Serafin finished with seven. The Falcons went 11 for 16 from the free-throw line, while Howard finished 14-for-20.
Hendricks and Rodgers combined for eight-pointers, however, which made a difference for the Lions.
“Our intensity in the third quarter, our press … I thought we were a little bit more athletic, so were able to get up on them,” Willingham said.
Winters Mill has a week to prepare for its next challenge, a home game against Carroll County Athletic League foe South Carroll. Two days later, reigning county champion Liberty (11-0) comes to Westminster.
Jean Joseph said the Falcons have enough talent to compete with their CCAL counterparts. Lesniak hopes his sophomore is onto something.
“We just have those lulls in the beginning of the third quarter that just kill us,” the coach said. “It’s just things like that that take you out of the game. That’s what is frustrating … we made strides in December. I think it’s a lack of focus, and the other team switches something up. Yeah, definitely frustrating.”
Howard (82): Gabe Williams 5, Justin Hendricks 23, Aidan O’Connor 7, Darrian Harris 18, Will Drnach 2, Justin Kramer 3, Kyle Colbert 2, Christian Rodgers 22.
Winters Mill (55): Chandler Gentzel 17, Johnny Bobnar 5, Alan Jean Joseph 21, Khy Torian 2, Avery Serafin 7, Riley Adkins 3.
Halftime: Howard, 34-31.