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Fourth-quarter run puts Marriotts Ridge girls basketball past Manchester Valley

The Marriotts Ridge girls basketball team led for nearly the entire game at Manchester Valley on Thursday night.

The Mustangs took a 39-31 lead into the fourth quarter, but the Mavericks scored six unanswered points to trail by only two — their smallest deficit since the first period. The Mavs had the momentum, but the Mustangs stayed calm and went on a 13-0 run to win the road contest, 54-42, over the Holiday Tournament host.

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“That was so good to see,” said Marriotts Ridge head coach Sarah Miller. “We were poised after the timeout and we were able to reverse ourselves out of that. We locked down on the defensive end and didn’t allow them to make easy buckets at the end of the game."

Emma Morath, who tied for the team lead with 12 points, said experience has helped in key moments late in games. Two of Marriotts Ridge’s first three victories were close triumphs over Carroll County opponents (Liberty and South Carroll).

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“I think we’ve learned this throughout the season," Morath said. "We’ve learned to calm down and not let things get out of control.”

While neither team was efficient from the floor, the game wasn’t sloppy. The two teams combined for only 16 turnovers, and bad shot selection was rare. The Mustangs sped out to a 13-7 lead and ended the first period up 18-13. Mavs coach Heather DeWees said Marriotts Ridge’s height caused issues for her team. She said the Mustangs were the tallest team her squad had played against all season.

“They had a huge height difference,” DeWees said. “We don’t play against height like that. That’s the first time we played against a team that had that type of length, not just at the post position but at the guard position too. When they went inside, we got into some foul issues and some mismatches. We didn’t want to allow them to get inside, but they were able to get some good looks and rebounds inside.”

One of several tall players for Marriotts Ridge, Morath said the height advantage plays a key role both offensively and defensively for the Mustangs.

“Our height helps a lot, especially getting around their defense,” Morath said. “It helps in the post to get over their defense for layups and for passing to not turn the ball over.”

Morath, a senior forward, is the Mustangs’ leading scorer this season with 10.6 points per game. She had a minor injury earlier this season and missed Marriotts Ridge’s lone county loss — a 48-26 defeat against River Hill. After the loss to River Hill, Miller said Morath is a “big piece" of the team, and she proved that Thursday. Her post presence led the layups for herself and open space for her teammates.

“She’s our offensive presence in the post,” Miller said. “She’s athletic and fits well in our offense. She knows how to get open and she was finishing well early in the game today.”

Both defenses were stout in the second period, with Marriotts Ridge taking a 25-20 lead into halftime. After Manchester Valley nearly tied the game in the third quarter, the Mustangs’ 13-0 run including scoring from six different players, but none bigger than the 3-pointer from Kendall Bryan. As the Mustangs’ top 3-point shooter, Bryan knocked down three from distance in the win.

“(Her shooting) is really great,” Miller said. “She’s always ready to shoot, and we always tell her to take those open shots. Her confidence is up this season, and it’s great to see her knocking them down.”

So far this season in Howard County, several teams are relying on high-level scoring from one player to lead the team, as multiple squads sport players averaging 20-plus points per game. Marriotts Ridge, however, has four players scoring between 6-11 points per game (Morath, Emma Miller, Bryan and Morgan Lee).

“It’s definitely nice to have depth,” Morath said. “We have plays that allow everyone to be able to score and get everyone involved.”

Despite the loss, DeWees was pleased with how senior Amelia Saunders played. The guard led all scorers with 17 points and hit a few important shots to bring the Mavs back into the game.

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“She’s an instrumental part of our team,” DeWees said. “Our offense runs through her, but we want to be able to share the basketball. We need to make sure other teams can’t just focus on one player.”

Marriotts Ridge concludes the Holiday Tournament against Notre Dame Prep at Manchester Valley High School. Tip for the game on Friday is 7 p.m.

BOX SCORE:

Marriotts Ridge 54, Manchester Valley 42

MR (2-1, 6-2): E. Morath 12, M. Lee 12, E. Miller 11, K. Bryan 9, K. Lee 4, N. Held 3, C. Crawford 2.

MV: A. Saunders 17, J. Shaffer 10, C. Meredith 4, G. Warner 4, K. Johnson 2, R. Breeding 2, T. Boswell 2, C. Bowman 1.

OTHER SCORES:

Howard 53, Catholic 23

Howard’s defense was dominant in the home victory. After entering halftime up 30-17, the Lions allowed only six points in the second half. Marisa Sanchez-Henry led all players with 13 points, while Camille Malagar scored a season-high 10 points, six of which came from behind the arc. The Lions will play in the championship of their own Holiday Tournament on Friday at 7 p.m. against South River.

Ho (3-0, 7-0): M. Sanchez-Henry 13, G. Scott 10, C. Malagar 10, A. Harris 9, S. Nasir 7, K. Sabitini 2, K. Schluederberg 2.

C: Ligett 12, Grobeleski 5, Brandy 2, James 2, Myndy 2.

Halftime: 30-17, Ho

Blair 62, Wilde Lake 30

The Wildecats dropped their second game of the season in the opening night of the Quince Orchard Holiday Tournament. Brianna Floyd led the team with 10 points, while Kalani Corkeron chipped in with nine and Claire Zimmeman with eight.

WL (2-0, 3-2): B. Floyd 10, K. Corkeron 9, C. Zimmerman 8, N. Brown 3,

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