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Tori Valentine’s ‘physicality’ paces Mt. Hebron girls basketball team to 49-34 win over Oakland Mills

Tori Valentine drove to the basket in the third quarter of Mt. Hebron’s girls basketball game at Oakland Mills.

It was one of 18 times Valentine drove to the hoop — and one of 10 layups she made — in the Vikings’ 49-34 win over the Scorpions on Friday night.

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An Oakland Mills assistant coach then yelled at his defense.

“Take a charge,” the coach screamed. “She’s playing football out there.”

“I didn’t hear that, but that’s creative,” Valentine said with a laugh. “I’m used to playing with boys. I embrace the physicality of the game.”

Valentine utilized her lethal combination of acceleration, speed and strength to score 29 points and lead Mt. Hebron to a 49-34 win over host Oakland Mills. The senior point guard is the daughter of a father (Craig Valentine) who played in college at Towson and the sister of a brother (Ace Valentine) who is a freshman basketball player at Mount St. Joseph’s.

“I love playing against my brother,” Valentine said. “It always gets competitive. At my training, I compete a lot against boys.”

Oakland Mills head coach Walt Hagins said Valentine is a “tremendous player” who is difficult to guard. Valentine was 12 of 23 from the floor, made the lone 3-pointer she attempted and added four points from the free-throw line.

“What we tried to do was keep her in front of us and then have help defense,” Hagins said. “We wanted to get the ball out of her hand, but they’re skilled at making sure she gets the basketball.”

Valentine, who is averaging 20.8 points per game, also grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out five assists in the win. Even though Valentine plays the guard position, she rebounds like a forward and often defends the opposing team’s best player. Mt. Hebron head coach Tierney Ahearn is one of the best rebounders in Howard County.

“What you see on the court is still only half of her," Ahearn said. "She’s a phenomenal passer and rebounder. What she does for the rest of these kids is what’s most impressive to me.”

While Valentine’s scoring was a constant throughout the game at Oakland Mills (4-4 Howard County, 8-5), it was her supporting cast the started the game hot. Erin Dixon, Emma Hollis and Ashley Unkenholz all made baskets in the first period to build an early 21-11 lead midway through the second quarter.

“It was great to see, especially considering we’ve been working so hard in practice,” Valentine said. “I’m really proud of Emma, Danielle (Bodziak), Erin and Ashley.”

The Scorpions then ended the half on a 9-2 run to trail by only three points at halftime. Mt. Hebron (5-3, 7-6) then held Oakland Mills to 14 points in the second half.

The Vikings defense also held seniors Jazmine Washington and Jaidyn Harris — the Scorpions’ two best players who average a combined 37 points per game — to 26 points.

“We didn’t play our game, and their defense stifled us to the point that we couldn’t make an adjustment,” Hagins said. “They had a good game plan.”

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Valentine said Ahearn’s defensive scheme to defend the Scorpions’ two-headed attack was “genius.”

“When she introduced it at the beginning of the week, we were kind of skeptical,” Valentine said. “But we kept executing it, and I’m really happy it worked out.”

Both teams have extended layoffs before their next games. Oakland Mills hosts Wilde Lake Friday, while Mt. Hebron plays Atholton at home on Wednesday, Jan. 29.

“We’re disappointed, but we’re not in the dumps,” Hagins said. “We have another game next week, and we have good time to get practice in and regroup.”

BOX SCORE:

Mt. Hebron 49, Oakland Mills 34

OM (4-4, 8-5): J. Washington 18, J. Harris 8, T. McDuffie 5, D. Chisholm 2, K. Browne 1.

MH (5-3, 7-6): T. Valentine 29, A. Unkenholz 9, E. Dixon 4, D. Bodziak 3, E. Hollis 2, A. Harrington 2.

OTHER SCORES:

Atholton 51, Marriotts Ridge 38

The Raiders dominated the boards to upset the Mustangs. Atholton executed its 2-3 zone in the fourth quarter to hold the Mustangs to two points in the final eight minutes. Laila Cowsette led all players with 18 points, while Emma Morath paced the Mustangs with 12. Marriotts Ridge led 36-34 after three quarters, but the Raiders outscored the Mustangs 17-2 in the final period. Eleven of Atholton’s fourth-quarter points came at the free-throw line.

Box score:

MR (4-4, 9-5): E. Morath 12, E. Miller 6, C. Crawford 6, K. Bryan 5, M. Lee 3, C. Meininger 3, N. Held 2, K. Lee 1.

A (3-5, 4-8): L. Cowsette 18, T. Kidd 9, M. Hargrett 8, N. Blair 5, K. Brown 4, S. Mims 2, E. Morton 2, M. McCabe 2, A. Barker 1.

Halftime: 20-18, A

Reservoir 50, Wilde Lake 43

Despite trailing for almost all of the first 30 minutes of the game, the Gators came back to defeat the scrappy Wildecats. Wilde Lake led by three points with about three minutes left, but Tiffany Hooker, who led the Gators with 16 points, scored nine points from the charity stripe in the final period. Freshman Laiya Hardie scored a career-high 13 points, including three 3-pointers, and Reservoir’s press defense in the second half stymied the Wildecats offense. Wilde Lake senior Kalani Corkeron led all scorers with 19 points, while sophomore Mia Swaby-Rowe chipped in with 16.

Box score:

Re (5-3, 9-4): T. Hooker 16, L. Hardie 13, K. Abunassar 9, M. Davis 8, K. Holmes 2, L. Dudzinski 2.

WL (3-4, 4-6): K. Corkeron 19, M. Swaby-Rowe 16, L. Richards 6, B. Floyd 2.

Halftime: 28-21, WL

Howard 63, Centennial 29

The Lions sped out to a 23-8 lead after the first quarter to win the county contest. Anii Harris led Howard with 18 points, including one made 3-pointer. Samiyah Nasir, Gabby Scott and Camille Malagar all chipped in with 10 points. Malagar sealed the victory with seven points in the final period.

Box score:

Ho (8-0, 14-0): A. Harris 18, S. Nasir 10, G. Scott 10, C. Malagar 10, E. Durkee 6, M. Sanchez-Henry 5, M. Coleman 2, K. McDuffie 2.

C (4-4, 5-7): T. Pearson 14, B. Anderson 4, S. Sopchick 3, L. Pellegrini 2, C. LasCasas 2, O. Reese 2, G. Castle-Smith 2.

Halftime: 36-16, Ho

River Hill 55, Long Reach 16

Three different Hawks players scored in double digits in the team’s 39-point win over Long Reach. Senior Saniha Jackson led all players with 16 points, while sophomore Caroline Duffy and Kennedy Clark chipped in with 13 and 10 points, respectively. The 13-point performance is a career high for Duffy, who is the Hawks’ second best post player behind Jackson.

Box score:

RH (9-0, 12-3): S. Jackson 16, C. Duffy 13, K. Clark 10, K. Moore 7, A. Smith 4, K. Heitzmann 2, A. Thompson 2, A. McCullough 1.

LR (0-8, 0-12): T. Whittle 5, A. Nagle 4, J. Putman 3, J. Okiji 2, R. Baldwin 2.

Halftime: 29-10, RH

Glenelg Country 65, Annapolis Christian 36

Four different Dragons scored in double figures in the IAAM B Conference victory. Caroline Haynes, Blair Byrne, Ashlyn Bender and Neve O’Ferrall scored 13, 12, 12 and 11, respectively. GCS scored 20-plus points in each of the final two quarters to extend its lead in the final 16 minutes. Bender hit two 3-pointers in the first quarter; Haynes nailed two 3s in the third period, and O’Ferrall made two 3s of her own in the final period.

Box score:

GCS (5-2 IAAM B, 10-7): C. Haynes 13, B. Byrne 12, A. Bender 12, N. O’Ferrall 11, C. Lisk 6, R. Byrne 4, A. Regan 3, A. Keenan 2, L. Doreen 2.

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Halftime: 24-11, GCS

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