Reservoir wouldn’t give in early in the third quarter.
The Howard girls basketball team led by 13 points at halftime on Tuesday, but the host Gators went on a 13-3 run to open the second half to go down by only three points.
With two minutes remaining in the period, though, Howard’s Gabby Scott put the Lions on her shoulders. She led Howard on a 12-0 run, during which the sophomore forward made three layups and assisted another basket, to propel the undefeated Lions to a 55-35 win over Reservoir.
“We definitely knew coming in that this would be a tough game,” Scott said. “I knew I had to step it up. We played really well today, and I am really proud of our team.”
Scott ended the game with 16 points on 7-of-18 shooting and seven rebounds.
“I thought she did a great job on the boards,” said Howard head coach Scott Robinson. “She had a great inside presence. She played well tonight.”
The victory virtually clinches the Howard County championship for Howard (13-0 Howard County, 19-0 overall). After the Lions defeated River Hill on Jan. 31, the Lions were alone in first place in the county standings. While that win put them in prime position to hoist the trophy at the end of the regular season, the Lions still had tough games against Oakland Mills, Marriotts Ridge and Reservoir to follow. They won them all, and all that’s left now are games against Long Reach, Hammond and Wilde Lake — three teams with below-.500 records. The Lions defeated Long Reach and Hammond by 37 and 49 points, respectively, while they haven’t yet played Wilde Lake, which only has wins over the four teams below it in the standings.
“This is what we’ve worked hard for all season, and we really want to finish it out,” Scott said.
“Two of those games were on the road, too,” Robinson said, referencing the stretch of games after the River Hill triumph. “Three good teams there, and it was good to see the girls pull through there. It’s all a credit to the girls and my coaching staff for getting the girls ready.”
The game was much different the first time Howard and Reservoir played this season. The Lions pulled out a 68-63 home win, but Gators star Tiffany Hooker, who is now averaging 26.9 points per game, scored 36 points.
Robinson’s defensive game plan was clear on Tuesday — do anything to stop Hooker.
The Lions held her to a season-low six points on 2-of-10 shooting. They face-guarded her and then double- and triple-teamed her when she dribbled toward the basket.
“It was basically a Tiffany Hooker defense,” Robinson said. “… We’ve used it before against teams that have a dynamic player. Camille (Malagar) and Samiyah (Nasir) and even Kelly Schluederberg did a phenomenal job on her, and I thought our help was good. We picked her up at the volleyball line, and everywhere she went, we had two people there ready to help.”
The amount of shot attempts Hooker took was likely a season-low for Hooker, and Reservoir head coach Deb Taylor said her senior guard struggled early with the amount of pressure Howard was putting on her.
“It was a much different defense than last time,” Taylor said. “This time, they played a trapping zone and face guarded her very aggressively. She lit them up for 36 (points) last time, but today when she came off a ball screen, there was a second and third defender there waiting for her, and she honestly got frustrated. She’s seen pressure, but not that kind of pressure.”
Howard opened the game at Reservoir (9-4, 13-6) on a 12-0 run and led 12-4 at the end of the first period. Freshman Samiyah Nasir, who guarded Hooker when Nasir was in the game, then made two straight 3-pointers in the second quarter to give Howard a large lead.
“She has one of the best strokes on the team," Robinson said. "She has great shooting form. If she has an open look, we want her to take it.”
The Lions went into halftime up 27-14, but Kate Abunassar led the Gators back to trail by only three points. Abunassar made three straight 3-pointers during the third quarter while Hooker was on the bench.
“Kate played fabulously,” Robinson said. “She didn’t miss in warm-ups. She’s a good player, and she has a nice stroke.”
Abunassar ended the game with a team-high 11 points – the first game this season Hooker hasn’t led the Gators in points.
“I thought she played like the leader and captain that she is,” Taylor said. “She was fearless.”
Scott then made three straight layups late in the period, and ended the quarter with a steal on defense and an assist to Marisa Sanchez-Henry in transition. The play displayed Scott’s rare athleticism for a post player.
“That was a great pass,” Robinson said. “That was very unselfish. She’s a good athlete. She can run the floor.”
The Lions extended their lead in the fourth quarter before putting their backups in for the final few minutes.
Both teams are back in action later this week. Reservoir hosts Marriotts Ridge on Thursday, while Howard plays at home against Long Reach on Saturday.
Howard 55, Reservoir 35
Ho (13-0, 19-0): G. Scott 16, S. Nasir 10, C. Malagar 9, A. Harris 8, M. Sanchez-Henry 7, G. Kennerly 4, K. Denicola 1.
Re (9-4, 13-6): K. Abunassar 11, D. Moultrie 10, T. Hooker 6, L. Hardie 4, A. Pressley 2, K. Holmes 2.
Halftime: 27-14, Ho
Maryvale Prep 58, Glenelg Country 42
Centennial 47, Wilde Lake 37
Playing without Rasa Welsh, the Eagles earned a 10-point win over Wilde Lake. The victory is Centennial’s sixth in seven games. Tori Pearson led the Eagles with 16 points, while Brook Anderson chipped in with 10 points. Kalani Corkeron, who is averaging 14.1 points per game for Wilde Lake, has scored 20-plus points in three of the last four games.
C (8-5, 11-8): T. Pearson 16, B. Anderson 10, O. Reese 7, L. Pellegrini 5, O. Jackson 5, C. LasCasas 2, A. Urquiaga 2.
WL (5-8, 7-10): K. Corkeron 21, L. Richards 9, M. Swaby-Rowe 4, N. Brown 3.
Halftime: 24-22, C
Oakland Mills 70, Long Reach 24
With Jaidyn Harris out, Jazmine Washington scored a career-high 31 points to lead the Scorpions to the win. The victory snaps Oakland Mills’ four-game losing streak. Washington’s previous career-high was 30 points on Dec. 5 against Joppatowne. The senior guard made five 3-pointers to pace her scoring. Freshman forward Kaity Browne chipped in with a career-high 16 points and 10 rebounds.
OM (6-8, 10-9): J. Washington 31, K. Browne 16, T. McDuffie 9, D. Chisholm 6, R. Bynum 2, H. Barham 2, R. Fairbanks 2, I. McDuffie 2.
LR (0-13, 0-17): T. Whittle 8, J. Putman 7, R. Baldwin 3, S. Sims 3, J. Okiji 2, R. McDaniel 1.
Halftime: 38-9, OM
Atholton 57, Glenelg 50
Despite playing without leading-scorer Laila Cowsette, the Raiders pulled out the road win. Kennedy Brown and Natalie Blair both scored career highs to lead the Raiders. Brown, a sophomore, scored 23 points, while Blair, a senior, chipped in with 17. The Gladiators led by one point entering the fourth quarter, but Blair and Brown combined to score 16 points in the period to earn Atholton the victory. Freshman Arianna Cook led Glenelg with 14 points.
A (4-9, 5-12): K. Brown 23, N. Blair 17, E. Morton 8, M. Hargrett 4, A. Lubitz 2, T. Kidd 2, S. Quinones-Ayuso 1.
G (1-12, 3-15): A. Cook 14, M. Krunkaitis 10, L. LaPointe 9, G. Tolbert 7, M. Sloan 5, J. Torres 4, J. Hirsch 1.
Halftime: 26-21, A
River Hill 57, Mt. Hebron 44
The Vikings took a lead early in the third quarter, but the Saniha Jackson-led Hawks surged to win by 13 points. Jackson led all scorers with 26 points — 12 of which came in the third period alone. Kennedy Clark and Anhyia Smith chipped in for the Hawks with 13 and 11 points, respectively. The Hawks held Mt. Hebron star Tori Valentine to 20 points — her lowest point total since Jan. 15, as the senior guard has been on a tear recently.
RH (13-1, 16-4): S. Jackson 26, K. Clark 13, A. Smith 11, C. Duffy 5, K. Heitzmann 2.
MH (9-4, 11-7): T. Valentine 20, E. Dixon 10, A. Unkenholz 7, R. Vidal 4, K. Milano 3.
Halftime: 24-19, RH