Nearly a year later, the Hawks hope to make it back to Towson’s SECU Arena this postseason, as their regular season ended Wednesday with a 58-29 win over visiting Wilde Lake.
“All year we’ve been talking about how we want to get back to that stage,” said River Hill senior Kennedy Clark. “It’s playoffs, and now any game can be my last game. We need to stay together and keep playing hard.”
Saniha Jackson led the Hawks on Wednesday with a career-high 31 points on 12-of-25 shooting.
“That’s where our strength is, going inside to her,” said River Hill assistant coach Tony Chambers, who was filling in for head coach Teresa Waters as she dealt with a personal matter on Wednesday. “Her size and her knowledge of the game, she creates. When she gets to the basket she also creates for other people.”
Jackson is leading the Hawks with 16.9 points per game this season, but with guards Anhyia Smith and Kennedy Clark both averaging in double figures, the Hawks have at times gotten away from pounding the ball inside with their senior post player.
“When we don’t get her the ball it’s just because we’re not trying hard enough to find a way to pass to her,” Clark said. “She’s very important to our team, not just with her scoring in the post but also getting rebounds.”
Chambers said the key for the Hawks heading into the postseason, which begins Friday, Feb. 28, is defense. He believes the Hawks’ offense works best when they’re playing aggressive defense and forcing turnovers.
“We executed tonight, but not to perfection like I think we should have,” Chambers said. “Defense transitions into our offense. When you have defense, you don’t always have to worry about your offensive set because you get points in transition.”
River Hill (15-1, 18-4) opened the home contest with a 10-5 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Hawks didn’t shoot efficiently from the floor, but they forced eight turnovers in the first period to slow down the Wilde Lake (6-9, 8-11) offense.
The Hawks then went on a run in the second quarter to enter halftime up 27-13. The Wildecats got within 10 points midway through the third period, but Jackson made a few buckets at the end of the quarter to put the Hawks up 18 points entering the final quarter.
“She has different post moves, which is different than previous years,” said Wilde Lake head coach Rhonda Corkeron about Jackson. “She was pretty one-dimensional in how she would get to the basket in the past. But she’s also relentless. If she misses, she keeps going after the rebound or loose ball.”
Despite the loss, Corkeron said her team is still proud of the way they’ve performed this season. The Wildecats’ eight wins are tied for the most for the program since the 2013-14 season. The last time Wilde Lake won more than eight games (2007-08), most of its players were elementary school-aged or younger.
“It’s been fantastic,” Corkeron said. “Turning the corner that way for the girls who have been with the program the past few years, it’s great to see them reap the reward.”
Wilde Lake’s last game of the season is Friday at Howard. River Hill’s next game will be their first playoff game in the Class 3A East Region II playoffs.
“We don’t have a game for a while now,” Jackson said. “We just have to focus hard on working hard every practice.”
River Hill 58, Wilde Lake 29
RH (15-1, 18-4): S. Jackson 31, C. Duffy 8, K. Clark 7, A. Smith 4, A. McCullough 2, A. Majahan 2, K. Heitzmann 2, K. Moore 2.
WL (6-9, 8-11): K. Corkeron 10, C. Zimmerman 5, N. Brown 5, B. Floyd 4, M. Swaby-Rowe 3, A. Dorsey 2.
Halftime: 27-13, RH
Marriotts Ridge 51, Oakland Mills 39
Despite missing their two top post players, the Mustangs earned a 12-point victory over the Scorpions. Marriotts Ridge was without Emma Morath and Caroline Crawford, but Emma Miller stepped in with a career-high 20 points. Kerri Lee and Morgan Lee both chipped in for 11 points to give the Mustangs their third straight win — and sixth straight without including their loss to Howard. Tyasia McDuffie scored a career-high 17 points in the loss, while Jazmine Washington, who recently scored her 1,000th career point, tallied 10 points.
MR (10-5, 15-6): E. Miller 20, K. Lee 11, M. Lee 11, K. Bryan 6, C. Meininger 2, N. Held 1.
OM (7-9, 11-10): T. McDuffie 17, J. Washington 10, D. Bynum 6, D. Chisholm 4, R. Fairbanks 2.
Halftime: 23-19, MR
Howard 74, Hammond 38
Marisa Sanchez-Henry scored a career-high 23 points in the Lions’ blowout win. Anii Harris chipped in with 13 points, while Kamerin McDuffie scored 10 points in the fourth quarter. Howard improves to 21-0 overall and 15-0 in county play with the victory. Hammond’s Maya Woodson also scored a career high for the Golden Bears, tallying 19 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in the loss.
Ho (15-0, 21-0): M. Sanchez-Henry 23, A. Harris 13, K. McDuffie 10, S. Nasir 8, G. Kennerly 6, G. Scott 6, C. Malagar 4, M. Coleman 2, K. Sabatini 2.
Ha (3-12, 5-16): M. Woodson 19, K. Brown 7, J. Fogle 6, H. Chambers 2, R. Smoot 2, M. Newby 2.
Halftime: 46-13, Ho
Centennial 45, Glenelg 27
The Eagles’ defense led the way, holding the Gladiators to eight or fewer points in their last three quarters. Centennial scored 21 points in the second quarter to take a 16-point lead at halftime. Brook Anderson led Centennial with 12 points, while Lauren Pellegrini chipped in with 10 points. Lauren LaPointe led Glenelg with nine points.
C (9-6, 12-9): B. Anderson 12, L. Pellegrini 10, O. Reese 8, A. Urquiaga 6, T. Pearson 3, C. LasCasas 2, K. Parisi 2, S. Sopchick 2.
G (1-14, 3-18): L. LaPointe 9, J. Hirsch 8, S. Salafia 4, L. Davis 3, Krunkaitis 2, M. Sloan 1.
Halftime: 32-16, C
Mt. Hebron 54, Atholton 27
Tori Valentine led Mt. Hebron with 18 points and 12 rebounds, while freshman Raelis Vidal scored a career-high 12 points. The Vikings held the Raiders to less than 10 points in each of the first three quarters. They led 22-11 at halftime before scoring 16 points in both the third and fourth quarters.
MH (11-4, 13-7): T. Valentine 18, R. Vidal 12, A. Harrington 9, K. Milano 6, K. Millen 3, E. Hollis 2, A. Unkenholz 2, D. Bodziak 2.
A (4-11, 5-14): N. Blair 7, M. Hargrett 6, K. Brown 6, T. Kidd 4, L. Cowsette 3, A. Barker 1.
Halftime: 22-11, MH
Reservoir 79, Long Reach 44
After two straight games with under 10 points, Reservoir senior Tiffany Hooker got back to her normal self, scoring 31 points in the win. Kate Abunassar chipped in with 13 points, while Laiya Hardie scored 10 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Tamir Whittle led the Lightning with 14 points.
Re (10-5, 14-7): T. Hooker 31, K. Abunassar 13, L. Hardie 10, R. Malwitz 8, A. Pennington 8, K. Holmes 4, D. Moultrie 3, A. Jenne 2.
LR (0-15, 0-19): T. Whittle 14, A. Nagle 9, S. Sims 6, J. Putman 5, J. Okiji 4, R. Baldwin 4, R. McDaniel 2.