Having watched an 11-point lead disappear over the final two minutes of regulation on Friday night against visiting Glenelg, Oakland Mills headed into overtime in desperate need of something or someone to change the momentum.
DJ Hopkins was more than ready to answer the call.
The Scorpions’ senior point guard accounted for all 11 of his team’s points in the extra period, including the game-clinching free throws with less than a second remaining that pushed his total for the game to a career-high 36 points, and Oakland Mills held on for a 75-73 victory.
“Talk about putting a team on your back when push comes to shove and it’s crunch time ... he just made play after play tonight. I couldn’t be more proud of him and he willed us to that win,” Oakland Mills coach Jon Browne said. “But, you know, I’m proud of the rest of the guys too. That’s an easy game to fold after letting it slip away like that at the end of the fourth quarter. We just never hung our heads and we found a way, which isn’t always an easy thing to do.”
Oakland Mills senior DJ Hopkins talks about the Scorpions' 75-73 OT win over Glenelg, during which he scored a career-high 36 points.
The victory was the eighth in a row for Oakland Mills (5-1, 8-2) and keeps the Scorpions tied for first place in the county standings with Centennial and Marriotts Ridge. During the win streak, four different players have now put up over 20 points at least once — Friday was Hopkins’ turn.
He hit six 3-pointers and made 8 of 11 shots from the foul line, going over 30 points for the first time in his career. And, in overtime, he found a completely different gear.
“What fired me up was the crowd and how hard Glenelg was playing. I felt like they were putting pressure on us, so it was up to me to return the favor and put pressure on them,” Hopkins said. “You get in a game like that where it’s back and forth and it’s just all about making plays for your team. I felt confident all game and I knew my teammates were counting on me to keep it going with the game on the line.”
Glenelg (2-3, 5-5) made the Scorpions work for everything they got. Max Pearcy scored a team-high 24 points and Nate Curtis was right behind him with 19, as the Gladiators battled back from a second-half deficit that was as large as 15 points early in the fourth quarter following an extended 23-6 run by Oakland Mills over a span of six minutes.
Pearcy hit a layup with 14 seconds remaining to tie the game at 64 and force extra time. He then hit another layup with seven seconds left in overtime to tie the game at 73.
But, after a timeout, Hopkins dribbled the length of the floor and drew a shooting foul with .7 seconds remaining. He calmly hit both free throws to put his team ahead and then Glenelg didn’t have enough time left to get off a quality shot, sending the Oakland Mills’ student section spilling onto the floor to celebrate as time expired.
“You know what, you have to have a good perspective after a game like that — win or lose that was exciting and a great learning experience for both teams,” Glenelg coach Alex Blazek said. “That’s a good Oakland Mills team and when I go back and look at the film, I have a feeling that third quarter is going to be what haunts us. We played a very strong game tonight, but in that third quarter we did some things that were very uncharacteristic for us.
“That said, to then come back, force overtime and have a chance to win at the end ... there’s nothing more I can ask of these guys.”
Aside from Hopkins, Oakland Mills also got double-digit scoring efforts from Barry Evans (15 points) and Ke’Mari Simpson (14). Hopkins said that while he accounted for nearly half of his team’s points, it was still a team effort that made it possible and that the victory shows a lot about the resiliency of this Scorpions’ team.
“Coach Browne always talks about how winning teams find ways to win even when you aren’t at your best,” Hopkins said. “We did not have a good first half tonight and we let them comeback at the end, but we kept fighting. Every win is not going to be pretty, it’s just all about finding a way.”
Oakland MIlls 75, Glenelg 73 OT
OM (5-1, 8-2): Hopkins 36, Evans 15, Simpson 14, Lincoln 3, Jackson 2, Diaby 2, Gray 2, Norton 1.
Shane Taylor (21 points) led a group of four players in double scoring for the Eagles, as they shook off a first-quarter deficit to win for a seventh straight game. Bryson Baker (13 points), Sean Lee (career-high 12) and Joey Sedlacko (12) were the other offensive leaders for Centennial.
Kojo Addo (19 points) and Carey Olivis (16) led the charge for Long Reach.
C (5-1, 9-2): Taylor 21, Baker 13, Lee 12, Sedlacko 12, Hwang 9, Bonner 4, Schickner 2.
LR (2-4, 4-7): Addo 19, Olivis 16, Brown 10, Yarbough 9, Oduro-Dompreh 3, Simms 2, Lado 1.
Half: 42-31 C.
Marriotts Ridge 72, Wilde Lake 62
In a battle between two teams looking to stay in the tightly packed group atop the county standings, the Mustangs prevailed behind a 22-point fourth quarter to break open a one-point game heading into those final eight minutes. Cole Tran scored a season-high 20 points for Marriotts Ridge, which also got 16 points from John Miller and 12 from Kaden Bryan. Tran set the tone early with 13 first-quarter points, including three made 3-point shots.
Abolaji Monk scored a season-high 12 points to lead the way for Wilde Lake, which lost for the second time this week.
Darrion Harris scored a season-high 19 points, including 16 during a first half where the Lions jumped out to a 38-19 lead, to set the tone for a lopsided Howard victory. Cooper Haberern (16 points) and Kyle Colbert (10) also scored in double figures.
MH (0-6, 4-8): Bates 11, Brown 11, Ichrist 10, Michelotti 6, Millen 3, Lewis 3, Nazaire 2.
Half: 38-19 Ho.
Reservoir 37, River Hill 29
The Gators won their second straight game, prevailing in a low-scoring game at home against the Hawks. Bobby Hill had a standout all-around game (14 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists) to lead the way for Reservoir, which also got seven points apiece from Kaleb Glasper and Aria Ameli.
The game marked the lowest point totals of the season for both teams, both for and against.
Re (4-2, 6-3): Hill 14, Ameli 7, Glasper 7, Jerry 6, Manning 2, Ballard 1.
Noah Charles registered a season-high with 19 points, while Noah Batchelor had a double-double (14 points, 12 rebounds), to lead the Dragons to their fourth straight win and eighth in their last nine games.
Jordan Brathwaite (10 points, 6 rebounds) and Samuel Ejindu (10 points) also scored in double figures for Glenelg Country.
GC (7-2, 10-4): Charles 19, Batchelor 14, Brathwaite 10, Ejindu 10, Robinson 7, Sween 6, Paar 4, Yoka-Bratasz 2.