Behind a big fourth quarter, Atholton extended its winning streak to a season-high four games on Monday in its regular-season finale against Hammond.
Raymond Brown scored seven of his game-high 18 points in the final eight minutes, helping the Raiders turn a one-point lead into a 59-47 victory.
Hammond, which was led on the evening by Deron Edwards and Khaleb Mair with 15 points apiece, fell behind by double digits in the first quarter. But the Golden Bears clawed their way back over the next two periods, pulling to within one at 40-39 entering the fourth quarter following a jumper by Ian Addison.
With the momentum hanging in the balance, though, the Raiders found an answer just in time. Atholton opened the fourth quarter on a 10-2 run to create a comfortable margin once again. Hammond never got closer than seven points during the final six minutes.
Jordan Oates (9 points) and Jabari Rankin (9) were the top supporting players for the Raiders, while Adrian Nwaklor provided a big boost off the bench in the second half on his way to his second-highest scoring total of the season (8 points).
Atholton has secured the third seed in Region II of 3A East and will host Long Reach in the opening round of the region playoffs on Friday. Hammond will be the fifth seed in the same region, traveling to take on River Hill on Friday to open the playoffs.
“Bottom line is that sometimes you have to win a little ugly and today was probably one of those days. It wasn’t our best performance, we just didn’t have a lot of energy. But all in all we got our first four-game win streak of the year right before playoffs, so that’s a positive thing,” – Atholton coach Jared Albert
“Adrian Nwaklor was huge for us. That was one of the best games of his career and he was critical to getting us to finally wake up there in the second half. Without him, I don’t know that we pull this one out. He provided the spark for us and then the other guys responded around him,” – Atholton coach Jared Albert
“It’s definitely the most complete game we’ve played in quite some time. We’ve played a lot of halves lately and games have gotten out of hand because of that. So it was great to see that effort finally there for a full four quarters. We still had some defensive rebounding issues and a couple careless turnovers that cost us. But from an effort standpoint, we needed to have a game like that before playoffs,” – Hammond coach Mike Salapata
Atholton 58, Hammond 47
A (11-5, 15-7): Brown 18, Oates 9, Rankin 9, Nwaklor 8, Swartz 7, Miller 4, Anderson 3.
Ha (4-12, 8-14): Edwards 15, Mair 15, Addison 6, Aodu 6, Bennett 2, Moore 2, Thomas 1.
Half: 31-27 A.
Other boys basketball scores:
Reservoir 64, Tuscarora 48
The Gators stepped out of county and picked up one more victory before the playoffs, defeating Tuscarora at home. Bobby Hill (12 points), Ryan Saunderson (11), Rashod Ballard (10), Kaleb Glasper (10) and Jason Ha (10) all scored in double figures in the victory.
Re (18-4): Hill 12, Saunderson 11, Ballard 10, Glasper 10, Ha 10, Manning 9, Ameli 2.