It was a tight game through the first 11 minutes between Atholton (5-3) and McDonogh (10-1) Monday night.
However, a 13-0 run midway through the second quarter gave the visiting Eagles the momentum they needed to run away with the eventual, 75-43 win.
"We kind of live and die with our defense and points off turnovers, so we were a little slow getting started tonight," said McDonogh coach Brad Rees. "We started off trying to deny their guards the ball, make someone else handle the ball, make them do something they are not comfortable doing. But they were really effective, especially in that first quarter. We gave up 17 points [in the first quarter], which is a lot of points for us to give up."
It was a fast-paced first half and through the opening eight minutes the Raiders were keeping up with the Eagles transition offense.
Ryan Jones and Francesca Vanegas knocked down back-to-back buckets to give Atholton the early, 4-0 advantage.
The Eagles tied up the game at 11- and 13-all, but didn't take their first lead until about two minutes left in the first quarter.
"They have some good ball handlers," Rees said. "We more or less settled in. We did some talking about our back side rotation and some of the trapping we were doing. We did a little more trapping up top, which is what we are supposed to be doing. We were a little slow getting started with that."
The Raiders were up 21-20 with about five minutes left in the quarter, but the Eagles buckled down defensively and turned turnovers and defensive stops in to quick points in transition. After going down by one, McDonogh countered with a 13-0 stretch and controlled the game from then on.
"I think we just got in a hole and we couldn't get ourselves out of it," said Atholton coach Julia Reynold. "I think they are a very good team. They move the ball very well and they capitalized off of our turnovers. And so, we just couldn't quite get enough to get back in to it."
Vanegas put an end to the run with about two minutes remaining in the half, but the damage was done. Atholton looked at a 35-34 deficit heading in to the break.
"That's kind of the pace we play," said Rees. "Eventually we feel like it is going to catch up to be people and they're going to start making a couple turnovers and that's what happened when we made that little run then we kind of settled in after that."
McDonogh extend its lead further in the third. The Eagles forced four consecutive Raider turnovers, which resulted in 10 fast-break points to open up the quarter, which pushed the cushion to 22 with six minutes left in the period.
The deficit proved too big to overcome and ultimately the Riaders took their second consecutive loss.
"They have some presence inside that hurt us and they were able to beat the press, so once they broke it down and we weren't getting back quick enough so they got some easy layups off of that," Reynold said. "I think some of it was our mistakes, but they know how to play."
It was a balanced night for the Eagles, as seven different players registered at least seven points in the win. Kayla Liles and Morgan Jacobs each recorded a team-high 13 points.
Vanegas paced Atholton with 17 points, while Jones followed with seven.
"I was very impressed by them," Rees said. "Strong guard play and they have some size inside. I am anxious to see how they do in Howard County."
The Raiders will try and bounce back Wednesday at home with a big matchup against Glenelg.
"Take care of the basketball and our decision making," said Reynolds of things to improve on against the Gladiators. "We need to be smart and we have to be disciplined, and we have to come out with some kind of fire."
The Gladiators picked up their ninth-straight victory after defeating the visiting Lions Monday.
Glenelg controlled the game from the start, opening up with a 15-3 advantage after the first quarter and took a 31-20 lead at the half.
Julia Wolfrey (17 points and 10 rebounds) and Kellie Johnson (10 points and 10 rebounds) both posted double-doubles for the Gladiators with Johnson also adding two blocks. It was a breakout game for Wolfrey, who has worked herself back from a torn ACL during the end of last season. She registered a season-high in the game and led her team with 10 first-half points.
Jess Foster (game-high 20 points) recorded her seventh 20-point outing of the season for the Gladiators, while seniors Grace Butera and Courtney Renehan chipped in with four points each. Butera also pulled down six boards and posted five blocks, while Renehan added six steals and three assists.
Sophomore guard Logan Heydon led Liberty with a team-high 11 points.
Glenelg is back in action Wednesday, as it visits Atholton for a 5:30 p.m. matchup.
G (9-1): Foster 20, Wolfrey 17, Johnson 10, Renehan 4, Butera 4, Arrington 3, Quisenberry 2, Howze 2.