Senior guard Andrew Hohmann talks about the Eagles beating the Lightning for their fifth straight win on Feb. 9.
HOWARD COUNTY, MD — Centennial boys basketball gave up too many backside offensive rebounds in its 69-67 win at Long reach on Dec. 21. The Eagles also struggled to contain any sort of dribble penetration, allowing Lightning guards to easily get into the lane and create open scoring chances. And their woes continued on the offensive end, where they struggled to produce points in their half court sets.
"We were lucky to get out of there [with a win] for sure," coach Chad Hollwedel said.
But the result Friday night, a decisive 57-43 home victory for Centennial, told a much different story than the teams' first battle more than seven weeks prior. Long Reach scored five points in the first quarter, then managed just seven more in the third period. The Eagles totaled more points (15) in the opening period alone.
Riding that hot start, Hollwedel's team remained efficient in the half court and in transition and forced difficult shots, executing a formula that equated to its fifth straight victory.
"We looked at how we looked the first time. What did we do well? What did we not do well?" Hollwedel said. "I thought we improved on the things that we focused on tonight, which from a coach's perspective is very rewarding to see the kids translate what we work on, specific to getting better for that next game."
Centennial (8-6 county, 11-8 overall) received another strong scoring night from senior Andrew Hohmann, who had a game-high with 18 points. Hohmann wasn't looked at as the team's top scorer for much of the season — evident by his 7.7 scoring averaging over the first 13 games — but he's provided a much-needed offensive boost the past two-and-a-half weeks.
He's scored 14 points per game the past six contests, helping the Eagles amass a 5-1 record over that stretch.
The Eagles' other top scorers were seniors guard Sean Taylor (13 points) and Hayden Ford (eight points), who were responsible for helping their team get off to such a hot start.
Ford scored four of Centennial's first six points in the opening minutes, the former a routine layup and the latter a two-handed slam in transition that brought the home crowd to its feet. Less than three minutes into the game, Long Reach needed a timeout. It faced a 6-0 deficit.
"We're really playing as a team and not getting on each other," Hohmann said. "We're just playing together, and that's the key for us to keep winning these games and go on this win streak."
The stop in game action only delayed the Eagles' sustained dominance early on. A layup from Taylor, then a jumper, then a 3-pointer put helped them erase the Lightning's mini run. Senior Jaden Williams capped the period with a layup, increasing the lead to double digits.
Long Reach battled back, forcing turnovers and converting them into easy buckets, and actually outscored Centennial in the second quarter to enter halftime down only seven.
But as has been the case all season, the Lightning failed to sustain that offensive success.
"We shot 34 percent from the field tonight, and it's very rare we shoot over that," coach Andrew Lazzor said. "The bottom line is that we don't score enough. We don't get the shots and convert on the shots that we get, and then — the defense in the first half was good — but then when you start getting down, it's hard to fight back."
In the second half, Hohmann immediately put the Eagles back up double digits with a 3-pointer. Taylor followed with a layup, and Hohmann followed that by finishing an and-1 opportunity that further put Long Reach (4-10, 6-13) in a hole.
At the end of a stretch of eight games in 14 days, Reservoir's boys basketball team saved its best for last.
In front of a packed Friday night crowd, the Gators started fast and never slowed down on the way to a 65-40 victory over rival Atholton that saw the team never trail at any point. Ryan Saunderson poured in 20 points and Josh Odunowo (10 points, 16 rebounds and 9 blocks) came one block away from a triple double, as Reservoir won its fifth straight game.
"The start of this eight-game stretch was against Oakland Mills, Dunbar and River Hill and we ended up with three straight discouraging losses, so we could have very easily gone in the other direction and hung our heads. But these kids have taken those losses and continued to grow," Reservoir coach Mike Coughlan said. "For us to come back from that stretch and respond with five straight wins now, and play arguably our best game of them all tonight, I couldn't be more proud of these kids."
Reservoir (10-4, 13-7) got a jumper from Saunderson and put-back basket by Odunowo to kick off the scoring early in the first quarter and then methodically built its lead from there. By the end of the first quarter it was 13-6 in favor of the Gators and by halftime — courtesy of an 8-0 push to close the second quarter — that lead was up to 14 points, 30-16.
Atholton (7-7, 9-11) made a quick 9-2 run during one stretch early in the third quarter to temporarily cut its lead down to 10. But the comeback was short lived, as Reservoir answered right back with its own 15-3 run to put the game away for good.
Re — Saunderson 20, Odunowo 10, Harrison 8, Moore 7, Barrett 6, Mattocks 5, McCallum 4, Bradford 3, Diarra 2.
A — Oates 9, Murray 8, Mitchell 7, Parkins 4, Rankin 4, Williams 3, Marshall 2, Porras 2, Robinson 1.
River Hill (13-1, 18-2) — 55, Marriotts Ridge (4-10, 8-12) — 45
Tied at 32 entering the fourth quarter, Marriotts Ridge had another chance to knock off the top team in the county.
And after suffering a 61-58 home loss to River Hill on Dec. 22, the Mustangs were poised to pull the upset on the road. It would mark the Hawks' second county loss and move them one step closer to finishing the season with a winning record.
But in the final frame, Luke Champion and Jaden Martin took over for River Hill. The senior guard duo scored 17 of the team's 25 points in the period to help the Hawks escape the Mustangs once again.
With the win, coach Matt Graves' team secured at least a share of the county title. It'll have a chance to win the league outright for the second straight year on Tuesday night at Oakland Mills.
As for Marriotts Ridge, coach Tim Brady was proud of how his team performed. The Mustangs had the lead with four minutes to play. With two minutes to go, they only trailed by three. But in the end, Brady said they couldn't make crucial defense stops and missed shots due to tough defense. And once they began fouling, the Hawks converted their free throws.
Nevertheless, Brady said its a performance this program can build on in the future.
RH — Champion 14, Krause 11, Martin 11, McKenna 7, Daniels 6, Richards 2, Mann 3, Okojie 1.
MR — Held 15, Brennan 13, Cole Brown 6, Ingersoll 3, Snell 3, Cam Brown 2, Lee 2, Little 1.
It wasn't easy, but Oakland Mills kept its slim county title hopes alive on Friday night.
Facing a three-point deficit after three quarters, the Scorpions limited Wilde Lake and standout junior guard Trea Keys (game-high 20 points) to 11 points in the final frame. The Scorpions stout defense played a part in them scoring 17 points the final eight minutes, the most points they scored in a quarter all night.
Junior Daeshawn Eaton and senior Mister Hairston combined to score 35 points, about 62.5 percent of the team's offensive production.
The win sets up a massive home game against River Hill on Tuesday night. If Oakland Mills loses, the Hawks will capture the county title for the second straight year. But if the Scorpions win, they'll trail the Hawks by just a game in the league standings with one county game to play.
Oakland Mills closes the regular season against Marriotts Ridge, while River Hill hosts Glenelg.