HOWARD COUNTY, MD — In a 61-58 loss to River Hill on Friday, Marriotts Ridge boys basketball set the bar for the rest of the season, coach Tim Brady said. His team needed to play that way in every game if it wanted to bounce back from its 1-5 start to the season.
The Mustangs let that message sink in and responded by beating Damascus and Century on back-to-back days to secure a holiday tournament title. They won the Freedom Division at the Liberty Holiday Tournament with a 63-59 win over Century on Thursday night.
Senior guard Luke Ingersoll, despite missing most of the Damascus game on Wednesday afternoon with a hip injury, was named the MVP of the tournament after limiting Century’s top scorer for much of the contest. Junior forward Brandon Held, who averaged 19 points over the two games, also made the All-Tournament team.
The Mustangs began the tournament with an easy 73-51 win over the Swarmin' Hornets in which Held scored 20 points, one of seven players to score at least six points.
Thursday night’s contest proved more competitive. Marriotts Ridge and Century entered halftime tied at 31. And after the Mustangs built a six-point lead entering the fourth quarter, the Knights pulled within two down the stretch.
But the Mustangs showed mental toughness in the final moments, assistant coach Tim Hlavka said, and “needed to hit some tough shots to seal the victory.” Hlavka also made sure to add that sophomore Ira Snell (15 points) and junior Amari Little (12 points) made valuable contributions in the victory.
At 3-5, Marriotts Ridge has won more games the past two days than it had the first two weeks of the season and should return to league play with plenty of momentum.
Up next for the Mustangs is a home game against Hammond on Jan. 3.
After a dismal first quarter, Reservoir (5-2) completely turned the game around and nearly defeated the Blue Devils on their home floor on Thursday night.
The Gators were within 62-59 in the final minute when, with the shot clock about to expire, junior Timitrius Whitney-Hawkins drilled a deep, contested 3-pointer from the left wing to put his team up two possessions. He then made an emphatic swat on the ensuing possession to seal the victory.
“I don’t know what more we can do than that,” Gators coach Mike Coughlan said about the game-clinching basket. “That’s a 10-percent shot, and so if we get that rebound, we’re in a one-possession game. So that made it tough on us.”
This sequence came three quarters after Springbrook looked ready to run Reservoir off the floor. The Blue Devils scored 25 points in eight minutes and held a 16-point lead after eight minutes of action.
However, Reservoir pulled within six points at halftime using a barrage of 3-pointers, and this time, the Gators stayed within striking distance the rest of the way. They just couldn’t get the decisive stop that Coughlan said usually decides these types of close contests.
As has been the case all season, Reservoir’s offensive production came from several different players. Thursday night, senior Donye’ Moore, junior Camron Mattocks and senior captain Bouraima Diarra, an All-Tournament honoree, all scored in double figures. Junior forward Josh Odunowo added eight points inside and kept several possessions alive with offensive rebounds.
In the first half alone, Coughlan said he used 12 or 13 players, and he doesn’t expect that number to fluctuate too much going forward.
“I’ll continue to do so, because you never know who’s going to step up,” Coughlan said. “I don’t know if we have anyone averaging in double figures, and I’m fine with that because then everybody is a threat. Everybody is going to get an opportunity. It’s just a matter of whoever is ready to play that night. It’s a fantastic group of kids.”
Springbrook — 68, Reservoir (5-2) — 62
Re — Moore 12, Mattocks 11, Diarra 10, Odunowo 8, Barrett 4, Okolo 7, Bradford 3, Soto 3, Harrison 2, McCallum 2.
Half: 37-31, Springbrook
Potomac (Md.) 69, No. 14 River Hill 38 (Paint Branch Holiday Hoopfest — Burgundy Bracket championship)
Highlights from River Hill’s loss to Potomac (Md.) on Dec. 28.
Oakland Mills received 25 points from Robert Burgess and 16 from Ke’von Simpson in its blowout win over Arudel in its holiday tournament consolation game Thursday.
Burgess followed up his 19-point performance Wednesday night — the Scorpions lost, 74-61, to No. 4 Dulaney — by hitting five 3-pointers and five two-point baskets against the Wildcats. Junior Daeshawn Eaton and senior Harrison Greggs finished with 10 and nine points, respectively.
The Scorpions wasted no time taking control on their home floor. They held a 20-10 lead after the first quarter and then scored 26 points in the second frame to blow the game open. From there, they cruised to their sixth win of the year.
Oakland Mills (5-2) — 70, Arundel — 48
OM — Burgess 25, Sampson 16, Eaton 10, Greggs 9, Chance 4, Brown 2, Gaymon 2, McFadden 2.
Half: 46-22, OM
Quince Orchard — 59, Wilde Lake (1-6) — 46
WL — Hunter 18, Zimmerman 10, Keys 8, Greene 4, Joseph 4, Williams 2.
Half: 29-22, Quince Orchard
Thomas Stone — 52, Centennial (3-4) — 50 (Glen Burnie Tournament: consolation game)
C — Taylor 12, Addisu 10, Ford 9, Hill 5, Hohmann 5, Berkeley 3, Williams 3, Smith 2, Eudell 1