HOWARD COUNTY, MD — After starting the season with back-to-back close losses, Long Reach boys basketball rebounded in a big way at Western Tech on Monday night. The Lightning jumped on the Wolverines from the opening tip and extend their lead from there in an eventual 73-43 nonconference rout.
Junior point guard Darelle Raymond Jr. paced the Lightning with 17 points, but his contributions extended far beyond putting the ball through the hoop. Raymond blanketed opposing ball handlers, which led to several steals and easy points for him and his teammates in transition. He also tallied six assists for a Lightning offense that eclipsed 70 points for the third straight game to start the year.
“I told him that he’s our heart and soul out there because as he goes, we go,” coach Andrew Lazzor said. “The guys feed off of his energy. They feed off of how hard he works. His demeanor in practice helps build up the rest of the guys because, you see him out there, he’s hard-working.”
Twelve of Long Reach’s 13 players scored on Monday, with junior Elijah Modeste (12 points) joining Raymond in double figures. Forwards Kwadwo Addo and Cooper Haberern, meanwhile, chipped in eight points apiece.
Western Tech received 12 points from Tyler Cook, 11 from Joaquin Rice and eight from Will Fitch. No other Wolverines player scored more than four points.
“I’m curious to see how they respond to adversity,” coach Mike Slepesky said. “It’s the first game of the year at home. We’re coming off a 3-19 season where the expectations I wouldn’t say are low but realistic that if we’re going to be better than three wins, we’re going to have to play much more composed and more fluid within the confines of what we’re trying to do here. And tonight, we just didn’t show up with all of the stuff we’ve been working on.”
A major issue for Western Tech was its abundance of turnovers that Long Reach turned into points from the get-go. The Lightning (1-2) got out to a 6-0 lead to force a Wolverines’ timeout and ended the first quarter having scored 18 of the game’s 23 points. The dominating start was a welcome sight for Lazzor, who saw almost the exact opposite from his team in its first two games. In losses at Largo and at Mt. Hebron, the Lightning went down by double digits before climbing back into both games in the fourth quarter.
Back-to-back-to-back layups from Addo extended the Lightning’s advantage to begin the second quarter, and once Martin converted a floater on the next possession, Slepesky needed another timeout with the Wolverines trailing, 26-5. The Lightning would enter intermission ahead, 41-18.
It was more of the same after the break, with Long Reach having its way on the offensive boards and challenging nearly every Western Tech shot on the other end. And whenever the Lightning sensed a fastbreak opportunity, they acted on it and were often rewarded with uncontested layups.
Raymond was pleased with the win but made sure to point out what his team can improve on going forward. After all, Howard County is loaded with quality competition, and the Lightning want to establish themselves as contenders.
“Defense and talking,” Raymond said. “We’ve got to talk more. That was more of our problem our last few games.”
Long Reach (1-2) — 73, Western Tech (0-1) — 43
LR — Raymond Jr. 17, Modeste 12, Addo 8, Haberern 8, Martin 5, Carey 4, Guzman 4, Johnson 4, Wyche 4, Foulks 3, Brown 2, Zaky 2.
WT — Cook 12, Rice 11, Fitch 8, Johnson 4, Antoine 2, Carr 2, Greenwood 2, Kolade 2.
Halftime: 41-18, LR
Around the league
Reservoir (2-0) — 60, Baltimore City — 50
Yes, it’s only been two games, but if Reservoir senior forward Josh Odunowo can produce somewhat like he has the first two games, he’ll be a Player of the Year candidate.
After scoring 16 points and pulling down 15 rebounds in the Gators’ season-opener, Odunowo put together a video-game type stat line of 21 points, 27 rebounds and four blocks in a 60-50 win over Baltimore City on Monday night. The rest of the Gators combined for 14 rebounds. Odunowo had 12 on the offensive end alone.
Ryan Saunderson (12 points) and Aria Ameli (11 points) also scored in double figures for a Reservoir team that led by as much as 21 points.
Re — Odunowo 21, Saunderson 12, Ameli 11, McCallum 9, Glasper 5, Mckoy 2.
Hammond (2-0) — 58, Catonsville — 49
Dulaney transfer Jaylen Wiggins was superb again as Hammond improved to 2-0 with an 11-point win over Catonsville on Monday.
The senior guard went off for 26 points, while Micah Henry added 16 points and Martin Miller tallied seven points.
Ha — Wiggins 26, Henry 16, M. Miller 7, Asa 3, Allen 2, Mair 2, C. Miller 2.
River Hill (2-1) — 48, Manchester Valley — 21
River Hill got back into the win column after its county-opening overtime loss to Wilde Lake on Friday night.
Mt. Saint Joseph transfer Ryan Marshall led the Hawks with 13 points, which was nine more than Manchester scored in the first half. The stout defensive performance continued after intermission, leading to a 27-point triumph.
RH — Ryan Marshall 13, Nick Marshall 8, O’Brien 6, Okojie 6, James 4, Kirkland 3, Yu 3, McCann 3, Feeney 2.
Glenelg (1-1) — 70, St. Mary’s (Annapolis) — 66
Glenelg spread the scoring around en route to earning its first win of the season on Monday night. Hunter Koele and Johnny Piwowarski carried the Gladiators with 18 and 17 points, respectively, but four other players scored at least seven points in the nonconference victory.
G — Koele 18, Piwowarski 17, Soltis 11, Walsh 9, Onwumbiko 8, Dick 7.
Glenelg Country (2-1 MIAA B Conference, 5-1) — 46, St. Vincent Pallotti — 44
Glenelg overcame a five-point halftime deficit to win its fifth game in six tries to start the year.
After scoring 18 points in the first half, Noah Charles (11 points) and brothers Cole and Chase Paar — 10 and eight points, respectively — carried the scoring load after intermission. The trio combined to score 18 of the team’s 24 second-half points, allowing the Dragons to pull even with St. Vincent Pallotti by the end of the third quarter and then pull out a two-point victory in the final frame.
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GCS — Charles 11, Cole Paar 10, Chase Paar 8, Yoka-Bratasz 6, Robinson 5, Swartz 4, Braithwaite 2.