HOWARD COUNTY, MD — With Reservoir boys basketball trailing, 53-25, late in the third quarter against Takoma Academy on Dec. 26, the Gators discovered a new wave of energy that has carried them the past nine quarters.
It allowed them to outscore Takoma Academy, 28-12, in the final frame of a seven-point defeat. It fueled their 20-point win over tournament host Springbrook the next day. And against Mt. Hebron on Friday night, it was the difference in the Gators’ 70-65 road triumph.
“It was a tough one because you look back and you think of so many opportunities where they really just wanted it more than us tonight,” Vikings coach Jared Ettinger said. “And it was evident. They must have gotten a million offensive rebounds.”
Leading the charge on the offensive glass and in the scoring column was Reservoir senior Josh Odunowo, who after a quiet first half finished with a game-high 21 and 15 rebounds. Whenever it looked as though Mt. Hebron would string together defensive stops and attempt to further close the gap, the reigning first-team All-County forward skyed for offensive rebounds and converted almost all of his putbacks to ensure the Gators (3-2 county, 6-3 overall) maintained a comfortable advantage.
Odunowo was far from the only valuable contributor, though. Guard Kaden Toler finished with 12 points, while To’Godio Hester scored his first nine points of the season Friday night, all from behind the three-point line. Sophomores Aria Ameli, Victor McKoy and Kaleb Glasper also played crucial roles in the victory, coach Mike Coughlan said.
Toler said the focus coming in was to limit scoring guards Odell Dickerson and Brandon Prox, and the Gators executed that game plan by holding the duo to 23 points, about 13 points below their combined season average.
“We’ve got kids that can play, man,” Coughlan said. “It’s a struggle for me to figure out who’s going to go each night, but it’s a good struggle to have.”
That issue was especially apparent in the first half on Friday, as Coughlan emptied his bench in search of the optimal lineup. There did not seem to be one, but that was because many of the combinations worked just fine. After a sluggish end to the opening frame, the Gators ramped up the half-court defensive pressure to hold Mt. Hebron to eight points and enter halftime with a 27-23 lead.
For a Vikings team that scores a 75.9 points per game, the opening 16 minutes were an anomaly. Instead of moving the ball to create open shots, players hoisted contested jumpers off little to no passing.
And if the Vikings (3-2, 5-4) were going to erase their halftime deficit, it would be because of better offensive cohesion.
Several Howard County teams were in action at holiday tournaments around the area on Dec. 28.
The offense came together in the second half with a 42-point performance, but Reservoir exceeded that total in large part because of second-chance points. Playing without big men Stevie Jackson and Justin Cargiulo, the Vikings struggled to keep Odunowo and McCoy off of the offensive boards. Easy putbacks squashed any momentum the home team attempted to build.
Reservoir put the finishing touches on the victory with 25 seconds to play. Up, 65-60, the Gators’ crisp ball movement led to Toler feeding Odunowo for a thunderous two-handed dunk that encapsulated the Gators’ recent stretch of spirited play.
“It’s just confidence really,” Toler said. “We just come into practice and try to get better every day, just have energy in practice and make each other better. Not every game is going to be a blowout — some are going to be close — but if we just trust our defensive principles and execute our offense we’ll be fine.”
Reservoir (3-2, 6-3) — 70, Mt. Hebron (3-2, 5-4) — 65
Re — Odunowo 21, Toler 12, Hester 9, Ameli 8, McKoy 8, Adubi 3, Bradford 3, Manning 3, Glasper 2, McCallum 1.
MH — Dickerson 17, Ichrist 13, Bates 10, Crump 10, Ryan Kinloch 9, Prox 6.
Atholton (4-1 county, 7-1 overall) — 72, Long Reach (1-4, 4-5) — 62
Atholton methodically built a 15-point lead over the first three quarters before settling for a 72-62 victory over Long Reach on Friday night.
The Raiders earned their fourth straight win thanks in large part to their private school transfers: Albert Jackson (Mount Saint Joseph) and Jordan Oates (Glenelg Country). Jackson stuffed the stat sheet with 14 points, six assists and five rebounds while Oates (10 points, 15 rebounds) had yet another double-double. Casey Parkins (14 points) and Justin Oates (12 points) were the other Raiders players to finish in double figures.
For the Lightning, the loss snaps their three-game winning streak. Ramone Martin and Elijah Modeste scored 14 points apiece for coach Andrew Lazzor’s squad.
A — Jackson 14, Parkins 14, Justin Oates 12, Jordan Oates 10, Daniel 8, Murray 8, Brown 5, Miller 1.
LR — Martin 14, Modeste 14, Johnson 11, Raymond Jr. 8, Carey 7, Addo 5, Haberern 3.
Centennial (4-1, 5-4) — 50, Howard (0-5, 3-6) — 37
A day after scoring 26 points in a double-digit loss to C. Milton Wright, Centennial again struggled to score yet still beat a county opponent by double digits.
Junior forward Joey Sedlacko paced the Eagles with 15 points and was one of eight players to put the ball in the basket. Darrion Harris was the high scorer for the Lions, pouring in 15 points.
C — Sedlacko 15, Berkeley 8, Bonner 6, Hollwedel 6, Merkey 5, Hwang 4, Smith 4, Schickner 2.
Ho — Harris 15, Colbert 7, Rodgers 5, O’Connor 4, Hendricks 4, Williams 2.
River Hill (2-3, 6-4) — 59, Glenelg (0-5, 3-6) — 52 (OT)
River Hill nearly gave away a 10-point halftime lead against Glenelg on Friday night.
Leading, 23-13, at the break, the Hawks mostly traded baskets with the Gladiators in the third quarter. But in the final frame, the Hawks managed just 10 points to the Gladiators’ 17 and went into overtime tied at 50. That’s when the Hawks retook control, making five free throws and two field goals while holding their opponent to two points.
Nick Marshall scored a career-high 25 points and attempted 19 foul shots, 11 of which fell through the net. Nick’s brother, Ryan Marshall, and Oj Okojie chipped in 11 points apiece.
The Gladiators rebounded from a four-point second period to score at least 17 points in each of the final two frames, but their scoring woes reappeared in the extra period of what became their fifth straight county loss.
RH — Nick Marshall 25, Okojie 11, Ryan Marshall 11, Graves 6, James 6.
G — Piwowarski 16, Dick 14, Pearcy 6, Koele 5, Chappell 4, Soltis 4, Owens 3.
Wilde Lake (5-0, 7-1) — 81, Hammond (2-2, 6-3) — 58
Wilde Lake senior guard Trea Keys added another honor to his already illustrious career in the third quarter of Friday night’s blowout win over Hammond.
That’s when Keys, who won Player of the Year as a sophomore and earned first-team All-County honors last season, reached the 1,000-point milestone to further establish himself as one of the best players in Wildecats’ history.
Keys finished with 23 points, while his scoring partner Marc Marshall scored 27 as the Wildecats had no trouble with the Golden Bears. They remain the only undefeated team in county play.
WL — Marshall 27, Keys 23, Zimmerman 8, Boampong 7, Burris 5, Wright 5, Adams 2, Chamblee 2, Lowe 2.
Ha — Wiggins 28, Henry 16, Aodu 10, Mair 2, Terry 2.
Marriotts Ridge (2-2, 6-3) — 74, Oakland Mills (3-2, 6-3) — 73
Having already suffered a pair of close league losses this season, Marriotts Ridge finished on the right side of a nail-biting county affair on Friday night. Amari Little (12 points) served as the hero, his 3-pointer putting the Mustangs ahead by one with about four seconds to play. The Mustangs clinched their second county win moments later.
Brandon Held, who entered the game averaging 13.0 points per game, drilled six 3-pointers en route to leading all scores with a season-high 30 points. Joining him in double figures was Chapelgate transfer Cam Heard, who added 15 points. The Mustangs needed all of the scoring it could get to hold off an Oakland Mills team that received 22 points from Daeshawn Eaton and 11 more from Ke’Von Simpson.
MR — Held 30, Heard 15, Little 12, Cam Brown 6, Miller 5, Cole Brown 4, Lee 2.
OM — Eaton 22, Simpson 11, Gaymon 9, Hopkins 9, Evans 6, Riggs 6, Eiland II 5, Parks 3, Norton 2.
Severn — 70, Chapelgate (0-4 MIAA B Conference, 4-12) — 38
CCA — Cofield 13, Knox 9, Praylow 6, Chambers 5, Felder 3, Perfater 2.
McDonogh — 45, Glenelg Country (2-4, 9-5 MIAA A Conference) — 30