Glenelg senior Kellie Johnson talks about the Gladiators 50-20 win over Marriotts Ridge on Friday, Dec. 8.
Once Glenelg found its rhythm on Friday night against Marriotts Ridge, there was no slowing it down.
After trailing by a point, 7-6, midway through the first quarter, the Gladiators regrouped to close the opening half on a 26-4 run and never looked back the rest of the way en route to a 50-20 victory on the road. Jess Foster scored a game-high 18 points for Glenelg (1-0, 2-0) and Kellie Johnson was right behind her with 14.
"We had a slow start, but then we started to press and off of the press we generated some turnovers," Johnson said. "Then we did transfer those turnovers into fast breaks, which was really good for us."
In the early going, Marriotts Ridge (0-1, 0-2) was able to hang tough behind some strong initial shooting outside the paint. Mallory Conroy scored five points in the opening five minutes to help the Mustangs to the early lead.
But Glenelg called timeout and then began speeding Marriotts Ridge up by trapping the ball before it crossed midcourt. The steals turned into a lengthy string of lay-ups, resulting in a 18-9 Gladiators' lead by the end of the first quarter.
Marriotts Ridge never got closer than 19 points in the second half. Aside from Foster and Johnson, Glenelg also got 10 points from Olivia LePage in the win.
Johnson said it was a nice way to open the county season, especially considering Marriotts Ridge swept the season series between the two teams last year.
"Building confidence is definitely a huge thing for us considering most of our team is sophomores and juniors. I think we only have five returners from last year," Johnson said. "So in the beginning of the season, we are just going to work on gaining our confidence, kind of working and playing together. Once we get that hopefully we will start to get our stride and we'll see where it takes us."
The Lightning had to wait a little longer than most teams to get their season underway, but it didn't take long for them to shake off the rust and do what they do best — push in transition.
Long Reach forced the host Vikings into more than 30 turnovers, converting many of them into points on the other end, en route to a 77-36 victory Friday night.
The team led 21-6 at the end of the first quarter and 38-14 at the half.
"This Friday game felt like it took so long to get here … but it did really feel good to get into a real game and do what we do best, which is push the ball at all times," Long Reach Kelli Cofield said. "It may not always be pretty, the ball is going all over the place at times, but that's the pace that we want. So, while we can definitely do some things better, I was definitely happy overall."
Lyric Swann led the way for Long Reach with 18 points, but there were four others — Ariana Briggs-Hall (17 points) Kianna Williams (15), Jaelyn Swann (14) and Malaya Streeter (10) — that finished in double figures scoring as well.