Long Reach senior Kiana Williams talks about the Lightning earning a 79-45 win over Atholton on Feb. 15. Williams scored a career-high 40 points.
On senior night Thursday against Atholton, Long Reach’s lone senior Kiana Williams took center stage.
The Lightning point guard scored a career-high 40 points, leading the way to a 79-45 victory that keeps Long Reach alive in the hunt for the program’s first county championship. A win on Saturday against Marriotts Ridge would give the team a share of the crown this winter with Howard, which defeated Centennial on Thursday.
As for Williams, who was honored during a ceremony before the game, it was a night to remember from the very beginning. She won the jump ball, scored her team’s first basket and never slowed down on her way to shattering her previous personal-best scoring mark of 31 points.
“A lot of our success over the last few years has been on her back and I can’t say enough about how much we appreciate her, so for her to have such a great game on her senior night is apropos to the type of player that she is,” Long Reach coach Kelli Cofield said. “It’s been a lot of fun watching her grow and lead our team, bringing that energy out on the court every day.”
Williams said that even with more home games on the schedule, it was still definitely an emotional night.
“It’s still a lot of emotions running through [me]. My coach was actually crying, which made me tear up at one point,” “I’m going to miss them and the team, everything they did for me and said [before the game] was just sweet and I enjoyed it.”
Atholton (6-10, 8-13) scored the first basket of the game on a layup by Bryce Bathras (8 points), but Long Reach (14-1, 16-2) countered by outscoring the Raiders 24-4 over the final 6:37 of the opening quarter. Williams accounted for 10 of those 24 points.
Things only ballooned from there, with Long Reach extending its lead to 42-15 at the half and then 53-21 three minutes into the third quarter.
Atholton, which was led by 13 points from Zhuri Cannon and 11 from Kayla Beckwith, did go on an extended 13-0 run to close the third quarter and temporarily cut its deficit to 19 points. But that’s as close as things got.
Lyric Swann (17 points) opened the fourth quarter with a three and Long Reach put together a 15-2 run to put the game away for good. Arianna Briggs-Hall (12 points) joined Williams and Swann in double figures scoring on the evening.
On the heels of dropping its first county game on Tuesday against Howard, Cofield was pleased with the response of her team.
“We only had two losses, but the game after both of them have been pretty solid, which is always good. You want to bounce back to show that you are who you have consistently been,”Cofield said. “I thought we brought great energy, after a great practice yesterday.”
Long Reach is scheduled to play Marriotts Ridge at home on Saturday at noon in the final regular season game for both teams.
Long Reach 79, Atholton 45
LR (14-1, 16-2): Williams 40, L. Swann 17, Briggs-Hall 12, J. Swann 6, Streeter 2, Proctor 2.
The Lions secured at least a share of the program’s third straight county title, earning a 43-point victory over the Eagles to finish with a county record of 15-1 this winter. Marisa Sanchez-Henry led the way with 14 points in what is the team’s 13th straight victory to close the regular season. Madison Burris also finished in double figures with 11 points, including three 3-pointers.
The interior duo of Emily Dorn (25 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 blocks, 2 steals) and Nia Powell (18 points, 12 rebounds, 9 blocks) put together monster games to help the Gators hold on for the victory down the stretch.
Reservoir had a 12-point lead in the fourth quarter after a tight first half, but Mt. Hebron rallied behind Clarke Oliver (16 points), Tori Valentine (14 points) and Eve Chase (11 points) to get within three with 1:18 remaining.
Powell got a put-back on the next possession, however, to put Reservoir out of reach.
MH (5-11, 9-13): Oliver 16, Valentine 14, Chase 11, Rodriguez 6, Milano 2, Rogers 2. N/A 2.
Marriotts Ridge 37, Oakland Mills 36
After trailing 23-9 at halftime, the Mustangs stormed back in the second half to pull out the one-point victory. Hope Morath scored all 10 of her team-high point total in the second half and also added 14 rebounds.
It marked the fourth-straight victory for the Mustangs and moved the team above .500 in county play on the year.
MR (8-7, 12-9): H. Morath 10, Noll 6, Bryan 6, E. Morath 5, Miller 3, Conroy 3, Crosby 2, Kohler 2.
OM (10-6, 14-8): Washington 12, Grenway 8, Riggs 8, McDuffie 6, Brown 2.