After playing close games in its past two outings, Marriotts Ridge was prepared for a Mt. Hebron second-half rally Friday night.
The Vikings, who trailed for the entire 32 minutes of the game, battled throughout and cut the score to eight or less seven times down the stretch, but the Mustangs held on to clinch the 46-35 victory.
"Every game we're growing and understanding more and more how to win," said Marriotts Ridge coach Caitlin Reese after her team improved to 11-2 on the season. "In the past we haven't won many games, so we were constantly playing from behind. Now it's kind of this new mentality of how to play with the lead and we talked in the locker room about some of our shot selection at the end of the game, some things we need to work on but for the most part we did a good job with Hebron doing such a good job of speeding us up. They were able to kind of slow down best they could."
The Mustangs opened up with a 6-0 start and an 11-1 advantage after the first few minutes of action. They held Mt. Hebron to just two made shots from the field in the first quarter, which created a 19-7 cushion entering the second.
But the Vikings picked up their play in the following period and slowly climbed back to get within seven with a minute to play in the half.
Mt. Hebron did an excellent job of putting pressure on Marriotts Ridge's backcourt and upping the tempo. The Vikings forced 24 Mustang turnovers, which they turned into fast-break opportunities on the offensive end.
"We knew that their defense was really good," said the Mustangs' Mallory Conroy. "Some key things were to just slow down the game and play our game and not there's."
Shane Devine knocked down her shot with 1:11 remaining to cut the score, 28-21, for the Vikings. However, Hope Morath answered with a basket on the other end. Then with 25 seconds remaining Casey Sullivan got a steal out of the Mustangs' press and quickly heaved up a long-ranged 3 nearly from midcourt, which banked in to push her team's lead, 33-21 at the half.
"We fell behind 11-0 and we just came out a little flat in the beginning, but once we got the juices going they started communicating, they started to fight back," said Mt. Hebron coach Anthony Bell. "We just couldn't get over the hump."
Mt. Hebron took over defensively in the third quarter, limiting Marriotts Ridge to just four points within the first six minutes. The Vikings made stops on the defensive end and aggressive attacked the hoop on the offensive side, but had trouble knocking down their free throws. In the third quarter alone they got to the line 10 times, but made just three. They ultimately finished 8-of-26 (31 percent) from the charity stripe.
"The free throw line killed us," Bell said. "Our game plan worked to perfection. We drove and we got to the line. We just didn't capitalize on it. I am curious to see how the final numbers are, but I know at halftime we were 4-of-10 and I told the ladies just keep doing what we're doing, knock down our free throws and we'll walk out with the 'W'. Unfortunately, we didn't."
Satori Valentine cut the score to seven once again with 2:08 to go in the third quarter. But with 22 seconds left in the period, Emma Morath hit her basket while taking a foul to earn the traditional 3-point play. After connecting on the free throw she pushed the Mustangs lead back to 10 entering the fourth.
"We have some kids that can come off the bench and make some big plays for us," Reese said. "Like Emma with that and-one, with some blocks on defense and things like that, Mallory all year she has been really solid. We knew Hebron was going to come in and faceguard Caroline [Blalock], so we practiced with Casey and Mallory having them bring the ball up a little bit. Hebron's pressure was hard on us, but they handled it for the most part."
Devine hit a shot to open up the fourth quarter, but Marriotts Ridge countered with back-to-back baskets by Caroline and Sarah Blalock to push the lead back to double-figures. Mt. Hebron kept the Mustangs scoreless for about five minutes after, but could not capitalize on the offensive end. The Vikings earned six shots from the foul line in that stretch, but connected on just one.
With Marriotts Ridge up by 11 and 1:33 remaining, Mt. Hebron was forced to foul to stop the clock. The Mustangs hit just 2-of-6 from the line, but it was enough to secure the win.
"We fought hard," Bell said. "We're a good team. We gave them a good battle. I tip my hat off to them. They are very well coached, they play hard and they give 110 percent. At the beginning we just didn't match their intensity until a little bit in to the game, but once we started matching it we were right there. I am proud of the girls. The last three or four games we've been playing a lot better basketball, better team basketball — I am happy with that."
Devine led the Viking with 12 points, followed by Maura Devine and Erin Demek, who each tallied five points.
Caroline Blalock registered a game-high 14 points to go along with three steals, two assists and two rebounds. Conroy followed with nine points, three boards, two assists and a team-high four steals.
"The momentum has been great. It has given them confidence and confidence is what helps them I think in these close games. Instead of hoping to win, we're expecting to win," Reese said. "I know I said [that] in the beginning of the year that that was kind of our motto, but it's how they really feel. The game felt a little closer than it was. I think it was a 10-point game all game and I think because we had won close games in the past their mindset was a little different."
The Mustangs will try and earn their 12th win and third-straight victory Jan. 18 against Long Reach, who also sits at 11-2 on the year, while Mt. Hebron will hit the road again to face Oakland Mills, also on Jan. 18. Both games are set for 5:30 p.m.
Marriotts Ridge 46, Mt. Hebron 35
MR (11-2): C. Blalock 14, Conroy 9, S. Blalock 7, Sullivan 7, H. Morath 6, E. Morath 3.
MH (5-6): S. Devine 12, M. Devine 5, Demek 5, Krell 4, Williams 3, Chase 2, Oliver 2, Valentine 2.
Half: 33-21, Marriotts Ridge.
Around the league:
Atholton 70, Oakland Mills 32
The Raiders picked up their second-straight win Friday night, scoring a season-high 70 points in the victory over the hosting Scorpions.
It was a modest first quarter for Atholton, holding a slight 13-12 edge entering the following eight minutes, but its offense exploded for 57 points to close out the game.
The Raiders had 10 different scorers in the outing, while four players netted at least eight points. Seniors Ryan Jones and Francesca Vanegas paced their team with 18 points apiece.
After allowing five made shots in the first quarter, Atholton limited Oakland Mills to just six made attempts the rest of the way. Forward's Aislyn Riggs and Khala Rudd did well in the paint for the Scorpions earning opportunities at the foul line, but connected on a combined 6-of-15 from the charity stripe.
Riggs finished with a team-high 12 points. Marley Grenwy added nine points — all coming in the first half from behind the 3-point line, while Rudd chipped in with six points.
Sophomore guard Alexandra Hargrett followed Jones and Vanegas offensively with nine points, while senior guard Sofia Harrison added eight points on the night.
Atholton and Oakland Mills resume play Jan. 18, with the Scorpions hosting Mt. Hebron and the Raiders visiting Hammond. Both games are scheduled for 5:30 p.m.
A (6-3): Jones 18, Vanegas 18, Hargrett 9, Harrison 8, Kelley 4, Sowah 4, Beckwith 3, Orlosky 2, Cannon 2, Bathras 2.
OM (7-5): Riggs 12, Grenway 9, Rudd 6, Burns 3, Fowler 2.
Half: 32-20, Atholton.
Glenelg 45, Centennial 33
The Gladiators bounced back from just their second loss of the season to clinch their 10th victory after defeating the visiting Eagles Friday.
Glenelg junior guard Jess Foster had the most prolific night, finishing with a game-high 21 points with most of her points coming at the foul line or behind the 3-point arc. She finished 9-of-10 from the charity stripe, while also knocking down two of her five made shots from 3-point range.
It was a low scoring first quarter, with the Gladiators jumping out to a slight, 9-4 advantage. They extended their lead 21-13 before the half.
Glenelg limited Centennial to just two made shots in the third, but the Eagles climbed toward the lead in the final eight minutes.
Rasa Welsh and Hailey Hamshey led Centennial in the fourth, scoring 10 of their team's 12 points in the quarter.
The Eagles did well getting to the free throw line, hitting 6-of-9 in the final eight minutes, while knocking down 11-of-19 in the game.
Welsh recorded a team-high 14 points, followed by Ashley Molz with nine. Hamshey and Mary Grace Lambert chipped in with four points apiece.
Olivia LePage added a spark off the bench for Glenelg, providing solid defense to go along with three points on the night. Seniors Grace Butera and Julia Wolfrey also played well defensively and added four and eight points, respectively. Courtney Renehan (two points) led the Gladiators in steals, while Kellie Johnson (five points) was huge on the boards.
Glenelg and Centennial are back on the court Jan. 18 with the Gladiators hosting Reservoir and the Eagles visiting River Hill. Both games are scheduled for 5:30 p.m.
G (10-2): Foster 21, Wolfrey 8, Johnson 5, Butera 4, LePage 3, Renehan 2, Anderson 2.
C (5-7): Welsh 14, Molz 9, Hamshey 4, Lambert 4, Anderson 1, McCree 1.
Half: 21-13, Glenelg.
Long Reach 55, Hammond 42
The Lightning picked up their fourth-straight victory Friday night after defeating the hosting Golden Bears.
Long Reach earned a 32-16 halftime lead and held a 28-point advantage entering the fourth quarter, but Hammond cut into the lead in the last eight minutes of action.
Sophomore Taylor Liguori was the catalyst for the Golden Bears, netting eight of her team-high 13 points in a 21-point fourth quarter for Hammond.
Sophomore guard Lyric Swann led the Lightning with a team-high 16 points. She had a prolific first-half, finishing the first with five points and dominating the following quarter with nine points.
Every played for the Lightning contributed offensively. Sophomore forward Ariana Briggs-Hall followed Swann with 10 points, while Emily Joyce and Devon Williams chipped in with seven points apiece.
Junior guard Ashlyn McInerney aided the Golden Bears with seven points, followed by sophomores Nyelle Allen (six) and Imani Reid (five).
Long Reach and Hammond resume play Jan. 18, with the Lightning visiting Marriotts Ridge and the Golden Bears hosting Atholton for 5:30 p.m. games.
LR (11-2): L. Swann 16, Briggs-Hall 10, Joyce 7, D. Williams 7, Thompson 6, J. Swann 4, K. Williams 3, Coleman 2
Ha (3-9): Liguori 13, McInerney 7, Allen 6, Reid 5, D. Abel 4, Mesol 3, Clark 3, G. Abel 1.
Half: 32-16, Long Reach.
Howard 64, River Hill 20
The Lions rattled off their 11th consecutive victory Friday night after handing the Hawks the loss on their home court.
Howard controlled the game from the opening tip, earning a 21-2 advantage after the first quarter and a 40-10 cushion by halftime.
Junior forward Taylor Addison continues her impressive season, recording team-highs in points (17), assists (five), steals (six) and rebounds (five) in just 18 minutes of action. Junior forward Madison Eich followed with nine points, while senior Emileigh Scott and junior Courtney Furr chipped in with eight points apiece. Scott netted a productive 4-of-5 from the floor and added two rebounds and two steals in 14 minutes. Junior forward Deonna Jones aided Howard with five points, four assists and five steals.
Sophomore guard Jules Grasso and junior guard Marissa Mazzella each recorded a team-high four points for River Hill.
The Hawks and Lions are back on the floor Jan. 18 with Howard visiting Wilde Lake and River Hill hosting Centennial for 5:30 p.m. matchups.
Ho (11-0): Addison 17, Eich 9, Scott 8, Furr 8, Jones 5, Malagar 4, Kinsey 4, M. Sanchez-Henry 4, Sagi 4, G. Sanchez-Henry 2.
RH (3-8): Grasso 4, Mazzella 4, E. Jackson 3, Thielman 2, King 2, Clark 2, Masker 2, King 2, Altman 2.
Half: 40-10, Howard.
Reservoir 44, Wilde Lake 22
The Gators picked up their second-straight win and third victory in four games after defeating the hosting Wildecats Friday night.
Reservoir held a 14-7 advantage after the opening eight minutes and decided to switch up its defense to limit freshman standout Kalani Corkeron at the end of the first quarter.
"Great call by assistant coach Whitney Snoops to go box-and-one on Corkeron in the second quarter," said Gators coach Deb Taylor. "Stopped her offensively and allowed us to steadily pull away."
Reservoir entered halftime with a 25-13 advantage and controlled the game from then on, outscoring Wilde Lake 19-9 in the second half.
The Gators dominated on the glass with sophomore Emily Dorn and junior Nia Powell leading the way. The two bigs combined for 30 rebounds.
Dorn finished with double-double (13 points, 14 rebounds) and added two assists and one block. Senior guard Kayla Wilson followed with 10 points, five rebounds, three steals and two assists, while senior guard Haley Tiller chipped in with seven points, five rebounds and one assist. Tiller also played well defensively, as she, along with Cassidy Pham and Clara Janush had the tough assignment of marking Corkeron.
"Our practices are intense right now," Taylor added. "The girls are doing things they couldn't do a month ago and we are playing with a high level of confidence. Practice is fun for us right now."
For the Wildecats, freshman Diamonique Service registered a team-high seven points, while Corkeron followed with six.
Wilde Lake and Reservoir are back in action Jan. 18 with the Wildecats hosting Howard and the Gators traveling to Glenelg. Both games are scheduled for a 5:30 p.m. tip.
Re (4-8): Dorn 13, Wilson 10, Tiller 7, Powell 4, Janush 4, Schuster 2, Fourney 2, Rowell 2.
WL (3-9): Service 7, Corkeron 6, Kostelec 4, Lee 3, Perry 2.
Howard County Times: Top stories
Half: 25-13, Reservoir.
Glenelg Country 37, Severn 32
GCS (7-1 IAAM B, 8-2)
S (2-4 IAAM B, 5-8)
Indian Creek 58, Chapelgate 36
IC (8-1 IAAM C, 13-2)
C (3-6 IAAM C, 5-7)