Long Reach travels to Oakland Mills for a Howard County boys basketball game on Friday, Feb. 19. (Brent Kennedy and Ulysses Munoz / BSMG)
In front of a packed house on senior night, Oakland Mills put on a show Friday against visiting Long Reach.
Senior Daniel Kiely scored a game-high 27 points, leading an effort that saw huge games from Naquan Williams-Day (23 points) and Larry Aaron (12 points, 11 rebounds) as well, on the way to the Scorpions earning a 91-70 victory. The win secures Oakland Mills (17-1, 19-2) at least a share of this year's county title.
"Tonight was exceptionally fun and we were rolling. And it was even more special because we got all those seniors in, got them in the flow of the game early and we were just unbelievable. Everything we threw up was going in," said Oakland Mills coach Jon Browne, whose team led by 29 points at the half and as many as 37 in the third quarter. "The unselfishness, the finishing at the rim and our defense was all at an all-time high tonight."
Afterward Aaron added that the team had plenty of motivation on top of it just being senior night, as Long Reach (9-9, 10-11) is a neighborhood rival and the Scorpions are trying to keep their momentum up going toward playoffs.
"We definitely had to come out here and get the win. It was a big game, Friday night, Long Reach … that's our rival right there and they've been talking all week," said Aaron, who has now scored in double figures in four straight games. "Once we were scoring early and then Daniel hit those two crazy dunks (in the second quarter), we knew it was going to get popping."
Oakland Mills was indeed firing on all cylinders right from the get go, opening the game on a 14-5 run and then pushing the lead to 13, 25-12, at the end of the first quarter.
The Scorpions defensive pressure wreaked havoc all evening, especially in the second quarter where the team scored almost all its points on transition lay-ups or dunks. Oakland Mills closed the half on a 9-0 run to take a 56-27 lead into intermission.
The team's largest lead came with 1:33 left in the third quarter following a lay-up by Jordan Campbell (7 points) that made it 76-39.
Long Reach did make things respectable late behind the sophomore duo of Chad Brown (24 points) and Tre Morgan (23), who helped the Lightning win the fourth quarter 24-13.
Oakland Mills is back in action on Saturday against Wilde Lake at home in a game that is scheduled to tip at 2 p.m. A win in that game, which is the last of the regular season for the Scorpions, would secure sole possession of the program's first county title since the 2012-13 season.
"We're starting to talk about playoffs man, and we needed a playoff effort tonight and, quite frankly, we need another one tomorrow," Browne said. "Our sights are on that No. 1 seed, which we currently hold, and in the back of our mind we also want that (county championship) hardware all to ourselves. Tomorrow is going to be another big game as we try to bring home that county title that has eluded us in the last couple years."
Oakland Mills 91, Long Reach 70
OM (17-1, 19-2): Kiely 27, Williams-Day 23, Aaron 12, T. Hopkins 9, Campbell 7, McFadden 4, Harris 3, Wheelock 2, Rondon 2, J. Hopkins 2.
LR (9-9, 10-11): Chad Brown 24, Morgan 23, Dix 8, Brodnax 7, Menusan 5, Parham 3.
Half: 56-27 OM.
Chapelgate 58, Liberty 52
In a non-conference game on senior night, the Yellowjackets used a big second half to come-from-behind for a six-point victory.
Earl Mitchell (17 points), Jason Murphy (16) and LeRome Ball (13) all finished in double figures scoring to lead the way. For Murphy, a freshman, the 16 points were a season high.
Chapelgate had jumped ahead by two, 7-5, following a low-scoring first quarter. However, Liberty kicked things into a different gear in the second on the strength of five threes to open up its largest lead of the night 29-18.
After intermission, though, the Yellowjackets began clawing their way back. The team opened the second half on a 7-0 run and ended up grabbing the lead back in the early stages of the fourth quarter following a three by Ball.
Liberty certainly didn't go quietly, as Nick Tilson (team-high 14 points) hit three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, but Chapelgate managed an answer for every run. The Yellowjackets got some key lay-ups from Murphy, some solid foul shooting from Blake Hatcher and a dunk from Mitchell in the final four minutes.
Following a pair of foul shots by Hatcher with 16 seconds left, Chapelgate had its largest lead of the game, 58-49.
In a game that ended up being called with 33 seconds left on the clock because of an altercation on the court, the Gators ended up on top and were in control throughout. Reservoir was up by as many as 29 points, 47-18, at one point.
Judge Payne led the way in the win with 13 points.
Re (8-10, 9-12): Payne 13, G. Garcia 8, J. Garcia 6, Phillips 5, Miller 5, Ricketts 5, Akinbinu 4, Omorgbe 4, Winters 2.
RH (4-13, 5-15): Mitchell 9, Martin 9, Krause 5, Isaac 3, DeSimone 2, Hraky 2.
Centennial 55, Atholton 53
A couple big foul shots late by Elijah White (8 points) helped secure the victory in a nail biter on the road for the Eagles. Tom Brown led the way with a game-high 19 points for Centennial, including 10 in the fourth quarter.
C (11-6, 13-7): Brown 19, Merkey 9, White 8, Fowler 6, Hohmann 5, Addisu 4, Fant 2, Smith 2,
The Gladiators continued their recent string of strong play, winning its seventh county game in the last eight times out. Glenelg used a big third quarter to open up a 51-37 lead and then held on down the stretch.
Trevor Winn finished with 21 points to lead Glenelg, while George Greene had 21 to lead Howard.
G (10-7, 11-9): Winn 21, Walsh 12, Koele 10, Powell 10, Currie 8, Piwowarski 5, Mills 5, Davis 2.