Oakland Mills junior Aislynn Riggs talks about the Scorpions’ 48-41 win over Marriotts Ridge on Jan. 5.
A timely fourth quarter run and a handful of defensive stops down the stretch proved to be just enough for Oakland Mills to remain undefeated in county play on Friday night.
The Scorpions, which got big games from Aislynn Riggs (16 points, 11 rebounds and 5 blocks), Jazmine Washington (16 points) and Marley Grenway (12 points), scored eight unanswered points midway through the final period to establish a lead they never lost the rest of the way en route to a 48-41 victory.
On the way to a 5-0 county record and 8-2 mark overall thus far, Oakland Mills has now won six games by eight points or less.
“I really think some of our earlier narrow victories are really helping us. We’re not the kind of team right now that is going to blow out teams, but we talk all the time about if we stick to rebounding and playing our blue-collar basketball, then we are going to put ourselves in position to win games,” Oakland Mills coach Walt Hagins said. “This group never stops playing and, even though we are a young group, we seem to be gaining confidence with every game.”
Against the Mustangs (2-3, 4-5), Riggs was particularly clutch in the closing minutes. The junior forward scored nine of her team’s final 12 points, all coming on either lay-ups or foul shots after grabbing offensive rebounds.
“Being the only big [girl] on the team it’s essential for me to crash the boards,” Riggs said. “I kind of wasn’t doing that in the first half, but I picked it up and got the rebounds and put-backs. I think that’s what brought us to our victory.”
The first half ended with the two teams tied at 23-23, but it was a tale of two quarters.
Oakland Mills was in complete control at the onset, taking a 20-9 lead after the first quarter on the strength of 10 early points from Grenway.
But Marriotts Ridge made some adjustments and picked up the defensive energy to outscore the Scorpions 14-3 in the second quarter to even things up.
“We had been doing a lot of standing around at the beginning, so we talked about needing to move our feet and turn the defense up,” Marriotts Ridge coach David Bond said. “Honestly, for us, our focus is defense. We don’t have a ton of girls that are great scorers, but when we are playing well our greatest strength is our ability to prevent the other team from scoring.”
The third quarter was nip-and-tuck, with each team holding the lead and neither squad scoring more than two baskets in a row. Oakland Mills ended up heading into the fourth quarter with a 35-33 lead.
Marriotts Ridge then got a steal and lay-up from Mallory Conroy (11 points) in the first 10 seconds of the final period to tie the score at 35.
But from there, Oakland Mills rattled off eight straight points — six from the foul line — to take control for good.
“I’m very proud of them, because we had some adversity tonight losing both our starting guards [Washington and Tyasia McDuffie] to injuries in the fourth quarter,”Hagins said, “But we stuck together and managed to pull through.”
The Gators won their second straight county game and did so in convincing fashion, with Emily Dorn (24 points, 12 rebounds, 4 steals) and Nia Powell (17 points, 13 rebounds, 5 steals and 3 blocks) each registering a double double.
Overall, Reservoir led the entire second half and answered every Mt. Hebron run. The Gators outrebounded Mt. Hebron 47-23.
“We played the most composed we have all season, with strong possessions to exploit their match-ups and find the mismatch. I’m incredibly proud of them,” Reservoir coach Deb Taylor said.
Hydeinah Moore (9 points, 16 rebounds) and Kate Abunassar (6 points, 3 assists) also had standout games in the win. Satori Valentine led Mt. Hebron in the loss with 16 points.
Re (2-3, 3-6): Dorn 24, Powell 17, Moore 9, Abunassar 6, Fourney 2, Verna 2.
C (2-3, 5-5): Anderson 13, Welsh 10, Molz 7, Dossett 4, Worthy 2.
Half: 33-21 Ho.
Long Reach 58, Atholton 51
Long Reach was tested throughout, as the Raiders were ahead by one after three quarters, but the Lightning pulled away down the stretch thanks to winning the fourth quarter 17-9 to stay undefeated. Lyric Swann (24 points), Jaelyn Swann (14) and Arianna Briggs-Hall (12) all scored in double figures to lead the team’s offense.
Kayla Beckwith scored 21 points to lead the way for Atholton in the loss.
LR (5-0, 6-0): L. Swann 24, J. Swann 14, Briggs-Hall 12, Thompson 4, Williams 4.
The Gladiators finished strong after trailing at the half to win the team’s sixth straight game. Jess Foster scored a game-high 13 points, but Kellie Johnson (10 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals), Alex Anderson (8 points, 7 rebounds) and Katie LaPort (8 points) were all standouts as well.
Coach Chris Beil also praised the defensive effort coming off the bench from Leya Prezelski.
G (4-1, 8-1): Foster 13, Johnson 10, Anderson 8, LaPort 8, Prezelski 5, Gillespie 3.
RH (2-3, 8-3): S. Jackson 10, Dawitt 8, Clark 8, Altman 6, Masker 6.