Oakland Mills senior Lily Eldridge talks about the Scorpions' 76-36 win over Winters Mill on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019.
Refocused and reenergized, Oakland Mills played like a team on a mission Thursday evening against Winters Mill.
The Scorpions, on the heels of back-to-back county losses last week, raced out to a 15-point lead in the opening five minutes and never slowed down on their way to a 76-36 victory over the Falcons for the team’s second straight non-league win by double digits.
“We knew that after last week we were going to drop in the rankings, and deservedly so, but that was absolutely motivation for us. We came back in practice, got our moxy back and found our energy again on the defensive end heading into our games this week,” said Oakland Mills coach Walt Hagins, whose team defeated Catonsville by 20 points on Wednesday to start the turnaround. “It’s a brand new season, we’re 0-0 and we talked about playing like the playoffs start now. The other day and tonight, we have been locked into the things that we do best.”
Oakland Mills (17-4) did just about everything well against Winters Mill (11-9). The Scorpions hit eight threes as a team, finished at the rim consistently, played swarming defense from start to finish, and created a running clock by the end of the third quarter.
Six players totaled at least four points, led by each member of the starting five finishing in double figures scoring. Kobie Scott-Pearson (20 points), Marley Grenway (14 points), Kiyah King (13 points), Jazmine Washington (13 points) and Aislynn Riggs (12 points, 14 rebounds and 8 blocks) all took turns carrying the offense.
Scorpions’ senior Lily Eldridge, who added four points off the bench, said that there was a certain level of personal pride in proving that last week wasn’t indicative of what this group is capable of.
“We just kind of came together and said, ‘You know what, we’re better than this.’ And we took it out on the court, that anger and frustration from last week’s games,” she said.
It was Grenway that set the tone right from the get go, hitting three 3-pointers in the first three minutes as part of an 18-3 run from the opening tip.
Larry Aaron III, a Marshall football player and Oakland Mills alumnus, spent his winter break with old friends and his girlfriend, including on New Year’s Eve. But that night his life took a violent turn.
By the end of the first quarter the lead was 25-9 and the lead had ballooned to 23 points, 37-14, by the midway point of the second quarter.
Winters Mill got some strong play from senior guard Kolby Brown (team-high nine points), but the Falcons never managed to string together more than two baskets in a row and that inability to make a run kept the momentum in Oakland Mills’ favor throughout.
Hagins praised his team’s killer instinct, something it has struggled with at times earlier this season.
“Staying tenacious regardless of what the scoreboard might say is something we’ve worked a lot on and some of our shortcomings in that area earlier this season, I take that squarely on my shoulders,” he said. “Film has taught us a lot about maintaining energy and not losing focus. The girls are holding me accountable and, in turn, us as coaches are doing the same for them.”
Oakland Mills 76, Winters Mill 36
OM (17-4): Scott-Pearson 20, Grenway 14, King 13, Washington 13, Riggs 12, Eldridge 4.