Reservoir senior Nia Powell talks about the Gators’ 47-32 win over Atholton on Feb. 9.
A Reservoir team known for its strength on the interior this winter showcased some versatility on Friday night against Atholton.
Locked in a tie game against the visiting Raiders late in the third quarter, the Gators proceeded to hit three big 3-point shots over a span of five minutes to set the stage for what ended up being a runaway 47-32 victory.
Emily Dorn (16 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals) and Nia Powell (10 points and 15 rebounds) each had double doubles, helping Reservoir avenge an eight-point loss in December against Atholton. The Gators finished the game Friday on a 20-5 run.
“I think tonight was a little bit mental more than anything else for some of the kids … our guards were so focused on getting it into the post early on that they were hesitating to shoot. So that was the key I thought down the stretch, them stepping up and shooting with confidence,” Reservoir coach Deb Taylor said. “Tiffany [Hooker] hit a huge one, Kate [Abunassar] hit a huge one and Emily, playing at the three, also hit a really big one. We hit those shots and then everything opened back up for us inside.”
Behind Dorn and Powell, Abby Bailey had nine points to go along with Hooker and Abunassar each adding five points for a Reservoir (9-5, 12-8) squad that bounced back nicely from a loss against Long Reach three days earlier. With a pair of games left in the regular season, the Gators have now locked up the second seed in Section I of the 3A East region.
Powell said afterward prevailing against Atholton, which is in the same section for the upcoming playoffs, was an important step.
“We have grown a lot of confidence from December through now and we know how to like play in tight games and still apply pressure. They are in our [region] and Atholton is a great team, and it just comes down to us being able to stay focused and play [together] no matter what,” she said.
Atholton (5-9, 7-12), which has now lost three straight games, was the aggressor early on and jumped out to a 6-2 lead in the opening two minutes. The Raiders still had a 13-11 lead by the end of the first quarter and, following a back-and-forth second quarter, the game was tied at the half at 19-19.
Zhuri Cannon (11 points) and Natalie Blair (8) each provided big baskets during those first 16 minutes to keep the Raiders in good position.
But, after things remained tight for much of the third quarter, Reservoir found another gear. Things started with a layup by Abby Bailey and then Dorn followed with a 3-pointer from the wing to put the Gators ahead 32-27 at the end of the third period.
Then Hooker hit a three on the first possession of the fourth quarter and Reservoir never looked back.
“I think we made a couple bad decisions, a couple turnovers and we just didn’t execute the way we needed to in a big game like this. These close games, every possession matters and tonight Reservoir did a great job maximizing their possessions late in the game and making the big shots,” Atholton coach Julia Reynold said. “There’s no question that this was a tough one.”
During the final 10 minutes of the game, Atholton scored just one field goal — a jumper by Cannon with 6:35 left in the fourth quarter.
Kiana Williams recorded the first triple-double of her career, scoring 30 points, grabbing 14 rebounds and dishing out 11 assists to lead the way for a Lightning team that stayed undefeated in county play. Lyric Swann (21 points) and Arianna Briggs-Hall (20 points) also had huge offensive games.