Reservoir junior guard Natalie Verna talks about the Gators’ 52-43 win over River Hill on Jan. 31.
Reservoir put the finishing touches on a perfect month of January on Wednesday night, although it took battling through a fair share of adversity.
The Gators, which had trailed visiting River Hill by as many as 11 points in the first half, regrouped to tie the game by the end of the third quarter and then put together a 12-0 run early in the fourth to grab the lead for good on the way to a 52-43 victory.
Emily Dorn (15 points), Abby Bailey (12 points, 10 rebounds, 3 blocks) and Nia Powell (13 points, 9 rebounds, 3 blocks) all scored in double figures for the Gators in the win. After a 1-6 start, Reservoir (8-3, 10-6) has now rattled off nine straight victories.
“As I told the girls after the game, I certainly don’t like to be in a slow start situation, but the difference between this team and past teams is just I never lost confidence and I don’t think they did either,” Reservoir coach Deb Taylor said. “The score might have reflected that we were down 11, but there’s a belief with this group that it was just a matter of time before we figured things out and made the necessary adjustments. When we got to the second half, our kids stepped up and made plays.”
River Hill (4-7, 10-7) had managed to hold Reservoir to just 28 points through the first three quarters, using a mix of full-court pressure and traps in half-court sets to frustrate the Gators. But things changed in the fourth quarter, as Reservoir began finding open space, hitting the offensive glass and making shots on the way to 24 points over the final eight minutes.
“They were definitely pressing us … we hadn’t seen that type of pressure in awhile. Our shots weren’t going in and they were getting the rebounds [early],” said Reservoir junior Natalie Verna, who finished with a season-high seven points thanks to a 7-for-8 effort from the foul line. “So adjusting, and being able to box them out, allowed us to move our offense better and helped us make our shots.”
The Hawks, which were led by 14 points from Kennedy Clark, opened the game by scoring 12 of the first 14 points on the way to a 10-point lead. Reservoir made a couple small pushes, but by the midway point of the second quarter River Hill still held a comfortable 21-10 advantage.
Emily Masker (8 points) and Sarah Dawit (8 points) were both keys to the Hawks’ fast start.
But River Hill got into some foul trouble in the late stages of the opening half and Reservoir began to steal the momentum. The Gators ended up going into the break on a 9-0 run that cut their deficit to two, 21-19.
“Those last few minutes of the second quarter, with four of our girls on the bench with two fouls, that’s when the momentum shifted. We are a team that typically relies on rebounding and I thought things got away from us in that area,” River Hill coach Teresa Waters said. “I thought our kids played hard, but we just didn’t have our inside game … especially in the second half.”
The two teams traded blows in a low-scoring third quarter before things really picked up in the fourth. Clark opened the scoring in the final period with a banked-in 3-pointer to temporarily put the Hawks ahead by three, 31-28.
From there, though, it was all Reservoir. Bailey sandwiched a pair of mid-range jumpers around a 3-pointer from Dorn to kick-start the game’s decisive run that helped the Gators open up a double-digit advantage for the first time all evening.
Taylor said getting a breakout effort from Bailey, a freshman forward who came in averaging just three points a game, made the difference.
“The big adjustment for us was going back to our big line-up and having Abby Bailey step up huge tonight,” Taylor said. “She hasn’t played that much this year, but she was the difference with her ability to not only score but rebound. She allowed us to move Emily to the three and the whole feel of the game changed.”
River Hill never got closer than six points during the final four minutes of the game.
The Lions put four in double figures scoring and held the visiting Gladiators to just 13 points over the final three quarters, setting the stage for the team’s eighth straight win.
Taylor Addison was the leader for Howard with 22 points, eight rebounds and four steals, followed closely behind by Courtney Furr (16 points), Madison Burris (12) and Camille Malagar (10). As a team, the Lions hit eight 3-pointers.
Additionally, Howard held the county’s leading scorer Jess Foster (20.9 ppg) scoreless. Kellie Johnson and Katie LaPort finished as the leading scorers for Glenelg with nine points apiece.
Ho (10-1, 16-1): Addison 22, Furr 16, Burris 12, Malagar 10, Sanchez-Henry 5, Jones 3, Russell 3, Eich 3.
G (6-5, 11-5): Johnson 9, LaPort 9, LePage 5, Anderson 5.
Half: 40-21 Ho.
Long Reach 83, Oakland Mills 33
Lyric Swann scored a season-high 26 points, including five threes, and Kiana Williams was right behind her with 23 points, leading the way for the Lightning in a blowout victory. Arianna Briggs-Hall (18 points, 18 rebounds) and Jaelyn Swann (10) also scored in double figures in what is the team’s second largest margin of victory this winter.
LR (11-0, 12-1): L. Swann 26, Williams 23, Briggs-Hall 18, J. Swann 10, Proctor 4, Thompson 2.
OM (6-5. 10-7): Riggs 12, Washington 10, Grenway 8, Lightfoot 2, T. McDuffie1.
Half: 49-16 LR.
Marriotts Ridge 44, Atholton 43
The Mustangs, which led 32-27 at the end of the third quarter, held off a late push from the Raiders to earn the one-point victory. Hope Morath led the way with 10 points, while Hannah Bergquist chipped in with eight.
It was a free throw by Bergquist in the final seconds that served as the deciding point.
Kayla Beckwith led Atholton in the loss with 18 points before leaving with an ankle injury in the fourth quarter.