At the end of a stretch of four games in six days, all on the road, Oakland Mills coach Walt Hagins was worried about how much his team would have left in the tank heading into Wednesday’s matchup against undefeated Severna Park.
It didn’t take long, however, for his Scorpions to put those fears to rest.
Visiting Oakland Mills (6-0) outscored the Falcons by 12 points over the first 10 minutes of the game and never looked back en route to a convincing 58-38 victory.
“This was monumental because it demonstrates our mental toughness and the fortitude that we have, to be able to fight through fatigue and limited practice time to beat a good team,” Hagins said. “I actually thought our energy seemed a little low warming up and that worried me, but once the game started we reverted to our identity on the defensive end and that sparked our offense.”
Oakland Mills ended up putting four players — Jazmine Washington (18 points), Kiyah King (13 points), Aislynn Riggs (11 points, 12 rebounds and 9 blocks) and Marley Grenway (11 points) — in double figures scoring. Grenway, with a made jumper in the fourth quarter, eclipsed 1,000 points for her career.
But for all the scoring accolades, which also included 10 made 3-pointers as a team, it was undoubtedly the Scorpions’ defense that set the tone for the outcome of the game.
Severna Park (3-1) didn’t register its first points, a layup by Hailey Betch (6 points), until there was 3:15 left in the opening quarter. And it was another five minutes before the Falcons found the net again after that.
“I thought the key to winning was our defense and Aislynn Riggs having so many blocks,” King said. “She was the focal point of our defense, she got us energized, we ran the fast break really well, and they couldn’t keep up with us.”
It was King that hit a pair of threes in the latter stages of the second quarter to help Oakland Mills extend its cushion to 14 points at the half.
Severna Park did go on a mini 6-0 run to open the third quarter and temporarily cut its deficit to just eight points, but Oakland Mills answered with a 10-0 push.
“We put ourselves in just too large of a hole and it was a combination of things. We forced a lot of shots, rushed a lot of shots and really weren’t able to get settled in until the second half the game,” Severna Park coach Kristofer Dean said. “Credit Oakland Mills for some of it, they got their hands on some balls and shot lights out. But we didn’t make the necessary adjustments and hopefully it’s a learning experience for us.”
Severna Park never got back within single digits over the final 12 minutes of the game on the way to suffering its first loss of the year.
Junior Lena McLaughlin led the way with 11 points for the Falcons.
With a game against South River on tap for Friday, though, Dean said he’s confident in his squad’s ability to regroup.
“A game like this will help us in the long run. It did last year and it will this year,” he said. “We will be ready to go Friday and we will jump right back on that horse tomorrow. Our girls are very good about learning what they need to learn and then putting the past behind us.”
Oakland Mills, meanwhile, is off for over a week, with the team’s next game scheduled for Dec. 27 in its own holiday tournament.