It took a quarter on Friday night for Hammond to get going against visiting Howard. But once the Golden Bears hit their stride, they never slowed down.
Jarvis Doles scored a game-high 24 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, while Brandon Willis added 18 points and 5 assists, to lead the way as Hammond (1-0) earned a 78-55 victory on opening night.
“I think there were some jitters and the guys feeling like they had to come out right away like they had something to prove. But I reminded them, they don’t have to prove anything, they just had to come out and play basketball,” Hammond coach Mike Salapata said. “When we settled down, started playing defense and were able to get out and go, it was fun to watch.”
Howard (0-1) had set the tone out of the gates behind some inspired play from DJ Dawkins (16 points) and George Greene (16). The Lions’ senior duo combined for 12 points during an opening run out to a 15-8 advantage by the midway point of the opening quarter.
By the end of the quarter, Howard still led 21-15.
But Hammond found its rhythm early in the second period and it was Willis that provided the spark. Back-to-back threes cut into the deficit and then, with 2:10 left before halftime, a driving lay-up gave the Golden Bears their first lead of the night, 28-26.
“It was just a lot of effort. We had to play team basketball, move the ball around and get stops …,” Willis said. “(For me) it was just relaxing, staying calm and shooting rhythm shots.”
By the time the half came to a close, Hammond had rattled off 14 straight points to hold a 35-26 advantage.
Then early in the second half, as Doles and Terrell Lamar (8 points) got going, the lead extended out to double digits. By the end of the third quarter, the Golden Bears’ lead was 55-40 and Howard never managed to get closer than14 the rest of the way.
After surrendering 21 points in the first eight minutes, Hammond allowed just 34 the rest of the game.
“It all comes down to defense and we’ve been talking about that since the first scrimmage. Scoring the ball is not going to be a problem for us, so playing with that energy on the defensive end is the key,” Salapata said. “It almost seemed like these guys needed that first quarter to get kicked in the mouth and then they started playing. Those last three quarters were what we need over the course of an entire game going forward.”
In the win, Hammond also got strong games from Matt Johnson (13 points) and Ryan Ridgell (9).
Howard, meanwhile, also saw Patrick O’Malley score in double figures with 11 points.
Hammond 78, Howard 55
Ha (1-0): Doles 24, Willis 18, Johnson 13, Ridgell 9, Lamar 8, J. Thomas 2, L. Thomas 2, Aja 1, Gordon 1.
Ho (0-1): DJ Dawkins 16, Greene 16, O’Malley 11, Ajayi 3, Shuart 3, D. Dawkins 3, Phillips 2, Scates 1.
Centennial 37, River Hill 35
Javon Smith hit the game-winning free throws with 1.2 seconds left in regulation.
Read the STORY ABOUT THE GAME.
C (1-0): Brown 16, Smith 8, Hohmann 6, Merkey 3, Fowler 3, White 1.
RH (0-1): DeSimone 13, Clark 6, Mitchell 4, Robinson 3, Martin 3, Ndiritu 3, Daniels 3.
Half: 17-14 C.
Reservoir 54, Mt. Hebron 48
The Vikings used a 20-point third quarter to get itself back in the game and create a tight affair down the stretch. Ultimately the Gators balance of having four guys with eight or more points was enough to pull out the opening-night win.
Re (1-0): G. Garcia 11, J. Garcia 9, Phillips 8, Miller 8, Payne 6, Weith 4, Carey 4, Omorogbe 2, Winters 2.
MH (0-1): Horton 15, Bates 10, Schroder 8, Linsenmeyer 6, Madden 6, Lawson 3.
Half: 30-16 Re.
Oakland Mills 69, Wilde Lake 45
The Scorpions only led by two at the half and by six after three quarters, but outscored the host Wildecats by 18 in the final quarter to win going away. Daniel Kiely led Oakland Mills with 21 points, while Naquan Williams-Day added 18 (including a pair of threes).
Bamiba Stubblefield led Wilde Lake in the loss with 17 points.
OM (1-0): Kiely 21, Williams-Day 18, Aaron 11, Hopkins 9, Wheelock 4, Estep 3, Smith 2, Harris 1.
WL (0-1): Stubblefield 17, Cantwell 12, Lampte 5, Ichrist 4, Robinson 3, Boateng 2, Samuels 1, David 1.
Glenelg 63, Long Reach 58
The Gladiators were up 20 going into the fourth quarter before the Lightning battled back to get all the way within one with a minute to go. Ultimately, the comeback fell short and Glenelg earned the opening-night win on the road.
Trevor Winn had a team-high 16 points in the win for the Gladiators, while TreVon Morgan had a double-double (16 points, 10 rebounds) for Long Reach.
G (1-0): Winn 16, Currie 10, Powell 9, Koele 7, Walsh 7, Mills 7, Piwowarski 5, Coburn 2.
LR (0-1): Brodnax 10, Brown 2, Dix 7, Menusan 14, Morgan 16, Parham 4, Wright 5.
Half: 32-24 G.
Atholton 58, Marriotts Ridge 25
A (1-0): James 9, Waterworth 7, Mendelsohn 6, Rodgers 6, Mercilliott 6, Washington 5, Mason 5, Myers 4, Jackson 4, Perlin 4, Brewer 2.
MR (0-1): Heard 2, Talentino 6, Whitacre 3, McIntyre 2, Wright 3, Ingersoll 5, Grieger 2, Morath 2.
Half: 25-10 A.
Glenelg Country 53, Pallotti 47
The Dragons improved to 3-1 overall and 2-1 in MIAA A Conference play with the victory.
Gerstell 63, Chapelgate 53 (Wednesday)
G: Washington 16, Borden 7, J. Gardner 15, L. Gardner 14, Bissen 3, Tillery 5, Carpenter 3.
CCA (0-1, 2-5): Hughes 17, McCray 15, Murphy 7, Graves 5, Ball 4, Mitchell 3, McEachin 2.
Half: 33-20 G.