Marriotts Ridge got the opportunity to showcase just how far it’s come over the course of the last month, celebrating senior night with a 50-28 victory Thursday evening over a Hammond team it had lost to in early January.
Acadia Noll scored 10 points to lead an offensive effort that saw seven Mustangs finish with four or more points. But it was the team’s effort on the other end of the floor, holding Hammond to its second lowest offensive output of the season, that Bond said was the key to earning their most lopsided victory of the season.
“Our whole game plan starts with our defense and the last time we played them, we didn’t play good team defense. It’s something we’ve worked on a lot since then and the girls are really coming together, communicating and playing great help side defense,” Bond said. “I’m happy to see them showing how good they really are. The confidence level is coming up and it’s showing in their play.”
Marriotts Ridge (6-7, 10-9) has now won three of its last four games, officially putting a stretch where the team lost six out of seven games toward the end of January in the rear view mirror. Senior Hope Morath said the Mustangs’ ability to close out games is improving, referencing the loss against Hammond earlier this season where the team squandered a fourth-quarter lead in a three-point defeat.
“We played them earlier in the season and it was a close game, we were winning most of the game, and we just couldn’t pull it together in the end,” she said. “It feels good to know that later in the season, after playing a lot of other games and improving our skills, we were able to pull through and keep it together the whole game.”
Other strong contributors for Marriotts Ridge against Hammond this time around were Emma Morath (9 points), Brigit Crosby (7), Jenna Kohler (7) and Hope Morath (6).
Imani Reid ended up as the leading scorer in the loss for Hammond (2-12, 5-12), which dropped its eighth straight game.
The game was actually nip-and-tuck through much of the first half, with Marriotts Ridge holding just a slim 10-8 advantage at the end of the first quarter. The Mustangs put together a 12-4 surge during the middle of the second quarter, but Hammond still was within eight points going into halftime.
Then — following a pair of foul shots by Makenna Burns (9 points) in the opening minute of the third quarter — the Golden Bears were trailing by just six, 24-18.
However, that’s when Marriotts Ridge grabbed control for good. The Mustangs put together an extended 21-2 run between the last seven minutes of the third quarter and first three minutes of the fourth to open up a commanding 25-point advantage.
Six different players scored during that stretch and Marriotts Ridge amped up the pressure with its full-court zone press to force Hammond into a dozen turnovers.
“Tonight we did a great job of sustaining and not panicking. We were ready to take care of business, sticking to the things we do well in order to build our lead,” Bond said.
Marriotts Ridge never led by fewer than 20 points at any point in the fourth quarter.
The Mustangs will look to carry their momentum into a road match-up on Friday against River Hill, while Hammond hosts Glenelg.
Marriotts Ridge 50, Hammond 28
MR (6-7, 10-9): Noll 10, E. Morath 9, Crosby 7, Kohler 7, H. Morath 6, Conroy 5, Bryan 4, Levey 2.
Ha (2-12, 5-12): Reid 11, Burns 9, Allen 5, McInerney 2, Brown 1.
Half: 24-16 MR.
Centennial 63, Liberty 30
Stepping out of county play, the Eagles cruised to the win over the Lions behind huge games from Brook Anderson (18 points, 4 threes) and Rasa Welsh (14 points and 8 rebounds).
C (7-6, 11-8): Anderson 18, Welsh 14, Hamshey 10, Reese 8, Smith 6, Worthy 2, Lambert 2, Chausse 2, Dossett 1.
L: Thiem 9, Goetz 8, Bull 4, Kovack 4, Tignor 3, Nastos 2.
Half: 37-19 C.
Reach Brent Kennedy at email@example.com or follow him on twitter @BKBSunSports