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River Hill girls basketball stays hot with 53-30 win over Atholton

A resurgent River Hill program kept its momentum going in the right direction on Friday night on the road against Atholton.

Saniha Jackson led the way with a double-double (16 points, 14 rebounds and 7 steals), while Kennedy Clark (13 points) and Aniyha Smith (10 points, 7 rebounds and 6 steals) joined her in double figures scoring, for a Hawks’ team that never trailed on its way to a convincing 53-30 victory over the Raiders.

It’s the third straight county victory for River Hill (6-3, 9-5) — and seventh win its last eight games — as the team continues its pace to achieve the program’s first winning county record since the 2013-14 season.

“We’re just working as a group and really feeding off one another,” River Hill coach Teresa Waters said. “I’m excited about the track we’re on and I’m proud of these kids. They are giving me everything I’m asking for and the results are coming. But at the same time, it’s my job to keep them in the present and not let them get ahead of themselves.”

Jackson, who leads the way in scoring this winter for the Hawks with an average of 13.6 points a game, said she thinks the turnaround this year is simply about the team realizing its potential.

“I believe there was always talent on our team, but we just learned how to really use it,” Jackson said. “We’ve noticed each other’s strengths and are hitting each other in the right spots.”

Against Atholton (1-8, 3-11), River Hill was spreading the ball around from the very beginning. Maggie O’Keefe hit a driving layup on the team’s first possession and the Hawks methodically built its lead from there.

River Hill pulled ahead by nine, 14-5, at the end of the first quarter and increased that lead to 26-9 at halftime. The Hawks did go four minutes without a point in the second quarter, but were able to buckle down defensively during that stretch to maintain its advantage.

“We had our struggles today, but the big thing was that we still played through it,” Waters said. “Execution is still something that we are really focusing on, working to get more consistency with, and that’s why we have to continue to buy into defense first.”

Atholton, meanwhile, lost its third straight game. The Raiders, who fell behind by as many as 28 points in the early stages of the fourth quarter, were led on the evening by Zhuri Cannon (11 points) and Alex Hargrett (9 points).

Coach Julia Reynold said her team simply never managed to get itself into its offensive sets in the early stages, struggling with turnovers and quick shots.

“Our passes were terrible and it got very sloppy. We just were unable to stay composed and play the way I know we can,” she said. “Our mental mistakes and decision making is something we have to continue to learn from and even during the course of tonight’s game, I thought we improved in the second half. It can get discouraging, but it’s critical at this point in the season that we continue to fight on.”

Both teams are now off for more than a week because of exams, with River Hill returning to action on Jan. 28 against City.

River Hill 53, Atholton 30

RH (6-3, 9-5): Jackson 16, Clark 13, Smith 10, Masker 6, Patel 4, O’Keefe 2, Devine 2.

A (1-8, 3-11): Cannon 11, A. Hargrett 9, Sowah 8, Munro 2.

Half: 26-9 RH.

Other scores:

Reservoir 59, Marriotts Ridge 49

After leading by just two at the end of three quarters, the Gators pulled away down the stretch to win by 10 thanks to a 23-point fourth quarter. Tiffany Hooker scored eight of her team-high 20 points in that final period and finished the game with 5 assists and 6 steals.

Emily Dorn (15 points, 8 rebounds), Kate Abunassar (11 points, three 3-pointers) and Maddy Davis (8 points) all had big efforts as well for Reservoir, which has now won seven games in a row. Coach Deb Taylor also credited Daniah Moultrie for providing huge minutes in the post when Dorn and Abby Bailey were saddled with foul trouble, along with Nat Verna for being the team’s floor leader with 4 rebounds, 3 assists and a “huge charge taken.”

Emma Morath led Marriotts Ridge with 13 points in the loss.

Re (8-1, 11-2): Hooker 20, Dorn 15, Abunassar 11, Davis 8, Bailey 4, Moultrie 1.

MR (3-5, 5-9): Morath 13, Bryan 10, Conroy 6, Lee 5, Miller 5, Crawford 5, Kohler 3, Held 2.

Half: 27-24 Re.

Oakland Mills 57, Centennial 46

Trailing at the half by two points, the Scorpions responded by outscoring the Eagles 21-6 in the third quarter to grab the lead for good. Kiyah King (15 points), Marley Grenway (12), Aislynn Riggs (12) and Jazmine Washington (11) all finished in double figures scoring.

Brook Anderson paced Centennial with 11 points.

OM (8-1, 12-1): King 15, Grenway 12, Riggs 12, Washington 11, Scott-Pearson 4, Eldridge 3.

C (3-6, 5-7): Anderson 11, Welsh 10, Pearson 8, Dossett 8, Reese 4, Molz 4, Pellegrini 1.

Half: 22-20 C.

Howard 65, Hammond 39

The Lions used one of their highest-scoring first halves of the season to separate themselves from the Golden Bears at home. Marisa Sanchez-Henry (14 points), Camille Malagar (14), Anii Harris (13) and Lily Fritz (10) all finished in double figures scoring for Howard in the win.

Nyelle Allen had 16 points to lead the way for Hammond.

Ho (7-2, 11-2): Sanchez-Henry 14, Malagar 14, Harris 13, Fritz 10, Scott 7, Spalding 2, Schluederberg 2, Russell 2, Denicola 1.

Ha (4-4, 7-5): Allen 16, Reid 9, Liguori 5, Fogle 4, Thomas 3, Julius-Khumbah 2.

Half: 43-24 Ho.

Long Reach 57, Wilde Lake 29

The Lightning won their sixth straight county game, building a 32-17 lead by halftime and never looking back. Lyric Swann (20 points, 6 steals, 4 assists) led the way, but big contributions came from the entire roster.

Jalyn Richardson scored a season-high 12 points and added 5 rebounds and 3 assists. Jaelyn Swann (12 points, 6 rebounds), Rebecca Ford (7 points, 8 rebounds) and Haley Thompson (2 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists) all stuffed the stat sheet as well.

Mia Swaby-Rowe had nine points to lead Wilde Lake.

LR (7-2, 7-4): L. Swann 20, Richardson 12, J. Swann 12, Ford 7, Proctor 2, Thompson 2, Watkins 2.

WL (0-9, 1-12): Swaby-Rowe 9, Corkeron 7, Zimmerman 6, Johnson 4, Mullican 3.

Half: 32-17 LR.

Mt. Hebron 56, Glenelg 29

Big games from Tori Valentine (17 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists and 6 steals) and Clarke Oliver (12 points) helped spark the Vikings to the bounce-back victory.

Alex Anderson and Olivia LePage scored six points apiece to lead Glenelg.

MH (5-4, 8-6): Valentine 17, Oliver 12, Madden 8, Chase 7, Milano 5, Williams 4, Rodriguez 3.

G (1-8, 2-12): Anderson 6, LePage 6, Tolbert 5, Gillespie 4, Coburn 3, Salafia 3, Hirsch 2.

Half: 24-13 MH.

Reach Brent Kennedy at bkennedy@baltsun.com or follow him on twitter @BKBSunSports

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