Snake bit in close games through the first two weeks of the season, including three losses by four points or less, River Hill finally managed to turn the tide in its favor on Friday against Marriotts Ridge.
Saniha Jackson (10 points, 14 rebounds) and Emily Masker (11 points) each scored in double figures to lead the way for the Hawks, who held off a late Marriotts Ridge comeback to earn a 39-31 victory on the road.
“Tonight was huge for us … I feel like the kids really needed this win for morale after the way we lost a couple of those games,” River Hill coach Teresa Waters said. “We knew Marriotts Ridge has always played us really competitive — we lost to them [two] times last year and twice the year before — so we needed this result.”
Masker, who had a breakout effort after being held to six points or less in each of the team’s first four games, echoed the sentiment of her coach in terms of trying to use this game to change the momentum of the season.
“This was a big win for us to help get our mojo back. After two losses in a row, both by such small amounts, we were kind of down in the dumps. But today really turned it around,” Masker said.
River Hill (2-1, 2-3) also got strong efforts from Maggie O’Keefe (7 points) and Anihya Smith (6) in the victory. On the other side, Marriotts Ridge (2-1, 2-2) suffered its first county loss and was led by Emma Morath’s seven points.
The Mustangs had fallen behind by 11 points at one point in the third quarter, but rallied to close within four in the late stages of the fourth. Ultimately, however, the Hawks stayed composed and made enough plays to pull away for good.
“Our girls played super hard tonight, which is something I never have to worry about with this group. But we just struggled with our execution at times and gave up a few two many second chance opportunities in the second half,” Marriotts Ridge coach Sarah Miller said. “By the time we started figuring things out, we were a little too far behind.”
Defense was at the forefront for both teams throughout, with the two squads combining for just 11 points in the opening quarter. By the half, River Hill held a narrow 19-15 lead.
It was in those early stages of the second half, however, that the game was ultimately decided.
The Hawks outscored Marriotts Ridge 7-0 in the first seven minutes of the third quarter to create their first double-digit advantage.
“It starts with defense for us, and with the inconsistency of our offense right now, we absolutely have to continue to buy in on that end,” Waters said. “I thought we really competed defensively tonight and that was the difference.”
River Hill returns to action on Monday at home against Oakland Mills, while Marriotts Ridge will host Liberty that same day.
River Hill 39, Marriotts Ridge 31
RH (2-1, 2-3): Masker 11, Jackson 10, O’Keefe 7, Smith 6, Clark 3, Heitzman 2.
MR (2-1, 2-2): Morath 7, Bryan 6, Lee 6, Conroy 4, Miller 4, Colburn 4.
Half: 19-15 RH.
Centennial 57, Long Reach 49
Bouncing back from the team’s first loss of the season on Wednesday against Mt. Hebron, the Eagles handed the defending county-champion Lightning their second straight defeat.
Rasa Welsh led the way with 20 points and 7 rebounds, while Olivia Reese was right behind her with 14 points and 5 rebounds on 7-9 shooting from the floor. Centennial outscored Long Reach 20-14 in the fourth quarter.
Lyric Swann led the way for Long Reach in the loss with 19 points.
C (2-1, 2-1): Welsh 20, Reese 14, Dossett 7, Pearson 6, Anderson 5, Urquiaga 3, Molz 2.
LR (1-2, 1-2): L. Swann 19, Briggs-Hall 13, Richardson 8, J. Swann 4, Ford 4, Thompson 1.
Half: 24-17 C.
Howard 65, Mt. Hebron 42
The Lions stayed undefeated with a convincing win over the Vikings that saw Marisa Sanchez-Henry lead the way with 20 points and Gabby Scott notch a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Howard also got 10 points from Camille Malagar, who returned from an injury.
Tori Valentine led the Vikings in the loss with 13 points,
Ho (3-0, 4-0): Sanchez-Henry 20, Scott 16, Malagar 10, Harris 9, Durkee 8, Fritz 2.
MH (1-2, 1-3): Valentine 13, Chase 10, Oliver 8, Madden 5, Dixon 4, Williams 2.
Half: 34-23 Ho.
Reservoir 61, Canarsie (NY) 20
Stepping out of county play as part of the She Got Game Showcase Event, the Gators handed out-of-state opponent Canarsie (4-1) their first loss.
Emily Dorn continued her stellar play with 24 points and 5 rebounds, while Tiffany Hooker (13 points, 5 assists) and Kate Abunassar (10) also finished in double figures scoring. Abby Bailey chipped in with 6 points and 14 rebounds.
Re (3-1): Dorn 24, Hooker 13, Abunassar 10, Bailey 6, Verna 3, Hawkins 2, Fourney 2, Turner 1.
Hammond 48, Glenelg 30
Nyelle Allen had a breakout game with 22 points and the Golden Bears won their second straight county contest and third straight game overall. Imani Reid also chipped in with 12 points in the victory over the Gladiators, who were led by nine points from Olivia LePage.
Ha (2-1, 3-1): Allen 22, Reid 12, Liguori 5, Fogle 4, Brown 3, Thomas 2.
G (0-3, 0-4): LePage 9, Gillespie 7, Prezelski 5, Tolbert 4, Caster 2, Hirsch 2, Salafia 1.
Half: 18-11 Ha.
Oakland Mills 56, Wilde Lake 14
The Scorpions stayed undefeated, breaking things open in the second half after leading by only 11 points at the break. Kiyah King led all scorers with 20 points, including four made 3-pointers.
OM (3-0, 3-0): King 20, Washington 10, Grenway 8, Scott-Pearson 7, McDuffie 4, Riggs 4, Eldridge 3.
WL (0-3, 0-3): Swaby-Rowe 8, Corkeron 5, Richards 1.
Half: 19-8 OM.
Reach Brent Kennedy at email@example.com or follow him on twitter @BKBSunSports