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Boys basketball: Marriotts Ridge storms into tie for first place

All season, Marriotts Ridge has prided itself on a "bend, but don't break" mantra.

So Wednesday night, after watching Centennial close the first quarter on a 15-0 run to open up a double-digit lead, Mustangs coach Mike Coughlan pulled his team aside and kept things positive.

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"At this point, I have complete faith in the kids," Coughlan said. "No matter what the situation, what the score is, if we stay the course, I believe good things are going to happen. We were down 10, but it was early."

Sure enough, the Mustangs stuck to the game plan, grabbed the lead on a 3-pointer by B.J. Durham right before halftime and never trailed again on their way to a 68-57 victory on the road.

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D.J. Tucker, who didn't play the entire first quarter because he had missed a practice, was at the forefront of the comeback. The forward came off the bench to score 20 points and grab nine rebounds, ultimately helping the Mustangs pull themselves into a tie with Centennial for first place in the county standings at 12-2.

"I took it upon myself to do something to bring us back … I just turned it on and it seems like when I get going, my teammates get going," Tucker said.

Marriotts Ridge started fast Wednesday, grabbing a 9-4 advantage in the first two minutes. That, however, is when Centennial caught fire.

Behind the duo of Keonte Potts (25 points) and Omari Ringgold (20), the Eagles closed the opening quarter with 15 straight points to open up a 19-9 lead.

"We definitely made a nice run there after they started hot," Centennial coach Chad Hollwedel said. "But it seemed like once we got the lead we became content almost and started doing things we normally don't do, like being careless with the ball."

Whether it was Centennial's turnovers, or the Mustangs simply getting Tucker into the mix, the momentum clearly changed in the second quarter. Behind eight points from Tucker, along with a couple threes by Durham (10 points), Marriotts Ridge won the second quarter 17-6 to take a 26-25 lead into the break.

"(Tucker) obviously energized them, there's no doubt about it," Hollwedel said. "When he's in the game, versus when he's out of the game, it's a completely different game."

Marriotts Ridge carried the momentum over into the second half, with Arjun Patel (14 points) scoring seven unanswered points to open up an eight-point advantage.

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Just as the wheels seemed to be coming off, Potts did his best to temporarily steady the Centennial ship. With a variety of lay-ups and jumpers, the Eagles' senior rattled off eight straight points to tie the game at 33.

After a timeout, though, Marriotts Ridge got back to business. This time it was the supporting cast that chipped in. Sean Harrison, Ryan Miller and R.J. Bryant all made baskets during a 14-6 Mustang spurt to close the quarter.

"It's a team game and we got some huge minutes there when D.J. and Arjun both got in some foul trouble in the third," Coughlan said.

Then, in the fourth, Tucker took over to put the game away. In a span of six minutes, he scored 12 points and helped Marriotts Ridge (12-2, 15-2) blow the lead out to 15 points, 61-46.

Centennial (12-2, 13-4) was never within single digits during the final seven minutes.

"I don't know how many people honestly gave us a chance to win this one … I feel like everyone keeps waiting for us to fall off," Coughlan said. "But I believe and these kids believe, and they came through."

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Centennial, meanwhile, still owns a piece of first place even with the loss. Hollwedel says it's crucial to have a short memory right now with Long Reach looming on Friday.

"We, at this point, still control our fate," Hollwedel said. "(Marriotts Ridge) came out tonight and they looked like a team that knew that they had to win … while we looked like we might have felt comfortable in first place. I think that's a great message for these kids to learn now with five games left in the regular season."

Marriotts Ridge 68, Centennial 57

MR (12-2, 15-2): Tucker 20, Patel 14, Durham 10, Davis 8, Harrison 6, Delaney 4, Miller 3, Bryant 2, Williams 1.

C (12-2, 13-4): Potts 25, Ringgold 20, Goldsmith 6, Tinuoye 4, Eads 2.

Half: 26-25 MR.

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Other scores:

Wilde Lake 68, Mt. Hebron 67

WL (11-3, 14-3): Handy 8, Devaughn Garner 15, Dante Garner 20, Barnes 10, Mynatt 8, Parris 5, Williams 2.

MH (6-8, 7-8): Moses 28, Gilmore 12, Mohilchock 11, Jenkins 6, Shade 5, Woodard 3.

Half: 36-24 WL.

Long Reach 58, River Hill 48

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LR (8-6, 9-8): Nowlin 14, Taylor 11, Allmond 10, Brown 9, Hargrove 8, Betters 4, Fisk 2.

RH (2-12, 2-15): Moody 21, Thomas 12, Ruben 6, Qiu 4, Sandler 4, Richardson 2.

Half: 28-25 LR.

Reservoir 50, Hammond 48

Re (6-8, 7-9): Usher 12, Booth 11, Reilly 11, Christian 3, Epps 3, Kevan 3, Sponsky 3, Jackson 2, Toler 2.

Ha (5-9, 6-11): Turner 26, Green 10, Echols 6, Lashley 6.

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Half: 31-23 Re.

Howard 62, Atholton 49

Ho (5-9, 5-12): Alexander 20, K. Hawkins 19, J. Bartnik 10, D. Bartnik 10, Marsh 3.

A (8-6, 11-6): Stephenson 17, Fitzpatrick 12, Bernetti 10, Shapiro 4, Acker 2, Martin 2, McMahon 2.

Half: 22-21 Ho.

Glenelg 71, Oakland Mills 67

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G (5-9, 5-12): Spurrier 31, Tolbert 14, Mirano 8, Randle 7, Hammert 5, Chahine 4, Oates 2.

OM (4-10, 6-11): Manns 31, N. Zayatz 10, J. Zayatz 10, Bradley 6, Dent 5, Madden-Stricker 3, Lee 1, Tapscott 1.

Half: 32-29 OM.

National Christian 76, Chapelgate 44

NC (14-7): Davis 12, Douglas 12, Norfleet 12, Thomas 9, Kadiri 8, Kahindo 7, Moore 7, Norfleet 5, Hargrave 4.

Ch (5-9, 9-14): Harris-Winn 16, Obi 8, Sikka 6, Grandy 5, Lawrence 4, Frierson 3, Russell 2.

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Half: 37-21 NC.

Chapelgate 64, Friends (Balt.) 63 (Tuesday)

Ch (5-9, 9-13): Frierson 12, Lawrence 3, Harris-Winn 25, Grandy 16, Rolewicz 6, Sikka 2.

F: Jones 14, Tilley 4, Roephie 2, Warren 7, Orrson 6, Essien 8, Gross 10, Filer 12.

Half: 34-23 Ch.


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