Junior Kara Hight scored 23 of the Scorpions’ points in 46-36 victory. (VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS HERE!)
Each time the Lions threatened to cut the game close in the second half, Hight had an answer. The junior scored 12 straight points during a 6:30 minute stretch in the second half and helped No. 14 Oakland Mills knock off Howard, 46-36, in the VSN/FOX45 Game of the Week.
“I really wanted to win tonight. I was just focused and like I’ve said before, it just starts in warm-ups,” said Hight. “I knew it was going to be a really tough game but we figured out what they were trying to do and executed.”
Hight scored a game-high 23 points and junior Jasmine Hill added 13 to power the Scorpions (12-3 overall, 10-2 Howard County).
Junior center Alaunna Jackson and Brittany Butler each scored eight points while Simone Wise added seven for Howard (12-3, 9-3).
With her team clinging to a 24-23 advantage at the 4:21 mark in the third quarter, Hight drove to the basket and was fouled. She drained the free-throw to extend Oakland Mills’ lead.
The Lions continued to threaten though and after a put-back by Caitlin Ciniero, Howard trailed 29-26 heading into the fourth quarter.
Again, Hight had a response. She went on a 7-0 by herself that included a put-back inside, a three-pointer and a steal and converted layup, giving the Scorpions a 36-26 lead with 5:42 left to play.
“We knew it was going to be a game of runs and it was about how we were going to handle it. There were times that we were up-and-down the court, then there were times were it swung in their favor,” said Oakland Mills’ coach Seth Willingham. “The girls stayed disciplined, held their composure and answered the bell when [Howard] had some runs.”
However, Howard would not go away. Tied with Oakland Mills for second place in the Howard County league, the Lions know how important the game was in the standing.
Behind back-to-back buckets by Butler that was sandwiched between scores by Wise and Jackson, Howard went on an 8-0 run to cut the score to 36-34 with 3:12 remaining.
“We thought they we were the better team coming in but we knew they were going to make runs,” said Hill. “We knew that we were going to make runs too, so we just had to keep our composure. We knew [Howard] was going to fight and it wasn’t going to be an easy game.”
Hill accounted for a put-back and followed with an and-one after finishing a pass from Nicole Twardowicz to stop the Lions spurt.
Then, the Scorpions turned up the defense, implementing a full-court press which forced eight fourth quarter turnovers and went 6-for-10 from the free-throw line in the closing minutes to claim the win.
“We consider our defense to be one of our main strengths because we’re able press, create turnovers and make point guards panic,” said Hill. “We decided that we were going to do that in order to slow up the game and make them play to our level.”
Willingham knew that defense would be the key and he stressed that to his team.
“I told the girls in the huddle with about four minutes left that defense was going to win this game for us, not our offense,” he said. “We have three losses this season and in those games we gave up 50 points or more...Our defense stimulates our offense and that was huge for us.”
Oakland Mills now sits alone in second place behind No. 6 Glenelg in the league standings. The two will face off on Feb. 10th.
CLICK HERE TO VIEW VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS FROM THIS GAME!
|No. 14 Oakland Mills 46, Howard 36|
Twardowicz 3, Taylor 3, Hill 13, Kiely 4, Hight 23. Totals 16 9-15 46.
Ciniero 5, Kuhn 6, Jackson 8, Wise 7, Butler 8, Daniels 2.Totals 13 10-13 36.
Last Updated (Tuesday, 01 February 2011 10:32)