No. 5 Lions swipe the ball 29 times in rout of  Old Mill

Courtney Furr had 15 points and five rebounds to help Howard rout No. 7 Old Mill.

by Nelson Coffin

Typically, when one team “steals” a game from another, it means that the winning team needed a couple of lucky breaks to prevail.

The No. 5 Howard High girls basketball squad needed no such help while pummeling seventh-ranked Old Mill, 55-22, on Tuesday evening in Ellicott City, even though the Lions did, literally, steal the game by swiping the ball an impressive 29 times while winning their fifth straight game to open the season.

Senior guard Courtney Furr, senior forward Taylor Addison and sophomore guard Camille Malagar had five steals apiece for Howard, with senior forward Deonna Jones-Carter adding four takeaways and sophomore guard Marisa Sanchez-Henry senior guard Madison Burris chipping in with three each in the showdown between the Anne Arundel County and Howard County schools.

And when quick-handed Lions were not stealing the ball, their aggressive defense was making sure that Old Mill senior Sydney Faulcon would have to work hard for every one of her team-best eight points.

“Sydney only touched the ball about 10 times, and that’s a shame because of how hard she works to get it,” Old Mill coach Rick Smith Sr. said. “We just couldn’t get her the ball.”

Faulcon did get the ball plenty of time on her own by ripping down a game-high 15 rebounds.

Still, with all of the turnovers, the Patriots had way too many empty possessions.

An opportunistic Howard offense took advantage of all the extra chances provided by the swarming defense. The Lions shot 47 percent from the floor (23 of 49) and built a 20-point advantage by halftime that ballooned to 38 points late in the third quarter.

From that juncture until there were just over two minutes left in the game, the new mercy-rule (the clock runs unless there is a shooting foul when a team leads by 35 points or more) was implemented.

All in all, it was a game that the Patriots (1-2) would just as well forget, if Smith Sr. would let them.

“I really want to look at the tape of this one,” he said. “Because we need to learn some lessons from this.”

When he sees the video, he’ll undoubtedly admire the shooting prowess of Furr (6 for 14 with 3 treys for 15 points), the quickness of Sanchez-Henry (4 for 4, 9 points) and the power moves in the paint by Addison (9 for 13 shooting, 5 offensive boards, 19 points).

“We played really hard,” Howard coach Chris Robinson said. “We anticipated a much closer game, because traditionally these are two teams that are usually in the Top 10 in the Baltimore area.”

Farr said that she was also surprised by the magnitude of the victory.

“Last year they were one of our toughest matches,” the Stony Brook commit said about the Lions’ one-point win in 2016. “So we thought it was going to be close, but obviously it started swinging to our side. We played really tight ‘D.’ We played really hard off screens.”

NO. 5 HOWARD 55, NO. 7 OLD MILL 22
OM 6 6 5 5 — 22
HO 17 15 20 3 — 55
OLD MILL: Hannah Franklin 6, Briana White 4, Sydney Falcon 8, Maya McBride 2, Jasmine Valentine 2. TOTALS: 9 4-8 22.
HOWARD: Marisa Sanchez-Henry 9, Courtney Furr 15, Deonna Jones-Carter 7, Camille Malagar 3, Madison Burris 2, Taylor Addison 19. TOTALS: 23 5-10 55.