On Friday night, the No. 10 Oakland Mills boys basketball team was seven minutes away from taking its first loss of the season at the hands of unranked Centennial.
Trailing by 10 points with seven minutes remaining in the final quarter, the Scorpions, behind Kerry Bethea’s 18 points, fought back and edged the host Eagles, 61-58, to remain unbeaten.
On Monday evening in a matchup against Glenelg, Oakland Mills made sure that there would be no need for late heroics as Bethea again powered the Scorpions to an 82-59 win over the previously undefeated Gladiators.
“Friday was a wakeup call and we kind of needed that,” said Oakland Mills senior point guard Joe Kiely. “We thought that we were so much better than everybody else then Centennial came out and played us really well. We came out weak [in that game] and we realized that we can’t come out weak anymore, so now we’re here to destroy everybody.”
He added: “We knew that we [Glenelg] were both undefeated and that it was going to be a good game. Our plan was to move the ball and find the open shots and today, we were hitting those shots.”
Bethea led five Scorpions (7-0 overall, 6-0 Howard County) in double figures with 18 points off the bench. Seniors Greg Whittington and James Peters each had 16 points, while guard Marcellus Ajiboye added 15 and Kiely contributed 14 points.
Senior forward Troy Spurrier led the way for Glenelg (5-1, 4-1) with a team-high 15 points. Guard Shane Kellaher added 12 points and center Erik Siegfried has eight.
A three-pointer by Rob Mullinix put the Gladiators ahead, 11-8, with 2:58 remaining in the first quarter. It would be their last lead of the night as Bethea began to take over for Oakland Mills.
The junior buried a jumper to start a 14-1 run that put the Scorpions up, 22-12, after one quarter. Bethea scored nine points in the quarter and added five more in the second, helping the host team to a 39-23 advantage at halftime.
In the third quarter, Whittington got involved after being held to just two points in the first half. The 6-foot-8 swingman scored 10 points in the third to stretch Oakland Mills’ lead to 64-40 going into the final quarter.
After the first half, Glenelg never got closer than 14 points.
“In the second half, everything just came together. We were running the offense, getting open looks and it was a wrap from there,” said Ajiboye. “Before this game, a lot of people doubted that we could beat Glenelg. There was talk around the county that they were better but in the end, our mindset is the only people that can beat us is ourselves.”
The Gladiators won just five games all of last season and already matched that total, avenging losses to county opponents Centennial, Atholton and Hammond. But on Monday, they had no answer for the explosive Scorpion offense.
“We were out-played,” said Glenelg coach Jansen McMillian. “I think that we’re a better team than what we showed the crowd tonight and that’s what I’m going to stand by. I believe in these guys and I know they believe in each other.”
“This was a complete game. It was the best defense we’ve played all year,” said Oakland Mills coach Jon Browne. “Glenelg can really shoot; I was worried that they could shoot themselves right back into the game. They made a good effort to do that but whenever they missed, we got the rebound and only allowed one shot.”
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|No. 10 Oakland Mills 82, Glenelg 59|
Griffin 3, Kellaher 12, Mullinix 3, Spurrier 15, Siegfried 8, Hyer 7, Marsh 2, Arnette 3, True 6. Totals 24 6-15 59.
Kiely 14, Coleman 3, Whittington 16, Peters 16, Bethea 18, Ajiboye 15. Totals 36 6-13 82.