The River Hill boys basketball team began its season with a 3-0 mark including a big win over Eleanor Roosevelt (Prince George’s Co.), which was then ranked No. 8 in the Washington Post basketball poll, in the season opener.
The Hawks jumped into this week’s Varsity Sports Network Top 20 rankings at No. 15 before suffering their first setback on Monday in a 69-65 overtime loss to Mount Hebron.
The Clarksville school responded with a commanding 43-29 victory over host Long Reach on Wednesday.
Senior point guard Kevin McDuffie led the Hawks with 12 points and senior guard Jordan Knisley added 11. Junior guard Davon Nowlin paced the Lightning with 10 points.
The win improves River Hill to 4-1 overall and 3-1 in Howard County league play while Long Reach dropped to 0-5 and 0-4 respectively.
The Lightning took a 17-12 lead with 5:21 left in the second quarter after a layup by junior Daryl Taylor before the Hawks tied the score, 18-18, at the break.
Long Reach went back ahead 21-18 on a three point play by sophomore point guard Jalen Brown but that would be the last lead the home team would have.
River Hill went on a 23-0 run was started by a layup by senior forward Alex Standrowicz and was capped by an alley-oop dunk from McDuffie to Strandrowicz. The run began early in the third and spilled over into the latter part of the fourth quarter.
“It was a tale of two halves,” said Hawks coach Matt Graves. “I challenged the kids at halftime to play defense and they did. They only have up 11 points in the second half.”
He added: “[Howard transfers] Kevin and Alex are so explosive. It really helps us nicely and our defense really clamped down.”
The Lightning won a state title as recent as 2008 but have struggled this year with a very young lineup.
“We felt like we gave them a good first half but in the second half, their match-up zone messed up a little bit but we knew what to expect. We’re just not executing down the stretch,” said Long Reach coach Al Moraz, Jr. “We’re really young, I only have one senior and four sophomores. We’ve got to keep working.”
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|No. 15 River Hill 43, Long Reach 29|
McMichael 7, McDuffie 12, Standrowicz 8, Arensmeier 2, Knisley 11, Mann 1, Moody 2. Totals 17 5-7 42.
Almond 2, Brown 5, Evans 2, Nowlin 10, Nwanko 4, Ross 3, Simmons 1, Taylor 2. Totals 10 9-12 29.