Emily Russo scored a game-high 14 points to lead No. 7 Glenelg past host River Hill, 42-34, on Wednesday evening.

Sam Heisig added 10 points, while Danielle Burris and Mandy Bendix combined for 14 points for the Gladiators.

Glenelg (11-1 overall, 10-0 Howard County) fell behind 7-2 early in the first quarter but used a suffocating defense to push out to a 14-8 lead after one quarter.

The Gladiators began jumping into passing lanes, creating turnovers and scoring in transition.  Their defense held the Hawks to just two points in the second quarter as the Gladiators built a 23-10 advantage at the half.

“Defense is really important for us. Our coaches emphasize defense and always tell us to be one pass away,” said Russo.  “So we really try to be disciplined, get those steals and get points off of the turnovers.”

“Our defense is certainly our trademark and I think we played on-ball defense very well,” said Glenelg coach Don Beall.  “We got several charges out of the defense but I think we got beat on the weak side more than we generally do, but we’re a very good defensive team.”

Abbey Defeo and Jenna Collins paced River Hill (5-6, 4-5) with eight points each, while Julia Collins contributed six points off the bench.

With just two seniors who see significant minutes, the defending county champion Hawks showed their youth, having trouble with Glenelg’s press and finishing baskets when they did break it.

But the young team showed some determination.  Trailing 31-19 late in the third quarter, Julia Collins and Stephanie Robinson each scored four points apiece in an 8-0 run that cut River Hill’s deficit to four, 31-27.

It looked like the home team could rally even closer before Russo got a steal and turned it into a layup, ending the Hawks spurt.  Russo followed with a three-pointer 20 seconds later and Heisig drained a three to help Glenelg respond with an 8-0 run of its own, pushing its lead back to an 11-point margin with 4:45 left in the game.

“It’s really important to stay mentally focused because as soon as we got out of our game, it gave them a chance to get back in it,” Russo said.  “We had to keep our focus up and get that lead back by attacking.”

The Gladiators currently have a two-game lead over No. 13 Oakland Mills and unranked Howard in the Howard County league standings.


No. 7 Glenelg 42, River Hill 34
River Hill82141034
Scepura 1, Burris 8, Bendix 6, Russo 14, Ebeling 2, Kittleman 1, Heisig 10 . Totals 15 7-11 42.
River Hill:
Sandler 3, Sterling 4, Robinson 5, Defeo 8, Je. Collins 8, Ju. Collings 6.Totals 11 8-12 34.