- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
The McDonough Rams girls basketball team was dancing to Bruno Mars’ top-10 hit, “Locked out of heaven,” as they shot their free throws to warm up for Monday night’s conference game against the visiting Huntingtown Hurricanes.
The dancing soon ceased once they felt some pressure from the Hurricanes.
McDonough (8-10, 4-6 SMAC) turned the ball over more than 20 times in the contest and the Hurricanes took full advantage in the second quarter, outscoring the hosts 15-3 to take a seven-point lead into halftime at 21-14.
The Rams made a comeback in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough as the Hurricanes (3-15, 3-7) captured the 47-37 victory.
Huntingtown head coach Felicia Hall said she’s happy with the way her team is communicating and playing as a tight-nit team.
“The last time we played them we were down by two and we threw the ball away and then we fouled,” Hall said. “The transitions were better tonight and I think we were patient offensively which was good. I’m really proud of these girls. They’re really improving at every practice and at every game and that’s all I can ask for. They work really hard and they’re really starting to trust and believe in what we’re trying to do here. The main thing is that we keep improving for the playoffs.”
Guard Teyjah Oliver, with her grandparents in the stands watching her, was an impact player for the visitors and took home 12 points. Teammate Amanda Johnson was the team-high scorer with 19 points.
Oliver said it felt good to have her grandparents in the stands watching, adding that she was looking forward to the rematch. McDonough edged Huntingtown in a nonconference contest on Jan. 23, 49-45.
“We knew we just needed to play defense and make our free throws and be aggressive,” Oliver said of the physical McDonough team. “We’re a good team, and we’re looking forward to playoffs.”
The Hurricanes went on a five-point run to start the second quarter. Forward Katelyn Hinds tied the game at 11 after she stole the ball and put up a layup.
After McDonough head coach Tenay Gaddy called a timeout to regroup. Huntingtown continued the run when Johnson completed two of two at the free-throw line to put the Hurricanes up 13-11 with 3 minutes and 55 seconds left in the second quarter.
Later, Huntingtown starting guard Erica Shields also hit both of her free throws after being fouled by McDonough’s Doris Johnson.
The Rams reached the scoreboard with 3:10 left before halftime when Aryanna Crockett went to the free-throw line. Johnson sank a three-point shot just two seconds before halftime, putting the visiting fans on their feet and sending the Hurricanes to the locker room with a seven-point lead.
Aryn Johnson (10 points) came out aggressive for the Rams in the third quarter, completing a three-pointer of her own. Then, Oliver made a statement after she stole the ball from Johnson and scored while being fouled. Dejalana Regala turned the ball over for the hosts and Hinds cashed in for two with a baseline jumper.
Huntingtown quickly took a 29-19 lead with assistance from Oliver with less than three minutes left in the quarter and that lead was up to 32-20 heading to the fourth.
The Rams made some noise in the final quarter with senior starting center Robin Heard scoring five of game-high seven points, getting three rebounds and two blocks.
Crockett connected from the three-point perimeter, bringing her team to within seven with 1:30 left in regulation. Johnson came through again for Huntingtown once again, completing two more free throws to help the Hurricanes prevail. Johnson was 10 of 16 (63 percent) at the line in the contest.
McDonough assistant coach Mark Thomas commented after the game as Gaddy had to take care of personal business.
“They just did not show up to play today,” Thomas said. “They’re a better team than they showed today. They played a great game the other day [a 54-27 win over Lackey]. We just can’t get the consistency. We’ll have a great game, bad game, great game, bad game. It’s just one of those days; if it could happen, it would happen. The big girl [Heard] can’t make layups and can’t get the ball up the floor. We beat this team before without the big girl. They just didn’t come prepared to play.”