In front of a packed gymnasium on Friday night, the Leonardtown Raiders sent their fans home happy with a resounding 66-38 victory over the visiting Calvert Cavaliers in a Southern Maryland Athletic Conference Chesapeake Division battle.
“This is the best the team has been in a long time, and our record and our support we get at home shows it,” Raiders senior guard Tyreke Herbert said. “I am excited.”
The win over the Cavaliers marked the first SMAC Chesapeake Division game for Leonardtown as the Raiders have high hopes entering divisional play this season.
“We are 1-0 going into the second half now,” Leonardtown head coach Jeb Barber said. “We have goals and really high expectations for this team, but we know we need to take this one game at a time. We took care of business tonight, but on Wednesday at Huntingtown we will try and go 1-0 that day as well.”
Leonardtown led 13-4 with 4 minutes 17 seconds left in the opening quarter before Calvert head coach Jeremy Kurutz called a timeout.
“I thought we played well and were able to get our score up,” Leonardtown senior Eric Long said. “We just have to keep our heads up and keep winning.”
The Raiders (9-1, 1-0 SMAC Chesapeake) ended the quarter on a 12-5 scoring run after the Cavaliers’ timeout and took a 25-9 advantage into the second quarter.
“I got a bunch of seniors,” Barber said. “It really shows because we can come off of the bench with a couple of kids and we don’t take a step back, which is the first time it has been that way at Leonardtown in a while.”
In the second quarter, back-to-back buckets for Herbert pushed Leonardtown in front 29-9 with 6:40 left to play until halftime.
“We played well tonight,” Herbert said. “In the first quarter we started off great, but we had some slumps in the second half. That was really the only negative thing though.”
The Raiders held a 37-17 edge at halftime and outscored Calvert (4-6, 1-1) by three in the third quarter to lead 50-27 entering the final quarter of play.
“I am really proud of our kids’ fight today,” Barber said. “I thought that we really played through a little bit of adversity at the end of the first half and going into the beginning of the second half. I think our kids really stepped up to the challenge. All of the credit goes to the kids for getting ready to play. I am super proud of them.”
Leonardtown outscored the visitors 16-11 in the final quarter behind seven points from senior Elizah Lozano off the bench.
“I am really proud of our seniors. I think our seniors really carried us today,” said Barber, who is in his fourth year at the helm with the Raiders.
Long led Leonardtown with a game-high 19 points and was joined by Herbert in double figures with 12. Sophomore Malachi Briscoe finished with eight points and Lozano and junior Martin Wilson each chipped in with seven.
“Tyreke Herbert and Eric Long were pretty special right at the beginning both defensively and offensively,” said Barber, whose team is slated at Huntingtown at 6:30 tonight. “I don’t know that they get enough credit or as much as they probably should.”
Calvert had two players finish in double figures with junior Nyson Andre recording 12 points on knocking down four three-pointers, and senior Jonathan Rawlings adding 10. The Cavaliers are scheduled to host Northern at 6:30 tonight.