Hot starts spark over Rams

Boys win third straight, girls roll

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By AJ MA­SON aj­ma­son@somd­news.com

Start­ing fast is some­thing that head coach Dale Lam­berth and the Thomas Stone boys bas­ket­ball team can get ac­cus­tomed to see­ing game in and game out.

In the sec­ond of a home dou­ble­header Fri­day night, the Cougars couldn’t have started off any bet­ter.

Stone ex­ploded for 19 points while al­low­ing just two points the en­tire first quar­ter en route to the even­tual 52-33 vic­tory over the vis­it­ing McDonough Rams in a South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con- fer­ence Po­tomac Divi­sion con­test.

In game one of Fri­day’s twin bill, the Stone girls delivered with a 6846 win over the Rams.

It was third straight win for the Cougars (10-4, 4-2 SMAC Po­tomac), who im­proved their home record to 5-1 this sea­son. Last Wed­nes­day, Stone delivered with a 74-71 come­back win over North Point and it edged St. Charles 5251 on Jan. 11.

Stone used man-to-man pres­sure and some zone de­fense to force nu­mer­ous turnovers as it took a 35-11 com­mand­ing lead at half­time. The Rams had a much im­proved sec­ond half, outscor­ing the Cougars 22-17 dur­ing that span.

“We came out strong, put pres­sure on Mc- Donough early, but I thought in the sec­ond half we got out­played. They were driv­ing to the bas­ket hard and hus­tling all over the court,” Lam- berth said. “All the county games are al­ways tough and I knew McDonough wasn’t go­ing to roll over by any means. But it was a good win for us.”

Sopho­more for­ward Gary Grant, ju­nior Ka- mau Mitchell and ju­nior for­ward Kyle Jack­son scored 26 of Stone’s 35 first-half points. Grant led fin­ished with a teamhigh 14 points to go along with 15 re­bounds, while Mitchell (11 points) and Jack­son (8 points, 11 re­bounds, 3 blocks) each scored all their points in the first two quar­ters.

“It was our goal to get a fast start so that we could jump on them and put them away early,” said Mitchell, who nailed two threes in the first half. “I think I con­trib­uted well, my team­mates got me a lot of open looks. When my jumper is on we are pretty hard team to beat.”

Grant and Jack­son an- chored the in­side for Stone, while Mitchell was a spark on the perime­ter.

McDonough (3-11, 0-5) came out flat in the first half and dug it­self a huge hole that it couldn’t re­cover from. Stone out­re­bounded the Rams 63-18 with 30 of them com­ing on the of­fen­sive end, which led to nu­mer­ous sec­ond-chance points.

“In the first half, we started off by miss­ing five un­con­tested layups and they de­stroyed us on the glass,” said McDonough head coach Dave Rooney, who noted that his team missed 19 shots around the bas­ket. “We were self- ish in the first half, but in the sec­ond half we made a cou­ple sub­sti­tu­tions and got a lot of back door ac- tion of­fen­sively, at­tacked the rim and were pa­tient. The ball didn’t touch the floor and we lim­ited our turnovers. I’ve been very proud of how our guys work hard in prac­tice and we are get­ting bet­ter. We just have to clean some things up.”

Rams sopho­more guard Amareay Wal­ters led all scor­ers with 16 points.

At 6:30 tonight, Stone is sched­uled to be at North­ern, while McDonough is slated to be at Lackey.

In the girls con­test, Stone led 33-13 at half- time and never looked back in the divi­sion win.

The Cougars had three play­ers in dou­ble fig­ures as se­nior Oc­tavia Haw- kins led all scor­ers with 29 points, ju­nior Sasha Fran­cis fin­ished with 14 and se­nior Rya Nel­son added 12.

Jor­dan McDuffie scored a team-high 20 points for McDonough (3-10, 1-4).

The Rams are sched­uled to host Lackey at 6:30 tonight, while Stone (11-4, 5-1 af­ter a 67-43 non­di­vi­sion win over North­ern on Mon­day night) is off un­til a sched­uled matchup at home ver­sus the Charg­ers at 6 p.m. Fri­day.

PHOTO BY WAL­LACE BAR­RON

Thomas Stone ju­nior for­ward Kyle Jack­son tries to go up for the con­tested layup over McDonough’s Kenny James in Fri­day night’s 52-33 vic­tory in a SMAC Po­tomac Divi­sion boys bas­ket­ball con­test at Thomas Stone High School.

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