Hot starts spark over Rams
Boys win third straight, girls roll
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.
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.