Hammond's rebounding domination overcame Atholton's outstanding long-range shooting as the Bears grabbed a 69-59 victory at Atholton Friday night.
Hammond (14-3 overall, 7-3 league) out-rebounded Atholton 38-14, but the Raiders stayed in the game by shooting a sizzling 49percent (21 for 43) from the floor.
Hammond's sophomore point guard Kacy Williams scored 24 points and had 11 rebounds. Teammate Sonia Keiner scored 17 points and had 13 rebounds. Tameka Harrison scored 14.
Atholton's Alison Valentino (23 points), Juanita Thompson (20 points) and Carla Galang (13 points)put on a phenomenal shooting display.
Only three of Atholton's 21baskets were layups or short-range shots. Four were three-point baskets, and most were from the 15-foot range or beyond.
Hammond coachJoe Russo was shaking his head in disbelief after the game over Atholton's shooting prowess.
"This was the most points scored against us all year," Russo said.
Every time his team appeared ready to blow Atholton (7-10, 2-8) off the court, the Raiders rallied. In the first quarter, Atholton gained a 6-2 lead, but Hammond's press created nine first-quarter turnovers that led to an 11-point Bears' run and 13-6 advantage.
Atholton was missing starting point guard Vanessa Clack (broken wrist), and her replacement, Galang, drew her fourth foul midway through the second quarter. She was forced to the bench until the second half.
"Hammond's press was the difference in the game," Atholton coach Graydon Webster said.
Early in the second quarter, after Hammond built a 24-12 lead, the Raiders stormed back with a 12-1 run to close within a point, 25-24.
Valentino, Thompson and Galang scored all the points in that run.
But Williams scored on a drive and Keiner put back a rebound, and Hammond started rebuilding its lead.
"They (Raiders) weren't boxing out, and they left the lane open," said Williams, who took advantage to score off drives and rebounds.
Hammond won that first meeting two weeks ago, 60-34.
The Bears rebuilt the lead to 48-35 in the third quarter, but Atholton fought back again with a 15-4 run that included eight points by Galang and five by Valentino.
Valentino sank five straight free throws to pull Atholton within four, 52-48, with five minutes, six seconds left to play.
But Harrison hit a jumper for Hammond. Atholton turned the ball over. And Keiner muscled for a score to pad Hammond's leadback to eight, 56-48.
Atholton had run out of miracles and never threatened again.
The Bears shot 43 percent (28 for 64) from the floor, but took higher-percentage shots than Atholton. Seventeen of those 28 baskets were from close range. They made nine layups and scored five times directly off rebounds.
"We really didn't shoot well,"Williams said. The Bears missed five layups in the first quarter.
"If we make most of our layups, we would have won by as many points as the first time," Russo said.
Atholton had four players sidelined with injuries or illness, but Clack was the only starter.
"We only played six girls and sort of ran out of gas," Webster said.