Mt. Hebron out in front on defense

51-41 win over Centennial earns Howard Co. lead

Girls basketball

High Schools

February 02, 2002|By Nathan Max | Nathan Max,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Mount Hebron's girls basketball team put together a defensive gem for three quarters last night, which was enough to propel the Vikings into first place in Howard County.

Eighth-ranked Mount Hebron held No. 9 Centennial to 11 points in the first half and eight points in the fourth quarter, and junior forward Kristen Waagbo scored a game-high 25 points to lead the host Vikings to a 51-41 victory.

With the win, Mount Hebron (14-3, 11-2 league) moved a half game ahead of Centennial (12-4, 10-2) in the county race. The Eagles dropped into a second-place tie with Glenelg (14-2, 10-2), which can move into a first-place tie with Mount Hebron if it defeats River Hill tonight.

"We really wanted this game bad," said Waagbo, who scored 14 of Mount Hebron's 24 points in the second half. "We knew they were in first, and we would rather be in first, plus they're a big rival. So we just knew that we really had to win this game."

Mount Hebron, whose defense allows an average of 42.2 points, ran out to a 27-11 halftime lead by holding Centennial to 5-for-23 shooting and forcing 12 turnovers in the first half. After the Eagles scored the game's first basket, they were held scoreless for the next 6 minutes, 4 seconds. Mount Hebron scored 15 straight points during that stretch.

Waagbo gave the Vikings their biggest lead at 29-11 with a 12-foot turnaround jumper 54 seconds into the third quarter. But Centennial, which shot 10-for-16 in the third quarter, stormed back with a 16-0 run and closed to within 29-27 on a layup by Melissa Andersen with 2:45 left.

In all, Centennial came within two points on four occasions in the third quarter. But Mount Hebron's defense reasserted itself in the fourth quarter as the Vikings outscored the Eagles 12-4 over a 6:30 stretch to begin the fourth. Waagbo, who finished 9-for-9 from the foul line, converted two free throws to put Mount Hebron ahead 49-37 with 1:35 left.

"First, second and fourth quarters we played great team defense," said Mount Hebron coach Scott Robinson, whose team won its fifth straight and for the ninth time in 10 games. "We had talked about it, that if we were going to get to the next level, defense is what was going to take us."

In a losing effort, senior guard Jasmine Hammond scored a team-high 16 points, and senior forward Lisa Richardson had 10 points and 11 rebounds for Centennial.

"We couldn't spit in the ocean in the first half," said Centennial coach Ed Trout, whose team had its five-game winning streak broken. "I think we came out a little bit too keyed up."

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