The Marriotts Ridge boys basketball team didn't concern itself with style points yesterday against visiting Howard. The win was just fine.
Despite poor shooting in the first half, the Mustangs managed to stay even with the Lions at halftime and dug in in the fourth quarter to grind out a 61-51 win.
Standout senior guard Kevin Seker scored a game-high 15 points - his first points not coming until he hit a three-pointer with six seconds left in the second quarter, freshman Nick Doolin added 12, and Derek Coleman had 10 to lead the way. The Mustangs (17-2) improved to 14-1 in Howard County, and Howard (14-5) fell to 13-2 in league play.
With three games left in the regular season, including games against Atholton and Long Reach, the Mustangs took sole possession of first place and got closer to the county championship game.
"It's been unbelievable. Since the beginning of the season, we've been clicking on all cylinders," Seker said. "Today, we didn't start off very hot, but we were tied at halftime and thought that was fine with how bad we were shooting. We just figured we needed to win by one point in the second half, and we came out and did it. That's all that matters."
The Mustangs started pulling away midway through the third quarter when Seker hit a three-pointer and connected on two free throws, and then Danny Incontrera put back a rebound at the buzzer for a 43-32 lead.
The Lions, who lost point guard Steven Cruz to a bruised thigh in the second quarter and center MacGyver Biniak on fouls, pulled within 49-46 when Justin Hawkins scored off a turnover with 2:13 to play. But the Mustangs showed poise in the final minutes - hitting eight of 12 free throws - to close out the win.
"We've got some resilient kids," Mustangs coach Marcus Lewis said. "They hung together, and you saw the result."
Biniak (13 points) scored the Lions' first 11 points before picking up his second and third fouls in a 16-second span late in the first quarter.