EASTON — Queen Anne’s County High’s boys’ basketball team remained undefeated Tuesday night.
But Lions’ head coach Jeff Hollis couldn’t tell you how.
“I don’t know,” answered Hollis about how the Lions had pulled together a 52-43 victory over Easton to remain atop the North Bayside. “We have had turnover problems, but nothing like tonight. It really showed through tonight.”
Baffling Hollis even more was the fact Queen Anne’s (7-0 overall, 5-0 North Bayside) really didn’t have a lengthy holiday layoff, as it won both its games in the annual Governor’s Challenge.
“We just … I don’t know,” Hollis said shaking his head. “Maybe it was the atmosphere tonight. Easton is a hard place to play in. I’m just glad Nate Ford showed up tonight because if not …”
Ford scored a team-high 15 points, and along with Jai Roy (eight points) gave the Lions a size advantage inside with Warrior senior center Kevin O’Connor still sidelined.
“A presence? They had two presences inside,” Easton head coach Dionte Hynson said of Ford and Roy. “We just got to figure it out. It is what it is. We just have to figure it out. I think we played a good game defensively. We held them to 50-some points. Defensively we battled for our size underneath.”
Indeed, Hynson was encouraged by his team holding Queen Anne’s, which came in averaging 79 points a game (not including holiday play) to a season-low 52 points.
The Lions managed to carry an 8-5 lead into the second quarter. But Warrior freshman Marshall Bailey (game-high 19 points) canned a 3-pointer 12 seconds into the second period to forge an 8-all tie, then answered Amirr Coles’ trey with another 3 to leave the scored tied at 11-11.
Queen Anne’s moved to a 20-13 lead behind two inside buckets from Ford, another inside basket from Collin Woolford, and Vince Gilberto’s 3-pointer.
But Easton (4-3, 2-2), which also won both its games in the Governor’s Challenge, pulled within 20-17 as Toby Mackall and Shaun Moody (15 points) each converted a pair of free throws. Ford’s third field goal of the period gave Queen Anne’s a 22-17 halftime lead.
Ford’s baby hook and Woolford’s 3-pointer pushed the Lions to a 27-19 lead early in the third. But Easton stayed within striking distance. Moody hit consecutive driving layups to pull the Warriors within 31-27, then drained a free throw with 48 seconds left in the period, drawing Easton within 31-30.
Queen Anne’s never relinquished its lead though, as Roy hit a jumper and Coles (12 points) a 3-pointer for a 36-32 edge heading into the fourth quarter.
Easton got a close as 38-36 with 6:44 remaining in the game. But Roy scored twice, Ford once and Coles buried two free throws for an 8-0 run that gave the Lions a 46-36 cushion with 3:32 to play.
The Warriors continued sticking around, whittling the deficit to five at 46-41 on a Bailey drive with just over a minute remaining. But Queen Anne’s converted 6 of 8 from the foul line in the final minute to cement the victory.
“We turned the ball over so many times,” Hollis said. “Just careless mistakes. I just have to get us more prepared for games I guess because we definitely were not ready tonight.”
N. Caroline 79 Kent County 67
WORTON — Markeil Chestnut scored 22 points and Nasi Bell added 18 as the Bulldogs rallied from a 35-23 halftime deficit for the victory.
Cam King had 15 points for North Caroline (3-3, 2-2) and Dontay Warner 11.
Cambridge-SD 59 N. Dorchester 48
SHILOH — Koby Ennals had 20 points and Tashon Fletcher scored 14 as the Vikings improved to 5-1, 3-1 with a victory over their county rival.
Franchise Friend led the Eagles with 14 points.
Easton 46, Queen Anne’s 41
CENTREVILLE — Kate Adelman had 13 points and Damiya Henry finished with 11 to lead the Warriors.
Baillie Pinder had 10 points and 11 rebounds for Queen Anne’s and Kendall Nagle had 10.
Kent Island 78, St. Michaels 5
STEVENSVILLE — Alivia Hanesworth had 17 points, and Lillian Dauses and Ava Ravanbakhsh each had 11 to pace the Buccaneers.
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