By Owen Gotimer
Ashburn (Dec. 28, 2014) – Broad Run High School junior forward Mariah Leonard knew she would have an opportunity to shine in the primetime game of the 2014 Maroon & Gold Classic basketball tournament’s quarterfinal round against her former Spartan assistant coach and now Rock Ridge High School head coach Jaclyn Cummings.
“We were on a little bit of a losing streak, and we really wanted to break it,” Leonard said. “In the locker room, I just told them we need to go out there and play like we can, and we did.”
Leonard – who scored her 1,000th career point last week in just her 58th career game – led the way for the Lady Spartans scoring 26 points and adding 9 rebounds in limited action as Broad Run cruised to a 68-25 victory over the Lady Phoenix.
“Give credit to Rock Ridge: they played a really tough game for them , they scrapped and they fight, they fight, they fight,” Broad Run head coach Sean Gundry said. “It’s tough in that situation, but they kept coming at us and making us work on defense.”
After scoring 24 first half points, Leonard sat for most of the second half as Gundry was able to cycle in some players who often get less playing time in the first round game.
“Our bench players have gotten some more run than maybe they would’ve gotten in other seasons,” Gundry said. “This confidence and this opportunity is huge for them. Going down the line you’re never going to know who you’ll need when so this experience is vital for them.”
Gundry and Cummings are both continuing to work to get their teams more experience. The first year Rock Ridge team has only two juniors and started four freshmen – against Broad Run’s four upperclassmen – in the opening round of the Maroon & Gold Classic.
“We have very smart girls. They are young, but once they get used to the varsity intensity, I think they’ll be fine,” Cummings said.
One of the Lady Phoenix freshmen – guard Taryn Hollis – made an unexpected start last night after a miscommunication at the scorer’s table. While Hollis scored four points and brought in five rebounds for Rock Ridge, her biggest impact came in the form of her hustle.
“She just has tremendous heart and desire and intensity,” Cummings said. “I think she brings that with everything she does, and the girls feed off of that. She’s kind of been the heart of the team this year.”
Like Hollis and the rest of the Lady Phoenix, Gundry noted his Lady Spartans are also working hard this season.
“We had a lot of expectations put on us early on in the season from outside the program,” Gundry said. “We’re just working to take it one step at a time and get better every day. Our goal is to be ready to play come February.”
Broad Run Lady Spartans Stats
Mariah Leonard 26 points, 9 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 assist, 7-for-9 free throws
Jasmine Braswell 13 points, 5 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 assist, 1-for-2 free throws
Julia Nappier 11 points, 1 rebound, 1 steal
Chyna Roberts 5 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals
Sabrina Montgomery 5 points, 2 rebounds, 3 steals
Sofia Ackerman 4 points, 3 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 assists, 2-for-6 free throws
Samantha Polk 2 points, 5 rebounds
Nicole Braithwaite 2 points, 3 rebounds, 1 steal, 2 assists
McKenna Gallagher 3 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 blocked shot
Grace Mattimore 3 rebounds, 0-for-1 free throw
68 points, 38 rebounds, 14 turnovers, 14 steals, 1 blocked shot, 8 assists, 10-for-18 free throws
Rock Ridge Lady Phoenix Stats
Ashley Dean 8 points, 4 rebounds, 1 blocked shot, 1 assist, 3-for-6 free throws
Caleigh Schmid 5 points, 1 rebound
Taryn Hollis 4 points, 5 rebounds, 1 steal
Jasmyne Hinkamp 3 points, 1 steal, 1 blocked shot, 3-for-5 free throws
Courtney Veatch 3 points, 1 assist, 1-for-2 free throws
Olivia Ouimet 2 points, 1 rebound, 1 steal, 2-for-2 free throws
Julia Horner 1 rebound, 1 steal
Alexis Cox 1 steal
25 points, 12 rebounds, 24 turnovers, 5 steals, 2 blocked shots, 2 assists, 9-for-15 free throws
Owen Gotimer is a graduate of Heritage High School in Leesburg and is currently in his senior year at Syracuse University. Follow LoCoSports on Twitter (@LoCoSports) for up-to-date news and scores from around Loudoun County.