Loch Raven High girls basketball knew Hereford would provide its toughest challenge of the season Friday. The visiting Bulls didn’t disappoint, and neither did the Raiders, who pulled off their biggest win in a breakout campaign.
Unbeaten and No. 14 Loch Raven held off Hereford, 49-45, in a Baltimore County Division I contest. Junior guard Maya Gordon finished with a game-high 17 points and Gibson added 13.
The Raiders led by as many as 15 points in the second half before repelling a fourth quarter rally to improve to 16-0 overall and 10-0 in Division I.
Loch Raven coach Jerome Ragsdale was pleased with his team’s composure.
“They (Hereford) jumped on us with the press at the end of the game”, said Ragsdale. “We’re a little inexperienced, and we got tired near the end. They’re a tough team. They played really well.”
The Raiders led 39-24 late in the third only to see Hereford’s full court pressure sparked a 21-8 surge, cutting the lead to 47-45 with 22 seconds left in regulation.
Junior guard Destaney Harris finally put the Raiders over the top with two free throws. The hosts converted four of six from the charity stripe in the final seconds.
Loch Raven led 16-8 after the opening period before the Bulls sliced the deficit in half at 23-19 at halftime. The Raiders came out rejuvenated to start the second half as Aariyn Gibson’s 3-pointer capped a 16-5 surge for the 39-24 lead.
Trailing 39-27 entering the fourth, Hereford mounted its comeback. The Bulls scored 14 of the first 16 points, closing to 41-39. Morgan Jones answered with back-to-back scores to give Loch Raven some breathing room.
A big reason was Gordon, who was able to break through Hereford’s press in the latter stages.
“She came up big. Getting to the basket, rebounds, steals,” said Ragsdale. “She does it all for us.”
“I had some points tonight,” said Gordon. “I like to get assists more but was happy with my defense tonight.”
Junior forward/center Laura Kraft had 13 points for Hereford (12-4, 6-2), which was eliminated from the Division I race. Laura Orner added 11.
Bulls coach Dave Schreiner lamented his squad’s first half effort.
“We missed a lot of opportunities”, said Schreiner. “We made way too many turnovers, and then we got in some foul trouble. But I decided we were not going to leave here without a fight. We learned a lot about our team tonight. It was a great basketball game.”
The Raiders remain one of two unbeaten teams (St. Mary’s) in the area. Loch Raven plays at defending league champ Pikesville Friday in a match that will decide the Division I title and a berth in the county final.
“This was our toughest test,” Gordon said. “We’re ready for the next team.”
NO. 14 LOCH RAVEN 49, HEREFORD 45
Hereford 8 11 8 18 - 45
Loch Raven 16 17 6 10 - 49
Hereford - Kraft 13, Orner 11, Grenzer 9, Hess 7, Neiberlein 3, Stocks 2. Totals 15 8-10 45.
Loch Raven - Gordon 17, Gibson 13, Harris 9, Jones 6, Boykin 2, Ennis 2. Totals 20 7-15 49.