Tiger trio lifts Howland past WGH

Special to Tribune Chronicle / Dianna Oatridge Warren G. Harding’s Diamond Phillips, right, guards Howland's Mackenzie Maze as she dribbles upcourt during their All-American Conference, Red Tier matchup Wednesday. Howland won, 51-34.

HOWLAND — A trio of Howland Tigers proved to be too much for Warren G. Harding to handle as the Tigers beat the Raiders, 51-34, Wednesday evening in an All-American Conference Red Tier girls basketball game.

Number 20, Alex Ochman, matched her jersey with an impressive 20 rebounds and had a game-high 16 points.

“I thought we played really well. That’s the best we’ve worked the ball all year. We did what we had to do to shut them down,” Ochman said.

Seniors Gabby Hartzell and Mackenzie Maze made big contributions as well. Hartzell added 15 points. Maze put up a double double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

“It was really good competition. We knew we had to come out strong against them because they always play us well. We handled ourselves well. It was just a good fight,” Hartzell said.

Special to Tribune Chronicle / Dianna Oatridge Brayleonna Woods of Warren G. Harding splits two Howland defenders on the way to the basket Wednesday night.

“As a point guard, you have to pick up on what’s lacking in the game. My job is to pass the ball. It’s a team sport. You all have to work together. You all have to have each others back to get a victory,” Maze said.

The game started out close. Howland (15-4, 9-2) held a slim 15-12 advantage after one quarter. Thirty seconds into the second quarter, the game took a turn for Harding when Indea Phillips injured her right ankle. She had to leave the floor to get the ankle wrapped up.

“Indea has been the heart and soul of our defense. The way she takes care of everybody else. She’s been a great rebounder for us. She’s been a tough kid. She got it taped up and she jumped back in after a bit,” Harding coach Frank Caputo said.

Howland took advantage of Harding’s misfortune and jumped out to a 27-16 halftime lead.

Harding (10-7, 5-6) played tough in the third quarter and outscored Howland, 11-10. Mid way through the third, Toni Donaldson hit a 3 to cut Howland’s lead to six at 33-27. Howland regrouped and scored the final four points of the quarter to take a 10 point lead into the fourth.

Harding seemed to run out of gas and Howland pulled away in the final quarter.

“They killed us with rebounding. We need to bring more energy with us when we get off that bus,” Caputo said.

“I told them, at halftime, we have an 11-point lead so lets just keep playing them even. They outscored us by one in the third, and we pulled away in the fourth. They are scary. They are way stronger than us. They go after the ball hard. It was a good win,” Howland coach John Diehl said.

Brayleonna Woods and Kamarah Bender led Harding with 10 points apiece.