* McDonough 75, Leonardtown 58
McDonough Coach Dave Rooney said he knows that 17-point victories are supposed to feel good, but happiness wasn't an emotion he could muster Monday night at Leonardtown. His team, despite its 75-58 win over the host Raiders, remains in a bit of a slump.
The problem for McDonough, which has lost five of its past seven games after a strong start, is a fundamental one: rebounding.
"We've given up a ton of offensive rebounds all season," said Rooney, shaking his head in frustration. "Our guys stand around and watch the ball. We keep working on it and working on it. Saturday we worked on it for an hour, and obviously that was not long enough."
The Rams yielded more than a dozen offensive rebounds to the smaller Raiders squad Monday. The only reason McDonough got by with such inefficiency on the glass was that the Raiders are struggling with an even greater problem: scoring. Leonardtown rarely was able to convert its offensive rebounds into baskets, shooting just 33 percent from the field.
"We never put it in the hole," Raiders Coach Glenn Larnerd said. "We miss a lot of shots. You can't fault them for their hustle -- they do hustle -- we just can't score. We've got to start converting those offensive rebounds into points."
On Friday, McDonough's opponent had no trouble with the conversion. In defeating the Rams, La Plata pulled down 11 offensive rebounds and put back nine of those for a total of 18 points. And Great Mills, which picked up a 59-52 win over McDonough earlier last week, outrebounded the Rams with taller inside players.
"We've got some big kids," said Rooney, whose three inside starters average 6-3. "But they need to get that attitude where they find someone, box him out and go get the ball. Right now, we're letting little guys out-scrap us."
McDonough burst to a 14-0 lead against Leonardtown, but allowed the Raiders to climb back into the game with numerous second-chance opportunities. Leonardtown cut it to 18-15, and its second possession of the second quarter epitomized both teams' troubles: The Raiders took six jump shots and grabbed all the rebounds from their errant tosses before senior guard Kevin Pulliam finally drove the lane and converted a layup.
Pulliam (team-high 17 points) tied the game at 21 with 5:03 left in the half, but Leonardtown then stalled. McDonough closed on a 18-5 run to reclaim control of the game, 39-26.
"Right after we tied it up we must have had four or five turnovers in a row," Larnerd said. "We were going too quick for our talent level. There's a way to run helter-skelter and a way to run under control, and sometimes we get out of control."
The Rams led by 11 or more points the entire second half, shooting 71 percent from the field for the game. McDonough took its biggest lead, 53-34, with 2:38 to play in the third quarter on a steal and subsequent layup by junior guard A.J. Mason. Mason, who hit seven of his eight field goal attempts, finished with 19 points. Senior forward Evan Thomas led the Rams with 21, tying his season high, and senior guard Trey Morrissette scored 13.
"I'm always nervous coming in here because Glenn's teams always work real hard," Rooney said. "But our shot selection was good tonight. We've got strong kids who can get to the basket, and they did that.
"We did enough offensively to offset the lack of rebounding . . . but that is something we can and will correct. We have to."