C. Milton Wright boys basketball adjusts game plan to defeat Harford Tech, 58-44

Feb. 8—C. Milton Wright boys basketball's first-year head coach Mario Scott had a fairly straight forward game plan coming into Tuesday's road matchup against Harford Tech. He wanted to control the pace by slowing down his opponent and limiting second-chance points.

He tossed that strategy aside fairly quickly, turning the game on its head.

The Mustangs fell behind early but rallied to take the lead late in the second quarter and hold it for a 58-44 win.

"I told the guys, 'I don't want to take you out of rhythm so if you can beat somebody, beat them. Just make a good decision,'" Scott said. "Even though we had to play a little bit faster than I would've liked, I thought [point guard Larry Thompson] made some really good decisions and put guys in really good spots."

The host Cobras got off to a commanding start. They built a 7-1 lead on the back of seniors David Anderson and Matayo McGraw making tough shots. But, senior night magic wore off quickly.

The Mustangs made life difficult with its 2-2-1 full court zone press. They obstructed passing lanes and fought for every rebound. The strategic pivot sparked an 11-2 run going into halftime which gave them their first lead and ultimately decided the game.

Jordan Ross had the first five of that 11: a steal and transition basket followed by a corner triple. He finished with a team-high 19 points, eight of which came in the second quarter.

The Mustangs opened the second half with similar gusto. They continued to apply pressure and create fast break chances.

Scott likened the second-quarter run to a shark smelling blood in the water. Once his team recognized they could exploit the Cobras' up-tempo style and make them uncomfortable, the odor of fictitious blood filled the gym.

"I like that the game plan changed," Ross said. "We work on controlling the pace at practice and we go over presses all the time. If we can control the pace, we usually win."

"In some of the film we watched we realized ... if you put some pressure on them, they have a tendency to throw the ball around a little bit. We said, 'Look, it may not work early,'" Scott added. "Also you have to take into consideration it was senior night, so give them a 25% boost."

Harford Tech was paced by seniors McGraw and Anderson, who poured in 14 and eight points, respectively. Jake Walker, Gabe Eilman, Jayden Oliver, Connor Jergs, Talique James and David Peoples accounted for the rest of the honored seniors.

The Cobras showed signs of life in the fourth quarter, chipping away one possession at a time. A three here and a put-back basket there got them as close as eight. Struggles finishing around the rim and even a lane violation that erased a point off the board stalled any momentum resembling a comeback.

Scott kept repeating to his team during fourth-quarter timeouts, "Let's finish this," later calling the win some of the best pressing his team has done all year.

Harford Tech won't play again until Friday at Joppatowne. C. Milton Wright takes the floor again Wednesday hosting Manchester Valley in a nonconference clash, then wraps up a three-game week Friday against Patterson Mill.