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The Meade boys basketball team went into Tuesday’s game at rival Old Mill with an emphasis on starting each half with extra energy.

The Mustangs did just that, adding a dominating stretch in the middle of the second quarter and leaving plenty left at the end.

With a balanced offensive effort — junior guard Xavion Roberson and senior forward Bryson Spruell each scoring 18 to lead four players in double figures — the Mustangs ran away with a stunning 80-45 win in Anne Arundel County play.

Meade improves to 12-2 overall and remains undefeated in league play with a 12-0 mark. Old Mill, which was without starting point guard Ryan Stacy due to injury, falls to 9-5 and 9-3, respectively.

The Mustangs had two bits of added motivation going into the game: They had their 10-game winning streak end last week against City and they believed in the first meeting against Old Mill — a 73-71 home win on Jan. 6 — they weren’t at their best.

On Tuesday, Meade coach Mike Glick saw some of his team’s best play of the season.

“They really responded and I thought for us, that was the best we’ve shared the ball all season and that’s key to us winning. That’s what we’ve been working on all year long,” he said. “We don’t have selfish players — sometimes we get a little bit one on one — guys thinking they can do things on their own having confidence in themselves. But we’re a much better team when they move the basketball and create open shots. I thought that’s what the difference was in the game tonight.”

The statement was never more evident than during a 21-1 run covering 3:47 of clock in the second quarter when the Mustangs built a 34-15 lead.

High school varsity sports roundup from Feb. 1. »
The stretch featured aggressive defense, extra passes and good aim from the perimeter to go with efficient drives to the rim.

Midway through the second quarter, the Mustangs made four swift passes — the final one had Kyree Scott finding Spruell in the right corner for the second of four 3 pointers in the game-changing run.

The Patriots would gain momentum with their own 9-2 run to close out the half — junior guard Malcolm Day scoring seven of his game-high 22 points in the stretch — cutting the lead to 36-24 at the break. But the Mustangs opened with the first five points of the third quarter and they pulled away from there. Junior forward Shawn Jones finished with 16 points and provided strong work on the boards, while Scott added 14.

“We just all bought in,” said Roberson. “We didn’t play very well the first game — we only beat them by [two] points — and we thought we could have played so much better. We’re just playing like that every day at practice so it’s just another day for us. … We came out here and we were prepared.”

Meade’s Andre Campbell (5) makes a layup in the third quarter of Tuesday’s game against Old Mill.
Meade’s Andre Campbell (5) makes a layup in the third quarter of Tuesday’s game against Old Mill. (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Sun)
Meade Senior guard Andre Campbell, who finished with eight points and was a steadying influence throughout the game, is seeing his team grow more and more each practice and game.

“At the beginning, we were all separated. But as the season goes on, we all hang out away from basketball and it’s become something bigger than basketball. Our chemistry is playing a big part of what we’re doing and where our record is at right now,” he said.

While the injury to Stacy, who is expected back soon, forced his Patriots to take on different roles, Old Mill coach Greg Smith wasn’t looking for excuses. Instead, he hopes to find answers soon.

“We’ve got to come together as a team — it’s just that simple,” he said. “We went into halftime with a little bit of momentum cutting the lead down to 12, but we just came out flat. So they were playing team basketball and we were playing too much individual basketball.”

Meade next hosts Broadneck at 7 p.m. Friday. Old Mill returns to action next Tuesday at North County with game time set for 5 p.m.

M – Roberson 18, Jones 16, Scott 14, Campbell 8, Spruell 18, Mclean 6. Totals: 29 11-19 80

OM — Day 22, Bell 9, Smith 6, Santiago 1, Mollohan 4, Savage 1, James 2. Totals: 19 2-8 45

Half: M, 36-24

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Meade senior Bryson Spruell faced a 10-point, fourth-quarter deficit as calm as one could possibly be. He prodded one corner of the court, settled his feet and shot: 3-pointer.

He tried the other corner: 3-pointer. Then 10-point spread was whittled to two.

If he could just make one more.

From the center of the arc, Spruell sunk one more, putting Meade ahead.

When Arundel recaptured the lead from the foul line, Spruell did not panic. Instead, he did it again.

Those four 3-pointers fueled the Mustangs’ epic comeback against Arundel in an eventual 62-61 victory in what could’ve been a preview of what’s to come in the regional playoffs.

“It is just beautiful,” Mustangs coach Mike Glick said. “It was a total team effort. The kids are a resilient bunch. A lot of teams would’ve folded in this environment.”

The win also finally served revenge against what the Wildcats did nearly two years ago.

Spruell grinned as he thought of it. What was once a painful memory — Arundel defeating Meade in the region championships in 2020 — is now resolved. This Mustangs team is mostly juniors on down, but for Spruell and the seniors who were then junior varsity, it was long-awaited revenge.

“I was tired of losing. I had to step it up,” said Spruell, who led the way with 13 points. Junior Xavion Roberson had 10.

Meade nearly tumbled in the third quarter just as it did two years ago. Arundel pushed ahead by 10 and the Mustangs could not seem to claw back. But this was not the same team. It was methodical in deploying three timeouts. Each time, Glick and his staff reminded the players, stay in the game.

Meade certainly benefits from its three seniors but that’s not solely what got the team to buy-in come the fourth quarter. It’s simple, really. They’re a team in the truest sense.

“It’s not me, it’s not the coaches. It’s a group that likes each other,” Glick said. “It’s not a group that’s selfish. They share the basketball. That was evident the first week of the season.”

Size did not aid Meade. Arundel’s system was perfect: 6-foot-9 Azim Sana easily floated assists to the likes of Karris Scott (13 points), deposited his own or plucked rebounds.

That’s how Arundel cruised to an early 8-0 advantage and drove Meade, uncharacteristically panicked, into a timeout in under two minutes.

Perhaps that did the trick. The Mustangs remerged a renewed beast, their passing and shot selections more confident, more on-brand. But pretty quick, they realized how tough Arundel really was.

Senior Messiah Anderson sparked another Wildcats run with back-to-back baskets. But Meade rallied to get within 16-14 after a quarter.

Meade adjusted to the size discrepancy boxing out. Both Spruell and Glick attested that success predominantly to bigs John Teague and Shawn Jones.

The margin didn’t change after the second quarter, Arundel led 31-29 at halftime.

Glick challenged his players then to stay in the game.

“It motivated me a lot,” Spruell said. “Really, we all just came out with energy. That’s what we needed.”

The game began to follow a little bit of a pattern in the third quarter. As soon as Meade caught up, the Wildcats would collect a little steam, push ahead and send Meade into a timeout.

While Arundel remained consistent, Meade scored, some, but did not string together streaks. The Mustangs fell behind by double-digits for the first time and were down 48-39 after three.

High school varsity sports roundup from Jan. 25. »
Spruell is more than comfortable with 3-point shooting, which carried Meade in the fourth. In-game, his coach said he sometimes needs the second touch to get it.

“I’m really proud of Bryson. He stepped up in the biggest game of the season,” Glick said. “… We challenged him at halftime. I was proud of his rebounding and defense.”

Key plays from Spruell and Jones among others in the fourth told Meade one thing.

“Tells me we’re the best in the county,” Spruell said.

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Nothing fazes the members of the Meade boys basketball team.

Whether leading Southern by 16 to battling to maintain that lead, the Mustangs remained mild as May. They showcase trust in one another in passes through traffic, in boxing out on offensive rebounds, in maintaining leads.

And why not? It’s gotten them this far.

High school varsity sports roundup (Jan. 18) »
Led by versatile junior Xavion Roberson, the Mustangs cruised to their seventh win in a row, a 74-47 victory over the Bulldogs to Improve to 8-0 in county play.

“It’s one of the most together teams I’ve coached in 34 years,” Meade coach Mike Glick said after his team improved to 8-1 overall. “They play for each other. There’s no selfishness whatsoever. The kids are totally bought in.”

When Glick and his staff lay critiques on their players mid-game, the Mustangs visibly absorb it. There’s never a complaint, the coach said. Even when Meade limited its rotation Tuesday, the bench supported without protest.
It’s a team, Glick said, that is truly pleasurable to coach. That translates directly to the floor.

“We just play off each other,” said Roberson, who had 18 points. “We don’t care who scores. We just want to win the game.”

Meade is no more fortunate than anyone in Anne Arundel in that it lost practically every player from last season. This year’s group meshed quickly. Junior John Teague remembers that bond they felt with one another from the very first day of practice.

“We’re a good team. We work together, play together, practice hard with each other,” said Teague, who had 16 points. “We’re trying to get to the top. We’re trying to get a championship.”

If it wasn’t for Southern’s cold shooting early, the Mustangs would’ve found themselves stuck in a hole. Once Meade relaxed, Roberson, Shawn Jones and Kyree Scott began to push in the paint and flick in easy layups. Their box-and-one defense quickly frustrated the Bulldogs, who quickly lost their early pace.

Suddenly smothered under an 18-4 score, Southern made an effort to pressure its guests under the net. Try as they might, though, the Bulldogs could not successfully box out.

“Going into the end of the first quarter, we had ‘em,” Roberson said.

Where there was wealth with Meade’s top scorer, Roberson, there was famine with Southern’s. Senior and Division I hopeful Larry Bulluck stamped 20-plus-point performances throughout the season. But for a time, Bulluck was locked down Tuesday.

Roberson approached Glick before the game and demanded to guard Southern’s best player.

“I love that. It’s showing leadership on his part,” Glick said. “And he did an outstanding job.”

Guard Aureon Johnson hit Southern’s first two 3-pointers of the game, kicking off an 11-0 Bulldogs run at the top of the second that cut the deficit to 10. Senior Chris Thomas followed suit hitting a 3-pointer.

Most of the quarter slipped away from Meade before Roberson settled in and drilled Meade’s first triple. And it appeared he’d sparked the life again when senior Andre Campbell complimented him with a basket.

Then, Bulluck finally had his say: a 3-pointer, a steal-to-layup and then another trey. He finished with 12 points.

Leading 33-25 at halftime, Meade’s lead showed cracks. Rather than fretting, Meade’s staff adjusted – shading towards Thomas, for instance.

Really, there’s one thing that keeps them stable.

“We just feel like we’re the best,” Roberson said.

The Mustangs patched the holes, stringing confident passes for baskets, powerful box-outs for baskets and stripping Bulldogs for baskets.

While Southern didn’t wither away entirely, Meade gardened its double-digit control through the third quarter and took a 50-33 lead.

But all the things Meade excelled in, it put on full display in the fourth. The Mustangs carved daring runs through Southern’s defense and when those shots didn’t land, players like Jones and Teague bodied Bulldogs down to hit the putback.

“Shawn and John compliment each other excellently. John’s the heart and soul of our team,” Glick said, “a great rebounder and unselfish kid. Sometimes he’s too unselfish and he compliments Shawn because Shawn’s more of a lengthy, inside blocker. It’s great to have two big men that are totally different.”

The players nodded understandingly at their assistant coach, Mike Francis, when he said, “The score of the game doesn’t matter. It’s how we finish.”

That mentality stretches beyond this game. As Teague said, there is one goal. They won’t get cocky in their abilities, no matter how confident in them they are.

“It’s really the heart,” Teague said. “What we put on the court.”

Added Roberson, “It’s the bigger picture. We know what to do to get there.”

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T.J. Speight, Meade, junior, guard

Junior guard T.J. Speight scored in double figures in 22 of 24 games, erupting for a career-high 40 points to lead an upset of top-seeded North County in the Class 4A East Region I semifinals.

Speight ranked second in Anne Arundel County with a scoring average of 20.6 points, many of which came from the free throw line. The 5-foot-11, 155-pounder took the ball strong to the basket and wound up attempting 221 free throws and making 176 (80 percent). Speight also amassed 95 rebounds (4.0 average), 62 assists (2.6) and 47 steals (2.0).
He scored in double figures in 22 of 24 games, erupting for a career-high 40 points to lead an upset of top-seeded North County in the Class 4A East Region I semifinals. He also scored 38 points versus Old Mill and 30 against Glen Burnie.

“TJ Speight is the definition of a student-athlete and a winner. He’s a throwback kid by carrying a 3.3 grade point average while excelling at three sports (also football, track and field),” Meade coach Mike Glick said. “Our staff couldn’t be prouder of how he bought in and embraced being a leader and a great teammate. TJ is a great representative of our school community and is loved and respected throughout our building. One of the c players I’ve been blessed to coach in my 32 years.”

In a battle where every flinch was either a shot or a turnover, where each basket was amplified 100 decibels by a roar of a crowd packed to the walls in white or black clothes, who would emerge with a handful of tickets to the Class 4A state tournament? Who wanted it more?

That, you could see in the ferocity with which sophomore Karris Scott flung himself into the air — fighting for a rebound with nobody but air. That, you could see with the intensity with which junior Nigel Omotosho drove through a four-player pileup to the net and somehow made it.

That, you could see as Arundel players crashed into one another like a hurricane flood when the Class 4A East Region I title was truly in their hands.

The Wildcats rode a surge of energy in the fourth quarter to outpace their rival Meade, 63-52, in a clash that was, in itself, its own Route 175 Classic.“We love each other, and we did it for each other,” said Omotosho, who netted 14 points for Arundel. “I’m so happy to be on that banner. Everyone doubted us. And we’re really out here now.”

Arundel coach Rodney Ramsey always knew he had the talent, even in downward seasons in years’ past. It was something that coaches long before him had seeded in the ground, that other coaches and Ramsey himself worked to bloom.

On Thursday night, Ramsey’s Wildcats found the ingredient that, when combined with skill, would produce a victory in the region championship — resilience.

“This was something we started a long time ago and started to build, and we finally did it,” Ramsey said. “We feel good about it.”

Junior Tyson Brooks, who also had 14 points, suffered a sophomore season in which he and his fellow Wildcats could only finish with three county wins in hand.

Thursday’s achievement felt sweeter for it. “I’ve been waiting for this since freshman year. Last year, we had three county wins and now we’re regional champions,” Brooks said. “It’s a blessing from God.”

Deadlocked at 10 points apiece after one quarter, someone needed to pull a stick of dynamite from his pocket to break away from his opponent. For Meade, it was junior Nasir Brockington that had the lit fuse in his hand.
Brockington, who’d already had his share of all-star moments from the two previous playoff games, had run point on nearly every drive up to this time, a minute into the second quarter. When he found he couldn’t find an open teammate, the junior settled behind the arc and sunk a 3-pointer.

After that, Arundel, which struggled through the Mustangs’ choking defense to stir up anything good inside, turned to a different kind of star to swing momentum its way.

That came through every pair of long arms that hooked a would-be Meade shot and pounded it to the floor, carving room for Brooks to lay in a few baskets in the absence of Mustangs scoring.

“I thought their size was the difference in the game,” Meade coach Mike Glick said. “They’re a very, very long team and had some easy putbacks. That was the difference.”

That seemed to be the game plan that could quell a modestly-sized Meade team; that is, until junior TJ Speight, who dropped 40 on No. 1 seed North County two days ago, began to toss a little flair.

Speight’s triple snapped Meade’s scoreless streak and brought the gap. Two more points at the foul line gave them a lead.

Had Brooks not battled through traffic to deposit a last-second layup to put Arundel up 22-21 before the buzzer, Speight (18 points) could have gift-wrapped momentum by way of a Mustangs lead for the visiting team at halftime.

That’s exactly why the Wildcats had to draw up a blueprint to take Speight out of the equation entirely, and they found one. “It was effective,” Brooks said, “so we won.”

Arundel couldn’t quite plug every leak Speight worked through in the third quarter, as the junior guard would break through to notch seven points, inlcuding three from the perimeter, before the clock expired. But when the fourth quarter began, the Wildcats made sure Speight was nowhere to be found, relying on a 3-2 defense to slow Meade down.
“We also went man after the half to make sure everybody stopped getting good looks,” Omotosho said.
It wasn’t just the Arundel defense that needed to look inward at halftime.

Omotosho shot blanks in the first two quarters. In the second two, all he could do was land basket after basket.
“I have to do a self-talk, tell myself I’m not missing any more layups and help my team out,” he said. “That’s what I did.”
All of Omotosho’s 14 points came in the second half, as the 6-foot-3 junior tag-teamed with Brooks to strip the Mustangs of hope and pile it up on Arundel’s side.

The two combined for 18 points in the latter portion of the game, doing so as their fellow teammates kept chipping around them.

The Mustangs, on their third road game in a week, funneled the last of their energy into the third quarter, as they momentarily plucked a 43-42 lead from their hosts on Speight’s trey. To Glick, that was emblematic of the team that wouldn’t give up when they were just 5-11, that lost seven games in the final minute and still believed.

“We held it together, and we just got better and better as the season went on because everyone bought in. I just couldn’t be prouder of the kids,” Glick said. “They might have lost the last game, but to me, it was a championship effort.”
But come fourth quarter, Arundel still had energy to power all of Gambrills.

Meade junior Omar Beattie’s 3-pointer in the fourth would be the Mustangs’ last tying score and second-to-last field goal of the night. After senior guard Quaadir Spence’s full-court layup, there was nothing that could stop an Arundel player as he narrowed in on the net.

Of the last 14 Wildcats points not scored from the free throw line, only one shot misfired.
“Every player played their part,” Brooks said. “Each guy knew what they had to do and we came out with it at the end.”