Meade boys basketball holds off Sherwood for 58-51 win and first trip to state championship game in 7 years
By Katherine Fominykh Capital Gazette
Mar 08, 2023 at 11:08 pm
SILVER SPRING — Meade boys basketball didn’t even think about what happened in last year’s Class 4A state semifinal. A blown double-digit lead, missed shots, tears and heartbreak were all forgettable.
Still, when Sherwood slashed the second-seeded Mustangs’ double-digit lead to just four points with under a minute to go, Meade faced a choice: maintain composure and advance to play for a state championship, or wilt and go home.
Shawn Jones made his choice. He raced to a loose rebound, preventing No. 3 Sherwood a chance to make it a one-possession game.
Not long after, the Mustangs cascaded over each other with dazzling smiles and happy tears, celebrating a 58-51 semifinal win and their first trip to the state final since 2016.
“It felt like the world. There, at that moment, we felt like we arrived,” said Jones, who scored 11 of his 13 points in the second half. “But we know after today, we go back 0-0, prepare for Saturday and bring [home] the [W].”
Meade faces Parkville, a 70-58 winner of Gaithersburg in the other 4A semifinal, at 8 p.m. Saturday at University of Maryland’s Xfinity Center. In their fourth trip to the final, the Mustangs are seeking their second state title and first since 2015.
For coach Mike Glick, who has experienced six final fours as a public school coach already, his Mustangs have already won half the prize: proving themselves in College Park, win or lose.
Meade players celebrate after a 58-51 win over Sherwood in Wednesday’s Class 4A state semifinal at Montgomery Blair High School.
“My heart breaks for those seniors who didn’t get to do this last year,” Glick said. “These nine seniors will play their last game at Maryland. I couldn’t be happier for them.”
Meade made 13 of 27 free throws, but made three in the final 30 seconds.
Jones’ rebound led to a made free throw. In response, Sherwood rushed, too frantic in its attempt for a 3-pointer and the ball ended up In the hands of Mustangs senior Kyree Scott (19 points). He made two foul shots, and soon after senior Xavion Roberson rushed his teammates and the celebration began.
“Getting that moment was going to shut them down,” Jones said. “They started folding, started rushing 3s.”
Sherwood slowed Meade’s fast break early as the Mustangs battled through fouls as well as the Warriors, but they came to this game hardened to petty adversity.
In a flash, Meade burned Sherwood’s momentum, lead and joy to ashes. Seniors KeSean Graham and Scott spurred the Mustangs’ 12-0 onslaught.
Graham blocked Sherwood’s would-be response to keep the score at 16-11 after one quarter. Lucaya Baldridge made another two shots at the start of the second as Meade built its lead to 26-16 at halftime.
Jones fell silent in the fourth quarter in last year’s loss. Similarly, things weren’t going his way in Wednesday’s first half. But, he said, he just needed to believe in himself.
He’d let everyone hear him this time.
If the 6-foot-6 senior wasn’t hauling down boards alongside John Teague, Jaisean Kenner and Zamar Jones, he was breaking Sherwood’s press. He ran the team’s trademark fast break, scoring seven points in the third quarter.
“Shawn is a special player. He’s a leader. He’s unwavered, never too high and never too low,” Glick said, “and our team reflects that. They feed off his energy.”
Meade wouldn’t suffer a setback akin to surrendering 20 straight points to Winston Churchill last year. But shades of last year crept in.
Shawn Jones converted a 3-point play as the lead ballooned to 19. All the Warriors managed in the third was a single free throw.
That changed quickly.
Four consecutive Sherwood 3-pointers cut Meade’s lead to 42-33. Unfazed, the Mustangs reclaimed control and scored six straight points to close the third quarter.
“I’m proud of how we stuck together and executed towards the end, knocked down some big-time free throws,” Glick said. “What got us that victory was our defense in the last three minutes, getting key stops and taking time off the clock.”
Sherwood had minutes to prove it was not in this round by mistake.
The Warriors went on an 11-2 run and got as close as 55-51. Glick drew his team in to regroup. They just needed stops, to value possession-first mentality, to avoid the trap corners.
Jones made his rebound; he and Scott made the free throws.
“We knew we were the experienced players. We knew we weren’t going to fold when the moment came down, not let it get to the situation it did last year,” Jones said. “We just believed in each other, one through 15.”