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By KATHERINE FOMINYKH | Kfominykh@baltsun.com
PUBLISHED: December 22, 2023 at 10:27 p.m. | UPDATED: December 22, 2023 at 10:30 p.m.

Ashton Truman ran the words through his head as time ticked down and Northeast boys basketball bounced back once again. The 3-pointers the Meade junior had landed, the free throws he’d sunk, none of it stopped the Eagles.

Spurred by guard Cam Albury, Northeast compressed the deficit to a basket or two, much as it did several other times Friday.

But Truman and his Mustangs never let them flip the lead in those moments. When they needed to most, the Mustangs scored.

“Going through my head was: ‘It’s time to score,’” said Truman, who did just that with 24 points. “I felt like I had to have the ball in my hand because I knew I was hot.”

Despite the stress those final seconds caused, Meade preserved a 61-58 lead over Northeast on Friday night at home, handing another expected county front-runner their second loss of the winter and christening a pretty optimistic December for itself.

“We’re a young team that needs to learn how to finish games,” Meade coach Mike Glick said. “We made some inexperienced plays, forced the ball in transition, threw the ball away, giving them second shots, leaving Albury open for shots toward the end. But you know what? To our credit, the kids hung in there down the stretch.”

As much hope as there was for this talented bunch to rebuild last year’s state runner-up swiftly, the proof couldn’t come out of the oven until there was time to bake. From what Glick can see from this 5-1 team — its one loss at the hands of another 5-1 team in South River — things are going exactly as they should.

The strength of Meade on Friday was not only its constant subbing, drawing from a depth it truly did not have — or necessarily need — last year. Northeast coach Roger O’Dea said the scouting reports prepared the Eagles for the revolving door, although admittedly watched his team struggle in moments to figure out who to mark on the fly. Meade’s power was not only in the hot hands, either, although that was most certainly Truman, followed by junior forward Jaisean Kenner (15 points).

“The thing I’m most impressed about is their resiliency to win and their togetherness,” Glick said. “I mean, last game, we’re down to Atholton, who hit 13 3s against us. And they found a way to win. So I’m pleased.”

Northeast both struggled to protect the perimeter and shoot from it. Meade senior Zamar Jones took advantage of this for as long as he could, leading the charge from outside while Kenner swung matters for Meade in the paint.

The Mustangs’ first-half shooting was markedly more effective than Northeast’s as a whole, but its ball control dissolved toward the end of the first quarter and into the second. And while the Eagles could not kickstart their 3-point shooting — and not for a lack of trying — more possessions meant Northeast slashed the 15-8 deficit at the end of the first to 21-20 in the second.

It took nearly losing control to spark fire beneath the Mustangs. Truman salvaged the lead with a timely 3-pointer, before junior Lucaya Baldridge and Truman again sprinted for baskets.

With six seconds left, Albury plucked a long toss, raced into the paint as Mustangs flanked around him, and landed a final shot to make it 28-22 at halftime.

“Once we saw the game on the line, we got the intensity back we wanted,” O’Dea said. “We play that way the whole time, well …

“[Albury’s] got to look for his shot a little earlier in the game, but when you got some really good players, you got to teach them how to jell and find that hot hand. They’ll start to do that.”

Led by Kenner and Truman, the Mustangs made good use of both long and short range, laying down 14 straight points for a 42-30 lead.

To this point, Northeast had not landed a single 3-pointer. Albury corrected that drawn-out deficiency with a pair of them, sandwiched by three layups, knocking the Mustangs lead down to seven and driving Meade now to two timeouts — and then dropped in a few more on the other side of it. Turnovers persisted to dog Meade; its staff pleaded with players to “slow down” just as they’d overthrow a pass.

“It’s a lot of guys getting used to playing varsity basketball, with each other,” Glick said. “A number played on JV together, but in this atmosphere, there’s little things. There’s a couple plays like: Lucaya went to the basket, went too far, not sure he was going to get the pass. Just mistakes that come with not playing with each other.”

Truman, however seemed determined to keep Meade afloat, with six points interjecting Albury’s rampage and pushing the margin back to double-digits, 55-45, with two minutes left.

Glick wasn’t surprised. Truman was Meade’s junior varsity leading scorer. While he did not start to begin this season, he’s earning it now.

“I feel like everybody’s got to realize it’s next man up,” Truman said. “Today, we had talks about how it was going to be: if we get down, next man has to step up, play defense, make shots. Everybody’s gotta be ready.

But offensively, it could not fall so heavily on Albury if the Eagles wanted to win. Shamar Johnson hit two shots, Jadyss Fifer hit one and two foul shots. But still, with basket or free throw, Albury and crew could not overwhelm Meade’s defense in the end.

“Unfortunately, we ran out of time to set a play up,” O’Dea said.

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By JACOB STEINBERG | jsteinberg@baltsun.com | Baltimore Sun Media
PUBLISHED: December 20, 2023 at 9:40 p.m. | UPDATED: December 20, 2023 at 10:20 p.m.

Meade boys basketball is a brand-new group. The Mustangs lost all five starters, nine seniors and 92% of their scoring from last year’s Class 4A state runner-up team.

Despite that fluctuation, the Mustangs have maintained high intensity and camaraderie levels. That played a vital role in Wednesday night’s come-from-behind 77-74 overtime win over Atholton.

Trailing by eight with five minutes remaining, the Mustangs chipped away at the lead. Freshman guard Keon Scott connected on a pair of 3-pointers inside the final four minutes, while Ashton Turman buried a 3-pointer from straight on to give Meade a 65-64 lead with 1:18 left.

“You’ve just got to stay composed and keep the crowd out of your head,” Scott said. “You’ve just got to stay with what’s on the court.”

Scott’s triples were part of the young ball-handler’s 16-point performance, saving his best for the game’s biggest moments. Despite lacking on-court varsity experience, Scott is no stranger to the Mustangs, watching his older brother Kyree start the past couple years on teams that made deep playoff runs.

“Keon Scott is a special player,” Glick said. “There’s a reason he starts as a freshman. He doesn’t play like he’s a freshman, he’s got a lot of composure. He has been around our program and high-level basketball. I was really impressed because he didn’t play his best game in the first half. It was very physical for him and I thought he missed shots that he usually makes. But he was able to get himself composed and I thought his second-half performance was outstanding.”

Atholton responded to Meade’s late surge. Eli Applebaum flew in from the backside for a go-ahead tip-in while Amir Shaheed added a layup pushing the Raiders advantage to three with 21 seconds remaining. However, Meade (4-1) remained confident, leaning on its diligent work on time and score situations in practice.

Out of the timeout, Glick designed a play for a double screen to open up one of their shooters. The Raiders defense thwarted that option but the Mustangs didn’t panic. Scott confidently navigated a trap and found fellow guard Ashton Turman, who dribbled toward the middle and found James Johnson in the corner. Johnson drilled the game-tying 3-pointer inside of 10 seconds remaining.

“Our guys just made a play and James hit a big shot,” Glick said. “I told our players, ‘There’s going to be a time when we’re going to have to get a shot and get stops at the end of games.’ Tonight, it came to fruition. So, I give all that credit to the players. It was nothing that the coaching staff drew up. It was a great play by Ashton. They just had to freelance and James hit a great shot.”

With all of the momentum entering overtime, Meade played with the same relentless intensity that brought it success down the stretch. Scott opened the overtime period with four straight points, while senior Zamar Jones added buckets to continue building the lead. Meade’s defense held Atholton (1-4) scoreless for nearly three minutes. The Mustangs crashed the boards to prevent second-chance opportunities.

“We didn’t make the plays that we needed to make down the stretch,” Atholton coach Jared Albert said. “That’s basketball sometimes and this group will find a way to respond tomorrow. It’s just another opportunity for us to get better tomorrow and learn from this one. You find out what your true character is when your back is against the wall.”

That ineffectiveness offensively represented a stark difference to the beginning of the game. Atholton came out of the gates strong, taking a 9-2 lead behind seven points from Camden Thibeault. The Raiders forced several turnovers that helped them hold that seven-point advantage at the end of the first quarter.

Meade protected the ball better in the second and began trimming the deficit. Turman and Lucaya Baldridge Jr. hit their stride, but Atholton maintained its success from behind the arc. Josh Wright hit a pair of corner 3s to keep the Raiders on top at the break by three. The third quarter was a back-and-forth affair with the teams swapping the lead, ultimately setting up a tied game entering the fourth.

After Meade’s early fourth-quarter lead, Atholton regained the advantage with big shots by Shaheed. Yet just when it seemed the Raiders would pull away, the Mustangs leaned on that team-wide confidence in one another to catalyze the comeback. Scott, Turman, Jones and Johnson all played critical roles down the stretch with Meade showcasing its maturity in a comeback victory.

“It’s about heart,” Jones said. “We preach it in practice all the time. That’s how we lost to South River, because we weren’t rebounding. We had good practices and used it for this game."

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By KATHERINE FOMINYKH | Kfominykh@baltsun.com
PUBLISHED: December 8, 2023 at 10:49 p.m. | UPDATED: December 12, 2023 at 2:11 p.m.

So that’s “rebuilding.”

Meade boys basketball, supposedly under construction after graduating the starting five that led it to the Class 4A state championship game last March, unleashed its second display of skill, talent and power, this time against a top-tier county opponent that the Mustangs could very well see in the playoffs.

“Rebuilding” is senior Zamar Jones stepping into a leadership role and dropping 22 points — mostly 3-pointers. It’s freshman Keon Scott coming off the bench and lighting up the perimeter for 16 points.

“Rebuilding” is Meade picking up where it left off to dictate the tempo and dispel Glen Burnie, 68-55, at home Friday night.

“We have a ways to go. We had a huge lapse in the second quarter, some outrageous Glen Burnie run. But I’m proud of how we responded at halftime,” Mustangs coach Mike Glick said. “We got punched in the face, we got up, and we feel good about ourselves.”

It’s not the same Meade that ruled Anne Arundel County last winter. There’s no 6-foot-6 Shawn Jones grabbing boards under the net, no fiery Xavion Roberson running the offense. But in their place isn’t something lesser. In fact, even though it looked a bit different, it still looked like Meade basketball: quick transitions, bullying rebounding, finesse on the 3-point shot.

That’s what Jones and his fellow varsity returners wanted.

“Once we jell together,” Jones said, “we’re probably unstoppable.”

When Glen Burnie scored first, Meade monopolized the ball for two minutes to figure itself out. The result was an 11-0 run, predominantly spurred by Jones.

Even after regaining possession, Gophers fell ice cold, thawed only slightly by a single layup by Davon McLeod in the final minute of the first quarter. Meade immediately stamped it out — Jones feeding the freshman Scott, who launched a 3-pointer without second thought, drained just before time expired and stood smiling as his older teammates hugged him.

Meade’s Lucaya Baldridge dunks in the second quarter of Friday’s game against Glen Burnie. (Paul W. Gillespie/Staff)
Meade continued to cycle fresh players at a more rapid pace in the second quarter, and for a minute, the momentum didn’t falter. Junior Lucaya Baldridge dunked, follow by slick putbacks from Josh Holmes, a trey from Jones.

But Glen Burnie’s ball-handlers — led by McLeod and Greg Pittman — methodically chipped at Meade’s monopoly through the frame. Senior Tim Shadare popped in the basket that slashed Meade’s lead to one. Then, as the clock approached halftime, Shadare flipped a pass to Pittman, who’s go-ahead, buzzer-beating 3-pointer plinked the rim, rolled and dropped for a 31-29 lead.

“Coach started talking about settling down, move the ball around, see what’s open and look inside,” Jones said. “Inside-out 3s, I started shooting to my side, other people got open.”

Jones was at the wheel as Meade picked up speed to run fast breaks in the third quarter. Then, when it was his turn to shoot, he didn’t miss. Two 3-pointers reclaimed and extended the Mustangs’ lead.

“He and [Lucaya Baldridge] had the most experience, and he had the ball more than Lucaya. I’m really proud of how Zamar has grown up and taken the leadership role,” Glick said. “When negativity happens to him on the court, he’s able to fight through it.”

Granted, the lead should’ve been greater for all the turnovers Meade was forcing. Only the Gophers’ tenacity on the glass held the Mustangs back, but not by much. The team is young, though. Neither Jones nor his coach are too worried about a little mistake like that.

Glen Burnie, once again, fell quiet, but not because Meade kept the ball on its side this time. The Mustangs corralled the Gophers’ shooters with a 1-3-1 defense, spearheaded by junior forward Jaisean Kenner.

After starting in scrimmages, Kenner did not start on Friday. He didn’t play well these last few weeks; he knew that. He was trying to do too much rather than accepting his strengths: a deft rebounder and defensive player.

“I had to step up and be the player that I thought I should be,” Kenner said.

When Kenner returned to the bench after shutting Glen Burnie down again, he and his coach were smiling.

“He changed the entire game,” Glick said. “Our Energizer Bunny. He just made so many hustle plays, deflections, rebounds. One of the best performances I’ve ever seen from the bottom of the 1-3-1.”

That quarter “did Glen Burnie in,” coach Mike Rudd said. Scott replayed the events of the first quarter, a bucket from the perimeter capping a solid lead after three, 49-38. He also hit the last basket of the game.

“Seems like we have somebody we can trust the team to when we leave,” Kenner said.

Meade will not meet Glen Burnie again until February. By that time, Rudd is certain his team will be entirely developed. Bitter as this loss was swallowed by both his team and himself, the longtime Glen Burnie coach recognizes how much further ahead this team than in Decembers past.

Next time may look different.

“Three years ago we went over there and lost by 45 points. A few months later, we saw them again and lost by one,” Rudd said. “We’re a lot farther along than this time last year. We are going to build something.”

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Baltimore Sun high school sports Top 15 polls (March 13) By Baltimore Sun staff
Baltimore Sun

BOYS BASKETBALL (FINAL)
Rank, team, record, previous rank

1. Mount Saint Joseph (38-4) 2

2. City (28-0) 3

3. St. Frances (29-11) 1

4. New Town (22-3) 4

5. Parkville (27-1) 5

6. Edmondson (22-7) 8

7. Meade (25-4) 11

8. Lake Clifton (22-5) 6

9. Mount Carmel (20-16) 7

10. Archbishop Spalding (15-18) 9

11. St. Mary’s (24-7) 10

12. Aberdeen (22-5) 13

13. Broadneck (17-7) 15

14. Wilde Lake (21-4) 14

15. Poly (20-3) 12

Others considered: Calvert Hall (19-18), Dulaney (18-6), John Carroll (14-18), Liberty (19-6), Long Reach (21-3), Loyola Blakefield (11-15)

Boys’ basketball final Top 20: By Washington Post Staff March 13, 2023 at 9:00 a.m. EDT

Another dramatic and entertaining year of D.C.-area high school basketball is in the books. Our final boys’ rankings of the winter are filled with programs that achieved something impressive this season, whether that was a conference championship, a deep playoff run or a strong record.

In College Park, it was a rough few days for local programs at the state championships. Damascus, Largo and Meade put together impressive seasons but came up one win short of ultimate glory.

1. Sidwell Friends (27-4) Last ranked: 1
The Quakers set themselves apart this winter by winning the outright Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference title and a D.C. state title.

2. St. John’s (32-4) LR: 2
The WCAC champion fell to DeMatha in overtime in the Alhambra semifinals.

3. Paul VI (32-3) LR: 3
Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association champion and WCAC finalist will partake in the Geico Nationals tournament at the end of the month.

4. Hayfield (30-1) LR: 4
The Hawks successfully defended last year’s Virginia state title, defeating Patriot on Friday in the Class 6 final.

5. Patriot (27-4) LR: 6
The Pioneers’ impressive season ended one win short of a state title.

6. Bishop McNamara (27-9) LR: 8
The Mustangs fell to DeMatha in the Alhambra championship.

7. Gonzaga (26-11) LR: 7
The Eagles lost to Bishop McNamara in the Alhambra semifinals.

8. Bullis (26-5) LR: 6
The IAC champion was bounced from the Alhambra bracket by Bishop McNamara.

9. Jackson-Reed (28-8) LR: 9
The Tigers reached the D.C. State Athletic Association final for a second straight year.

10. Mt. Zion Prep (27-11) LR: 15
The Warriors earned a gritty win over Shabach Christian in Monday’s Maryland Private Schools Tournament championship game.

11. Shabach Christian (31-7) LR: 10
The Eagles fell to Mt. Zion Prep in the Maryland Private School Tournament championship game.

12. Largo (21-7) LR: 12
The Lions were defeated by New Town in the Maryland 2A championship game.

13. Riverdale Baptist (27-4) LR: 11
The Crusaders had a strong season, winning the Metro Independent School Athletic League title for a second straight season.

14. DeMatha (22-12) LR: 18
The Stags ended a tough season on a high note by beating McNamara in the Alhambra Invitational championship.

15. St. Andrew’s (24-7) LR: 13
The Lions finished in second place behind Sidwell Friends in the MAC regular season standings and conference tournament.

16. Bard (24-7) LR: 14
It was a dream season for the Falcons, who won the D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association and DCSAA A tournaments.

17. Damascus (25-3) LR: 16
After knocking off undefeated Frederick in the state semifinals, the Hornets fell to City College in the Maryland 3A title game.

18. Meade (24-4) LR: 19
The Mustangs lost to Parkville in Saturday’s Maryland 4A title game.

19. South Lakes (24-4) LR: 17
The Seahawks fell to Hayfield in the Virginia Class 6 semifinals.

20. Gaithersburg (19-7) LR: NR
The Trojans reached the Maryland 4A semifinals, where they lost to eventual champion Parkville.

Dropped out: No. 20 Sherwood

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By Varun Shankar March 11, 2023 at 10:50 p.m. EST

A late Meade foul sent Parkville to the free throw line to extend an already impenetrable lead Saturday night. The senior forward stood at midcourt, looking to the Xfinity Center rafters as Knights players high-fived and chest-bumped around him. After the buzzer, he joined fellow senior Xavion Roberson and Coach Mike Glick for a hug before they entered one of their final huddles together.

Jones led all scorers with 25 points, but it wasn’t enough. The Meade boys’ basketball team achieved two of its three goals — securing county and region titles — but lost in the Maryland 4A state championship to Parkville, 72-56.

The senior’s efforts featured six blocks, including one with under three minutes left as he smacked away what looked like a wide-open Knights layup. But the ensuing fast break turned into an air-balled three, and the Mustangs’ deficit remained too steep to overcome.

“We had an incredible season,” Jones said. “ … It’s not the outcome that we wanted, but we always just want to keep our heads up and move forward.”

The loss concluded Glick’s 30th season as a high school head coach. He has spent 17 of those at public schools and led squads to the state semifinals six times. He has never won a state title, with five losses in the final four and now two in the championship game.

“Oh, my God. You kidding me?” Glick said before the game when asked what the achievement would mean to him. “It would be maybe one of the crowning achievements of my coaching career, personally. . . . It’s been elusive.”

His previous appearance in the semifinals came last year when Meade lost to Churchill after blowing a 14-point lead. The Mustangs (24-4) seemingly made up for that defeat this year by beating Sherwood in the semis, quelling a pair of comeback attempts in the process.

The season started with an 18-1 run before back-to-back losses to Broadneck and South River prompted internal reexamination. Meade recovered, beating Broadneck in the Anne Arundel County championship game before galloping through the region for another title.

It looked as though the final goal might be reached, with Jones scoring to put the Mustangs up by three at halftime. He scored again exiting the break, dunking to extend the lead to five. But Parkville (27-1) swung the game in its favor and ended the third quarter ahead by six.

“We’re devastated right now,” Glick said. “I’m a little bit older than the guys with me; I think everybody will look back on this when they become older, and I think they’ll realize the incredible journey that we had.”