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No. 15 Meade holds off Sherwood’s rally for first trip to College Park since 2016
By James Peters
SILVER SPRING – Like a baseball closer toeing the rubber looking to stymie a late rally to close out the victory, Meade High senior guard Kyree Scott stepped to the free throw line with his team clinging to a 56-51 lead with 16.3 seconds left in Wednesday’s 4A state boys basketball semifinal.
A year after a blowing a double-digit second half advantage in the same stage, the Mustangs saw another big advantage evaporate. The Mustangs had converted just 11 of 26 free throws Wednesday when Scott stepped to the line with the Sherwood faithful frantically trying to distract him.
Scott reversed that trend and exercised the memory of last year’s collapse, calmly burying two double-bonus free throws as the No. 15 Mustangs advanced with a 58-51 victory over the Warriors from Montgomery County at Montgomery Blair.
Scott led Meade (24-3 overall) with 17 points and senior post Shawn Jones added 13. Vincent Frene and Evin Thompson each finished with 14 points for Sherwood.
Meade and Parkville have unfinished business in state boys basketball playoffs
Meade is headed to the state final for the first time since 2016. The Anne Arundel County champs will play fifth-ranked Parkville for the 4A crown, Saturday at 8 p.m. at the University of Maryland’s Xfinity Center.
The Mustangs were able to punch their ticket to College Park after avoiding another state semifinal collapse. Last year, Meade had a 14-point lead early in the third quarter before Montgomery County’s Churchill rallied to take the lead in the fourth quarter. The Mustangs rebounded, taking the lead late in regulation, but Churchill made just enough plays to claim a 55-50 victory at Henry A. Wise.
Wednesday evening in Silver Spring, Meade led 48-33 entering the final eight minutes of regulation. The Warriors, converting off turnovers and hard drives to the basket, trimmed down the Mustangs’ sizable margin.
Meade was only 4-of-11 in the quarter from the free throw line when Scott toed the free throw line with 16.3 seconds left in regulation of a two-possession game.
“For 10 minutes at the end of practice, we work on free throws,” said Scott. “We have the sound player on, so I’ve been there before. I’ve got to seize the moment. That’s all that happened. I’m glad we got over the hump. We took this game as a get-back to the state finals.”
After a slow start, Meade gained a 16-11 lead after one quarter of play behind a 14-3 run sparked by 6 points from Scott and back-to-back 3-pointers by Zamar Jones and KeSean Graham to erase an 8-2 deficit. Both defenses stiffened in the second quarter resulting in 17 total points with the Mustangs entering halftime with a 26-18 lead.
Meade ballooned its cushion to 19 points in the third, consistently attacking the basket both in its halfcourt offense and in transition, with the versatile Jones pouring in seven of 13 points on a combination of halfcourt looks, a fastbreak layup, and two free throws while being fouled on a break.
“We knew in the first quarter, it was going to set the tone for everybody,” said Jones, who ripped down 10 rebounds and helped break Sherwood’s press with his ability to bring the ball up the court. “We knew if we got the lead, it was going to be a hard-fought battle (for Sherwood) to come back. We just believed in each other and just executed.”
The Mustangs looked poised to easily punch their fourth state final ticket after Xavion Roberson’s runner gave them a 15-point lead midway through fourth, but Sherwood scored 13 of the game’s next 17 points to trim the deficit to 4 with 59.9 seconds remaining on a pair of free throws by Frene.
Frene produced 7 of his 14 points during the run that included a handful of turnovers by the Mustangs against their opponent’s full court press. Jones halted that rally by making 1 of 2 double bonus free throws.
Scott then rebounded an errant 3-point attempt by Thompson and was fouled, leading to his game-clinching free throws.
“We most definitely did (miss a lot of free throw attempts),” Jones said. “We knew it was going to be a free throw game at the end. If we knock down at least one of the two, we knew we were going to play defense, get the ball back, and get to the free throw line.”
“We’ve had some close games this season,” Meade coach Mike Glick said. “I did not think about, you know, what happened last year in the moment until the game was over, but I’m really, really proud of how we stuck together and how we executed toward the end of the game, knocked down some big-time free throws.”
Since leaving Wise after the disappointing loss in last year’s state semifinals, it’s been College Park or bust for Meade, which returned a major portion of its roster this season.
The Mustangs will play Parkville in an all-Baltimore area championship finale. The Knights defeated Montgomery County’s Gaithersburg, 71-58, in the other 4A semifinal, played at Wise.
Meade last won a state championship (4A) in 2015.
“Last year, we didn’t have the chance to do that (play in the state final). My heart breaks for our kids last year, especially our seniors, who didn’t get to experience that . . . so, I’m really, really happy that these kids, these nine seniors we have, have a chance to play their last game at the University of Maryland,” said Glick.
“It’s a pleasure (to make the state final)…We worked for this moment. We’re just going to stay humble and not settle,” said Jones. “Get back to practice and get ready for the state final on Saturday.”
CLASS 4A STATE SEMIFINAL at Montgomery Blair
NO. 15 MEADE 58, SHERWOOD 51
Sherwood – Vincent Frene 14, Evin Thompson 14, Fontaine Green 5, Isaiah Smith 3, Chris Hall-Taylor 6, Micah Webb 6, Mason Eller 3. Totals: 18 10-15 51.
Meade – Kyree Scott 17, KeSean Graham 7, Zamar Jones 3, Shawn Jones 13, Lucaya Baldridge 6, John Teague 3, Xavion Roberson 9. Totals: 22 13-28 58.
Sherwood 11 7 15 18 – 51
Meade 16 10 22 10 – 58
By Varun Shankar March 8, 2023 at 10:32 p.m. EST
As Meade huddled with under a minute left in Wednesday’s Maryland 4A boys’ semifinal, Coach Mike Glick saw no sign of panic. Instead, his players met him with clear eye contact and steady communication.
The Mustangs’ play hadn’t been as calm — they had let Sherwood trim a 15-point deficit at the end of the third quarter to just four. A flurry of giveaways and missed free throws prevented Glick’s squad from getting comfortable.
But the Mustangs’ defense kept its poise, holding the Warriors scoreless in the final minute to clinch a spot in the state final with a 58-51 win at Montgomery Blair High.
“Man, I was just hoping we’d get over the hump,” said senior forward Kyree Scott, who scored a game-high 17 points. “I tried to keep my composure and keep my team together because I know we’ve been there before.”
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The Mustangs didn’t make it easy. Meade turned the ball over on three possessions late, the last coming when an overzealous offensive rebounder jumped for a fast-break layup that probably would have gone down anyway and nullified it because of basket interference.
The win sent Meade into a state final against Parkville on Saturday at Xfinity Center. The Knights beat Gaithersburg in the other semifinal, 71-58.
Meade (24-3) advanced to the state semifinals a season ago and took a 14-point lead against Churchill but gave up a 20-0 run and lost by five. In that game, Glick saw his team unravel. These Mustangs avoided such a fate.
“Experience is the best teacher,” the coach said.
The fourth-quarter surge was the second comeback Meade fended off. The first came when Sherwood (21-6) made four three-pointers in the third quarter to cut a 19-point lead to nine. But the Mustangs answered.
“I knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” senior guard Xavion Roberson said. “Our team knew that. We stayed together, and we handled business.”
The win, the Mustangs’ sixth straight, ensured an impressive season will get a fitting final chapter. An 18-1 start made the Mustangs the class of Anne Arundel County before they suffered back-to-back losses to Broadneck and South River. But Meade ended the regular season with a blowout of Chesapeake. Then came a rematch with the Bruins in the county championship, in which the Mustangs earned a measure of revenge with a decisive nine-point victory.
The last piece of business comes Saturday, with Meade searching for the program’s first championship since 2015.
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.”
By Katherine Fominykh Capital Gazette
Mar 04, 2023 at 6:10 pm
A different Meade boys basketball team made it to the Class 4A state semifinals one year ago. From the outside, most of the faces are the same, save for a few graduations.
But inside, these Mustangs are completely new: older, wiser, more mature. They proved it in their last appearance on their home court, dominating the glass, pushing the pace on offense and holding steady despite some foul trouble in a 64-53 win over No. 7 seed Wootton on Saturday.
The No. 2 seed Mustangs next face No. 3 seed Sherwood on the same stage — and likely the same location — of their downfall this time last year. In that game, Meade led by double-digits before crumbling in a loss to Winston Churchill.
The boys who remained shed their tears, then spent the next 364 days narrowing their focus on winning the title.
“To get back to that destination, then to come out with a victory, stay together, and mentally prepare for the last one,” said senior Shawn Jones, who netted 17 points and 10 rebounds on Saturday.
Meade coach Mike Glick travels to the state semifinals for the sixth time: four with Gywnn Park, two with Meade. He’s garnered only one win at this stage, and none in the state final.
It’s not just the bright gleam of anticipation in his players’ eyes that make him hope next Tuesday’s game is not their last.
“It’s a senior-laden team. It’s a team that’s experienced,” said Glick, who coached his 100th Meade game on Saturday. “It’s a team that’s learned to play with each other, so I just think that’s why they’d been able to set a goal for themselves: winning a state championship and not getting settled with the early successes. It’s kept them on-task and focused.”
Several players embodied the growth this season, just as several scored in double-digits Saturday. But senior Xavion Roberson (19 points, eight assists) stood out above them all.
After an exemplary junior season that earned him an All-County selection, Roberson came into December more of a shadow of his former self. Glick and his staff sat Roberson down and challenged him to take the role that should be his: the leader. To leave emotions behind, to own the ball.
“Ever since then, he’s totally embraced everything. His maturity and the way he’s become our team leader in January, February and now March is just remarkable,” Glick said. “That’s the reason we’re here right now.”
It started with Jones dominating on the glass, drawing a few fouls and hitting a pair of free throws.
The 5-11 senior’s physical form seemed to melt away as he moved through Wootton scrums. Combined with Jones, Meade took the lead for the first and final time.
Then began the fun: KeSean Graham took the floor and sank two 3-pointers. Roberson joined him for another to make it 20-7. The Mustangs hardly stopped, bolting from one end of the floor to the other, Patriots chasing breathlessly behind.
The urgency addled Wootton to the point it no longer felt comfortable taking shots from the perimeter, but it had no answer in the paint.
Junior Zamar Jones (13 points) barely put five steps onto the hardwood before hitting a 3 to give the Mustangs a 23-7 lead: a deficit that wide would startle any state quarterfinalist into attack mode.
Wootton junior Taj Smith pushed his squad into double-digits from beyond the arc, signaling the freedom the Patriots had been able to carve out on the perimeter again.
Still, much of what Wootton had going for it in the second quarter was the whistle. Meade’s thorny defense started to stick barbs in its own side, sending the Patriots to the free-throw line and Kyree Scott to the bench with three fouls.
The Patriots seemed to sense the shifting wind. Wootton’s Peter Stanton stepped toe to toe with senior John Teague and Shawn Jones on the defensive glass, scoring six points to bring the Patriots within 35-23.
“You’re not going to beat teams by 20 points on the regular,” Glick said. “Teams are going to make runs at you. I just thought they responded to the runs, which was great.”
Roberson didn’t mind. The senior still battered through Wootton guards, rolling in another layup and keeping Meade on top, 37-26, at halftime.
The rest took his lead.
“We did our thing,” Teague said. “Anytime you’re down, this team picks you up. It’s the love we have here: it’s a good love.”
It wasn’t the frenzied monopoly Meade rode in the first quarter, but it was Meade basketball. Shawn Jones put rebounds away. Zamar Jones hit from 3-point range. Teague and Scott pressured ball-handlers into turnovers. All of them scratched the boards, boxing Wootton out. The Patriots found themselves on the wrong side of a 14-8 run.
When shots didn’t fall, one senior was always there: Teague.
He took his coaches’ lessons as gospel: pass to the shooters and rebound. Glick doesn’t believe he’s seen his 6-3 senior play better than these playoffs.
“I kept my composure,” Teague said. “My coach tells me to go hard: I go hard.”
Suddenly everyone wearing white — except Roberson — had three fouls as Meade took a 57-36 lead. But no one fouled out. Scott buckled down and executed on defense. Glick felt pride that he never earned his fourth.
The senior crew held the lead until Glick relieved them and swapped in the backups with under two minutes left. At that time, Meade led by 20.
The finality of playing their last home game sunk in at different moments, but it skimmed off Roberson as he struggled with the scissors to slice off his piece of net.
He doesn’t think it’ll all truly sink in until the season is over. He doesn’t intend for that to happen until he’s standing on University of Maryland’s floor, lifting a plaque with his teammates.
“We’re finally here,” Roberson said. “Time to prove ourselves.”
By Katherine Fominykh Capital Gazette
Feb 28, 2023 at 9:38 pm
Meade’s KeSean Graham hits a three-point shot in the third quarter. The Meade Mustangs defeated the
Meade coach Mike Glick noticed KeSean Graham months ago.
The 5-foot-9 guard was a ghost last winter behind seniors Andre Campbell and Bryson Spruell. But when Graham arrived for summer workouts and played with more energy than anyone, Glick told his assistant coaches, “Watch this one. He’s going to do something this year.”
Graham lived up to his coach’s words Tuesday night, in the top-seeded Mustangs’ rout of No. 5 Arundel, 64-39. The senior helped permanently swing the momentum in moments Meade needed a little flair, amassing 15 points on five 3-pointers.
Meade’s seniors know better than anyone that one playoff win doesn’t give you a trophy. The Mustangs fully remember falling one game shy of the state final last year. Meade hosts Reservoir in Thursday’s Class 4A East Region I championship game.
“Our team is all seniors. This could be our last game. So we have to play off,” Graham said. “Stay motivated.”
Meade wouldn’t have won so handily if it was just Graham doing the work. It’s never been the Mustangs’ style to put the onus on one person, or even two. Meade is at its best when every person on the floor is fulfilling their role.
And the Mustangs reached a personal best on Tuesday.
“We have a senior-laden team that has really come together in terms of being friends and brothers off the court,” Glick said. “And it’s very obvious there’s no selfishness on the team. The kids buy in to everything we’re bringing with them.”
It wasn’t just his offense either. Graham’s strengths weren’t limited to his offensive output. He shouldered one of the most essential — if not the most essential — tasks of the night in guarding Arundel junior Noah Frayer, one of the best shooters in the county who had 37 points against Meade in the regular season and 37 against Old Mill on Friday.
Meade forced early turnovers and yanked down defensive rebounds. The Mustangs deployed a diamond-and-one defense on Arundel’s Noah Frayer, who posted 37 points on Meade in the regular season and 37 against Old Mill in Friday’s quarterfinal. Sophomore Jaisean Kenner led the effort in shutting the prolific attacker, who failed to score until the fourth quarter.
“The fact he didn’t touch a ball, that we stayed in front of him,” Graham said, “as soon as he tried to drive on us, we cut him.”
But other than John Teague, Meade struggled to score.. But It wasn’t Teague’s baskets that changed that; it was his hands.
Most teams zero in on 6-foot-6 senior Shawn Jones because of his length and neglect Teague. Tuesday proved the same; Arundel zoned in on Jones and Xavion Roberson. Teague took advantage. He pulled down offensive and defensive rebounds and limited the Wildcats’ possessions.
“I thought John had maybe one of the best games he’s had in a Meade uniform,” Glick said. “John is one of the best rebounders in the county. He was absolutely relentless tonight.”
Arundel had a chance to get within a point in the final seconds of the first quarter, but Roberson came up with a steal and fed Graham for a 3-pointer to close the first quarter 16-10.
Between Graham, Teague and Kyree Scott, you wouldn’t have even noticed Meade’s two leading scorers, Roberson and Jones, hadn’t yet scored.
By the time Roberson did add his input — a layup and a 3-pointer sandwiching another Scott basket — the Mustangs were in full control, leading 36-18 at halftime.
“I couldn’t be happier how our kids embraced the game plan,” Glick said. “Seized the moment.”
That isn’t to say Roberson (17 points) didn’t collect a share of spotlight for himself. The senior stormed in the last three Meade baskets of the third quarter and accounted for eight of the Mustangs’ 21 points in the frame. What he didn’t score, he tended to assist.
“We go as he goes. His leadership is unbelievable,” Glick said. “His ability to talk to us about what he’s seeing on the court, and he’s terrific in transition. And our team’s premise is getting defensive stops and rebounds to get out in transition.”
Even after Glick swapped out his starters with four minutes left in the fourth, Arundel still turned over the ball. It still missed open shots. Sylvan Amegashie made a basket and then blocked the Wildcats on the other end, to the absolute delight of his teammates.
The Mustangs will celebrate this game before growing serious for No. 2 Reservoir. They don’t take the visitors from Howard County lightly; they’ll work the next two days on a game plan to ensure they’re ready.
But it’s not just film preparing them for victory.
“The hope of winning it all,” Graham said. “We have to get it this year.”