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By Glenn Graham Baltimore Sun Mar 11, 2023 at 9:08 pm

COLLEGE PARK — Parkville only saw its season ending one way.

The No. 5 Knights pictured a state title since this time last year, when they lost by two points in the semifinal round. The adversity they overcame since then made them stronger.

In Saturday’s Class 4A championship game, they shook off No. 11 Meade with a dominating second half, enjoying a balanced performance in a 72-56 win at University of Maryland’s Xfinity Center that produced the program’s first state title.

Junior guard Josiah Legree proved the spark, scoring 16 of his 22 points in the Knights’ take-charge third quarter. Senior Caron Smith led with 23 points and Sincere Barfield came off the bench to provide 14.

A season that was dedicated to coach Josh Czerski’s mother, Nancy, who passed away on July 11, ended in jubilation on Xfinity Center’s court.

“Anything less, was kind of a bust for us,” Czerski said. “The kids knew that — we were going to spin things into something positive. This is what we wanted. This is what we started the season for. This is what we spoke about — going 2-0 once we got to the final four.”

The Knights (27-1) beefed up their schedule to prime for the ultimate task, with their only blemish coming in the Baltimore County championship when Class 2A state champion New Town proved better.

Meade, which captured the Anne Arundel County crown, got a sensational 25-point performance from senior Shawn Jones to finish the season 25-3.

With the Knights trailing 37-33 midway through the third quarter, Legree made the rest of the frame his own. He scored 14 points — capped by a 3-pointer and foul — that gave them a 50-41 advantage.

“I just wanted to pick up my game and step up for my team and be a leader,” he said. “I trusted my coach and trusted my teammates to find me and let me find my rhythm throughout the game. It felt great. My teammates kept finding me and I kept scoring and then it opened things up for the rest of the offense like Caron getting his and Sincere.”

In the fourth quarter, the Mustangs tried to muster a final rally with Zamar Jones hitting a 3-pointer that cut the lead to 59-53 with 4:02 to play. But Parkville showed it had plenty left to put the game away.

Tre Worsley hit a follow and Barfield upped the lead to 63-53 before the Knights made six straight free throws to seal the win.

Czerski said more patience on offense and a switch defensively, going to a 1-2-2 pressure zone, played vital in the efficient second half. He reflected on the journey and the support he received from his basketball family.

“My mom passed away on July 11, eight months to the day exactly,” he said. “It’s something we talked about throughout the season. This year, they stepped up to be my crutch, my motivation to get up every day and work for them along with my family and son [Daniel]. These guys have been amazing through that.”

The Mustangs, who also lost in last year’s state semifinals, got plenty of mileage in playing in the state’s big gym on the season’s last day.

“We’re devastated right now. I’m older than the guys with me and I think everybody will look back on this when they become older and they’ll realize the incredible journey that we had,” Meade coach Mike Glick said. “I just couldn’t be prouder of the group of kids. It’s a tough way for us to go out. It wasn’t the third and fourth quarters that we wanted, but it doesn’t diminish at all what these guys accomplished this season together.”

The Knights appeared poised to take hold of the game after settling in late in the first quarter. In the final minute, Smith converted a 3-point play and Barfield hit his second 3-pointer of the frame to give them a 21-13 lead.

On the opening possession of the second quarter, the Knights took their first double-digit lead when Worsley finished inside.

But the Mustangs weren’t deterred.

Getting stops and rebounds and leaning on their long-range shooting, they went on a 13-0 run. John Teague hit two 3s and KeSean Graham hit another from the left side to give the Mustangs a 26-23 lead. A basket from Jones near the buzzer gave Meade a 29-26 advantage at the break.

M — S. Jones 25, Robinson 10, Scott 4, Teague 6, Z. Jones 5, Graham 6. Totals: 20 9-11 56

P — Legree 22, Smith 23, Barfield 14, Okigweh 6, Worsley 6, Woodland 1. Totals: 23 18-21 72

Half: 29-26, M

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By Katherine Fominykh Capital Gazette Mar 11, 2023 at 10:38 pm

COLLEGE PARK — If Meade boys basketball could have just kept doing what won them the second quarter, it’d be the Mustangs holding up the Class 4A trophy Saturday night.

Instead, for three quarters, Meade played as the team Parkville forced them to be. The ones that couldn’t stop the Knights from playing the game they wanted to play. The last step in the Knights’ story, rather than the other way around.

Falling 72-56 in the championship proved just how dangerous Meade’s final opponent truly was. But the score hardly reflected the true nature of the game, and moreover, did not wipe out what Meade boys basketball had done. The Mustangs lost in the state semifinals last year, graduated some key seniors, but chose to improve and go a step farther, becoming state runners-up.

“It’s been amazing. The season, the rollercoasters, it started off tough, but we stayed together,” senior Xavion Roberson said. “We worked through everything, communicated, and I felt like we got better. To be where we are today, win or loss, I’m thankful for it.”

The loss didn’t negate what the Mustangs had been to its community this winter.

Coach Mike Glick knows the pain his team feels now, but couldn’t feel more pride for the role his nine seniors played in the halls of Meade High School.

“It’s great because our school’s gotten a lot of negativity,” senior Kyree Scott said. “For me, everything we’ve done with basketball has been a good thing.”

Senior John Teague felt the doubt from others originally. But to feel the love outpouring all year long proved that what he and his teammates had done was convince everyone to believe in them, regardless of the outcome.

It’s that kind of love, both from community and from the team itself, that inspired Teague to put down two 3-pointers to help spark Meade’s one-and-only run of the night.

“They started pushing me. Coach Glick started to push me, to push me to go harder than what I was doing last year,” Teague said, “and I thank him for that.”

[ Parkville reaches ultimate goal of the program’s first state championship ]

It wasn’t the cavernous expanse of the college court that fazed Meade. It wasn’t the pressure of all they’d done to get here, and how it would end with the second-place trophy if they didn’t put it to good use. It was just their opponent.

Meade had seen no one quite like Parkville in the county this year: unless it looked in a mirror. The Knights moved quickly up the floor. They forced and capitalized on turnovers. They made big blocks, shot game-changing 3-pointers over and over again (8-for-20). They owned the glass and the paint. Parkville funneled away 12 points on second chances, and an incalculable more on loose balls that, in any other game, Meade would be the one coming up with.

“You might feel worse if you played horribly, but I give Parkville a lot of credit,” Glick said. “They moved the ball exceptionally well.”

Senior Shawn Jones seemed the only antidote to the Knights’ play sometimes, shooting 71.5% from field goal range and perfect (5-for-5) from the line for 25 points, as well as 11 rebounds.

The 6-foot-6 senior stood tall in the first quarter and in the last two. It showed just how much he’d grown into what Meade needed him to be.

“I wanted to play with a lot of confidence and believe in myself,” Jones said. “I knew that if I played good, everyone else would feed off that energy. I could get my teammates the ball on offense. On defense, I could block shots and grab long rebounds.”

After trailing 21-13 after one, Meade had Parkville’s master plan under control. For a quarter.

Teague’s attacks sparked Meade’s 10-2 run, and senior KeSean Graham followed his lead. The Mustangs forced Parkville to rush shots and turn the ball over. Meade led 29-26 at halftime.

But in the third quarter, the Mustangs could hear the water rushing toward them. It had the defenses to hold them back. Graham’s 3-pointer seemed to stop Parkville’s run.

They were wrong.

Parkville not only reclaimed its power at the perimeter, outscoring Meade 21-7 to give itself a 49-41 lead. But a deficit Meade could manage. Losing Roberson, who suffered his third and fourth fouls in the third quarter, it could not.

Roberson, who scored 10 points Saturday, ran the point all season. To have to repeatedly bench him and gingerly use him when he was on the floor stole the beginnings of Meade’s drives.

“We stopped attacking the basket the second half. The zone they put on us was very effective,” Glick said.

Meade fell behind 63-53 in the final minutes. Just when hope flared in Jones’ 3-point play, Parkville’s Cayne Woodland (23 points) drained a 3-pointer.

With it fell Jones’ face. A minute remained, but there would be no heroics. There would be turnovers, missed shots and Mustang fouls. And silver medals.

“This is not the outcome we wanted, but we just have to keep our heads up,” Jones said. “This is a lesson, not a loss.”

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No. 3 Knights, Mustangs get opportunity at atonement in 4A semifinals

By VSN Staff
Published on: March 07, 2023 10:30 AM EST|Updated on: March 07, 2023 1:24 PM EST

Since a heartbreaking end to their respective seasons in the Class 4A state boys basketball semifinals last year, Meade and Parkville each made getting back its sole mission this season.

Redemption, as well as a championship, is on the menu for the Mustangs and Knights after advancing back to the 4A state Final Four Saturday. No. 3 Parkville defeated Prince George’s DuVal, 59-49, while Meade eliminated Montgomery County’s Wootton, 64-53,

Broadneck’s bid to make it three Baltimore area teams in 4A state semifinals, came up short in a 67-52 loss to Gaithersburg in Montgomery County. Jalen Carter finished with 17 points for the Bruins (17-8 overall), and Jordan Brown had 14.

The Anne Arundel County regular season champs were unable to overcome a 12-0 opening run by the Trojans, who led 23-7 after the first quarter. Gaithersburg had its largest lead, 33-11, in the second quarter.

Sincere Barfield scored 15 points for Parkville in a victory over Prince George’s County DuVal in a Class 4A state quarterfinal. The No. 3 Knights will play Montgomery County’s Sherwood in a state semifinal match, Wednesday at Henry A. Wise in Prince George’s County. (John Bowers)
Broadneck battled in the second half, closing to 44-36, but couldn’t complete what would’ve been an epic comeback. Meade, which won the Anne Arundel County title game, established a big early lead against Wootton at home.

Senior guard Xavion Roberson led the Mustangs (23-3) with 19 points and post Shawn Jones added a double-double of 17 points and 13 rebounds. John Teague pulled down 13 rebounds.

Meade led 23-8 after the opening quarter, and 51-33 after three, punching its fourth 4A Final Four ticket since 2015. The Mustangs will play another Montgomery County school, Sherwood, Wednesday at Blair.

Last year, Meade blew a 14-point second half lead against Winston Churchill in a state 4A semifinal at Henry A. Wise. The Mustangs recovered to take the lead late, but the Montgomery County squad pulled away for a 55-50 victory.

Parkville gained its third straight state semifinal berth, getting 15 points from Sincere Barfield and Fortune Okigweh finished with 14. Josiah Legree, whose 3-pointer at the buzzer propelled the Knights to an overtime victory over Dulaney in the North Region I final Thursday, added 10.

Parkville (25-1) will play Gaithersburg, Wednesday at Prince George’s County’s Wise, for a spot in this weekend’s 4A state final at the University of Maryland. A year ago, the Knights lost to eventual state champ Prince George’s County’s Eleanor Roosevelt, in a semifinal at North Point in Charles County, ending a bid at a perfect season and first state title.

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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

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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.