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By Katherine Fominykh Capital Gazette •
Feb 18, 2023 at 7:10 pm

To some, the county championship means little. It doesn’t change standings, records or seedings. But try telling that to the Meade boys basketball players, whose bright, unrelenting grins matched their coach’s from the moment they jumped to a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter to the time they hoisted their plaque in the air.

“[Winning this] it’s just a great, powerful thing,” Meade coach Michael Glick said. “It means a lot to the community. It means a lot to us. And I just think it’s nice to be on top of the county.”

Meade rebounded from a rough stretch to post a dominant win against Broadneck, 60-51, on Saturday at Arundel. It’s the Mustangs’ first county title since 2016 and second overall. And it might have only happened because the Bruins beat them before.

The Mustangs (20-3) didn’t exactly enjoy the second week of February. Meade put up what Glick believed to be its worst shooting performance yet to fall by 16 to Broadneck. Three days later the Mustangs fell to South River.

But Glick considers those losses a blessing now. They exposed major weaknesses in Meade’s play and led the Mustangs to drill executing on quick hitters, zone offense and set plays — even new ones they unleashed against Broadneck (14-5) on Saturday.

The Meade boys basketball team celebrates its win over Broadneck on Saturday in the Anne Arundel County championship game.
The Meade boys basketball team celebrates its win over Broadneck on Saturday in the Anne Arundel County championship game. (Paul W. Gillespie/Capital Gazette)
“I just felt like we needed it. We got our heads right,” senior Xavion Roberson, who finished with nine points and six assists, said. “We started locking in in practice, not taking things for granted. We bought into what we know we can do, and we showed them what we’re really about.”

In the first game against Broadneck, Meade’s Shawn Jones struggled to finish around the basket against the smothering Bruins defense. And the same was true of Saturday’s first quarter.

Broadneck snatched the game’s tempo away immediately. Jalen Carter popped off the first two of his six total 3-pointers as Broadneck built a 13-9 lead.

To this point, Jones had been a little too quiet for his own liking. Jaisean Kenner had been putting in work where he could on the perimeter, and Kyree Scott (14 points) completed most of the drives.

“It was all flashbacks of last game,” Scott said. “We needed momentum. I needed to give them energy.”

Jones, meanwhile, couldn’t escape the maelstrom churning around him — three to four Bruins clinging to his 6-foot-5 frame and preventing him from getting a shot off.

Then, Broadneck made a crucial error. It fouled Jones the moment he dropped a basket in.

The senior, who worked tirelessly since last winter to perfect his free throws, put his away. He then tore back to the basket and put another two down, and later muscled his way into the paint for a dunk.

“That was a momentum-changer for us,” Shawn Jones said. “We knew once we started scoring by taking the ball to the paint, getting more foul calls, that was just going to expand our lead even more.”

Jones finished with 26 points and 13 rebounds. His emergence helped Meade take a 31-28 halftime lead.

“We knew whoever wanted that third quarter was going to take charge of the entire game,” Jones said. “We believed in that.”

Meade would not allow Broadneck a moment to think the Bruins could claw their way back. Meade snuffed their offense best it could. The Mustangs got a double-digit lead and made sure it held. The Bruins cut it to eight, but Jones banked a contested ball for a 46-36 lead at the third-quarter buzzer.

Broadneck had one more chance to take Meade down.

Glick considers Scott to be one of the most effective defensive players in the league and the best on the team. He deploys Scott against opponents’ best players for a reason. The stocky senior led the effort to render the Bruins scoreless until Meade dug them a 17-point hole.

“He’s very good at attacking the basket. I was most proud of how he missed a couple shots he normally makes, but he shook that off,” Glick said, “and hit huge shots for us.”

The Mustangs believe in themselves, but believe that no one else does. It’s what makes moments like this special, when they can prove on a big stage that they can outplay the best their county has to offer.

“We’re underdogs,” Shawn Jones said. “People still look at us that way. But we know we’re Meade. We’re going to play with the name on our jerseys and play Meade ball our way.”

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By Katherine Fominykh Capital Gazette Feb 10, 2023 at 11:50 pm

South River boys basketball waited for this night all winter. All five regular starters took the floor together in dramatic darkness, lit only by the glow of the scoring table and the smiles on their faces.

All year, the Seahawks knew once they got Jeremy Berger and James Crimaudo completely healthy — and at the same time — they could really show the county just how unstoppable they could be.

Meade, unfortunately, happened to be the team that met them Friday. After navigating the rapids of back-and-forth runs, high-speed chaos and rocky foul trouble, it was the Seahawks celebrating a 63-54 victory on their regular-season home finale. It was South River proving to the county that it truly is one of the best.

“We have a lot of confidence in who we are and what we’re capable of,” South River coach Darren Hall said. “Sometimes, we’ve been our worst enemies in some ways with things we can control. A lot of times, there’s the injuries and the foul trouble. But to see those guys come together tonight, for them to go out in a game like this, beating a team like Meade, I was real proud of our guys.”

Hall credited the boisterous bunch of South River fans for boosting the Seahawks in moments that frustration threatened to swallow them up. But it wasn’t just the typical fan base the South River boys played for Friday.

Before the game, members of the original South River boys basketball team came to speak with the current crew. The Seahawks carried the burden of going for the first true championship for the program all season long. But to stare into the faces of the very first members of the program really brought the mission home: to put the Seahawks on the map.

“Our program is about love,” senior Trashaun Timmons said. “We’re trying to show the underclassmen, the middle schoolers, that being together is what’s going to take to take us to the next level. You come in, you work, you do whatever it takes to win: you still have each other at the end of the day.”

It’d been a struggle for South River to maintain that vision. Losing two straight to Glen Burnie and Southern ended their winning streak, and a loss to Broadneck knocked the Seahawks out of the county championship race.

“We’re going to come across some bumps, lose to some teams we shouldn’t lose to,” said Crimaudo, who scored 23 points. “but at the end of the day, it’s great to come out and get a team win.”

Both Meade and South River recalled their last meeting fiercely: a double-overtime marathon at the Capitol Hoops Challenge in DeMatha Catholic’s gym. Fouls sent three starters off the floor and the result came down to the wire.

They mirrored each other so perfectly that it was as if they picked up right where they left off.

Nobody could hit a shot without surrendering one, couldn’t implement a zone without struggling against one, couldn’t make a two-basket run without giving up another. It was no wonder the teams went to the second quarter locked at 17, then to halftime tied at 35.

Shortly into the third quarter, three Seahawks starters and three more Mustangs had three fouls. In that minefield, Meade labored to fire off a single set of points until four minutes had already ticked by. South River, though trudging through a thicket themselves, found a freer path to the basket.

The Seahawks understood how to navigate a missing starter or two all winter, after all. Because of that, players like Devin Harper and Miles Evans were primed to respond to key situations.

“Everybody that doesn’t play as much as they should, they still help our team so much,” Timmons said, “and they don’t even know how thankful we are.”

The Mustangs trailed by five when Scott found his shot, but his basket seemed to trigger the back-and-forth scoring again. South River preserved a 49-43 margin after three.

But the Mustangs were not yet spent. Shawn Jones (20 points) and Eric Brown brought them back to the line, Jaisean Kenner forced turnovers and Xavion Roberson (16 points) scored in transition.

“Meade has so many weapons and they throw so much at you it’s like a nonstop trying to figure out personnel,” Hall said.

Matters soured for South River immeasurably when Berger fouled out. Within moments, Jones flicked in the free throw to make it a one possession game at 54-52.

Timmons felt the walls closing in and pushed them back. The senior scored five straight points before Crimaudo ran in another jumper. Herndon and Burrows locked Meade’s shooters down. When time expired, emotion shot through Timmons. No one person had won this. Everyone matched what they’d stressed in practice: boxing out, rebounding, pushing, sprinting.

A team win, he said, in the realest sense.

“With everybody back, now we can really focus on that next play. Everybody is all locked in, everybody is together, everybody knows their assignment,” Timmons said. “We click.”

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By Katherine Fominykh Capital Gazette •
Feb 08, 2023 at 9:45 pm

To remain the only undefeated team in county play, Broadneck needed to check every box off its list.

Shut down Meade’s transition game, smother the post, grab rebounds. Corral top shooters Xavion Roberson and Shawn Jones, while also managing to pressure the perimeter and limit 3-pointers, all while turning up on offense when possible.

A lesser team might not have been able to accomplish a list so expansive. But Broadneck proved to be at a higher level.

The Bruins impeded the Mustangs at every turn on the way to a 58-42 final, handing Meade its first loss in 14 games, its first in-season county loss since Feb. 20, 2020. In the process, the Bruins toppled the Mustangs from the top of the standings. It’s a position Broadneck does not sit on comfortably, knowing full well the teams will likely meet again next Saturday in the county championships — but its a spot it currently treasures.

“We were 4-4 [in 2019] when we went to states. We were 4-4 this year,” Broadneck coach John Williams said. “As long as you can collectively keep the group together and focus and not have guys jump off the ship, usually by January you learn from your mistakes.”

December was not kind to the Bruins. Broadneck (16-4, 11-0 county) dropped games to both in- and out-of-county opponents, usually starting with a dramatic dropoff in the third quarter. But in January, when the county games count towards standings, the Bruins finally began to mesh. They began to trust each other. They set goals for each other: limit dribble-drive in the penetration, stop teams beating them from the outside and take care of offensive rebounds.

“A lot can be said for having gone through what we did,” Williams said.

Broadneck’s Jordan Brown drives for a layup in the first quarter of Wednesday’s win over Meade.
Broadneck’s Jordan Brown drives for a layup in the first quarter of Wednesday’s win over Meade. (Paul W. Gillespie/Capital Gazette)
Junior Jordan Brown embodied that metamorphosis , showering 19 of his game-high 28 points in the second half. He was an inevitability Meade (18-2, 10-1) just could not quell.

“He definitely has that type of potential,” Williams said. “One of the more polished players we’ve ever had in our program. When he’s in attack-mode like he was tonight, he makes everyone around him better.”

Meade certainly tried to steer the game from the start. Kesean Graham hit a pair of buckets from the exact same spot on the perimeter to boost the Mustangs’ 10-2 run while Shawn Jones backed him up on the glass.

“You can’t get down early. You do that, you’re going to lose automatically,” Brown said. “So, we stayed up. We fought back.”

Meade’s scorching start disappeared as Broadneck’s defense rendered the Mustangs unable to land anything. All the Bruins shooters had to do was chip away as the minutes whittled down in the first quarter.

Broadneck’s Kyle Miles gets fouled by Meade’s Lucaya Baldridge as he goes up for a shot in the second quarter of Wednesday’s game.
Broadneck’s Kyle Miles gets fouled by Meade’s Lucaya Baldridge as he goes up for a shot in the second quarter of Wednesday’s game. (Paul W. Gillespie/Capital Gazette)
They chipped at first, a little jumper here, a layup there, aided by Jalen Carter, who finished with 16 points. But the undefended, go-ahead basket by Brown and subsequent 3-pointer from Amare Jeffries was less chisel and more sledgehammer, whacking Meade’s momentum to pieces.

Broadneck grabbed its lead tight. Seven minutes passed before Meade managed a basket again, finding itself down, 21-13 midway through the second before regrouping. Pressure of a short shot clock forced Scott to swing the ball to Zamar Jones and the junior didn’t hesitate. His 3-pointer reenergized Meade and John Teague’s tying basket silenced the Bruins — or snapped them back to attention.

Scott’s 3-pointer gave Meade a 27-26 halftime lead, but the Bruins were not going to let the Mustans get comfortable.

Brown downed a bottle of red Gatorade at the break and hit the floor with a fury. If he wasn’t popping points from downtown, he was leading the pressure on the Mustangs offense alongside senior Michael Schwob.

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Jan 21, 2023 at 6:00 pm

HYATTSVILLE — Meade boys basketball’s triumph over South River began not in the second half, but over the summer.

Shawn Jones proved his abilities last year as a dynamic big who can dominate the glass, but his one Achilles heel had always been the free-throw line. And he knew that.

Jones made mastering the free throw his priority this offseason, and it paid off Saturday afternoon, as he went 6-for-6 from the line in the second overtime. His stability at the stripe was the key for Meade to finally best the Seahawks after 40 minutes of grueling play, 84-80, at the Capitol Hoops Challenge at DeMatha Catholic.

“I knew in the forward future that I’d be at the free-throw line at the end of games,” said Jones, who had 22 points, “and I believed in my shot. I just had to put them up.”

The ending never seemed certain. South River foiled Meade’s quick start with a heavy box-and-one defense in the first half. The Mustangs responded with physical drives to the basket in the second. South River wiped out Meade’s six-point lead in the last 30 seconds of overtime, and Seahawks senior Blake Burrows narrowed the margin to one with a bucket — even after Cash Herndon and Trashaun Timmons fouled out.

Meade’s Shawn Jones gets charged with an offensive foul on South River’s Trashaun Timmons in the fourth quarter Saturday during the Capital Hoops Challenge at DeMatha Catholic.
Meade’s Shawn Jones gets charged with an offensive foul on South River’s Trashaun Timmons in the fourth quarter Saturday during the Capital Hoops Challenge at DeMatha Catholic. (Paul W. Gillespie/Capital Gazette)
Not until sophomore Lucaya Baldridge broke South River’s last-ditch drive and turned it around for three points did the victory become clear to coach Mike Glick. But the Mustangs weren’t the only winner Saturday.

DeMatha, the storied Washington power that it is, hosted a platform meant for the best teams around the DMV. And from the organizers’ perspective, that included South River and Meade.

Both teams made sure those projections weren’t unfounded.

“The winner of that game was Anne Arundel County,” Glick said. “Gives us a chance to play in a high-level high school tournament sponsored by the Wizards. You have a lot of people who don’t know anything about Anne Arundel basketball [seeing] a phenomenal basketball game.

“It shows people in the DMV and in Baltimore that we’ve got some really good basketball in Anne Arundel County.”

Unfortunately for South River (9-4), it couldn’t showcase its full strength. The Seahawks lost starter Jeremy Berger once again to injury and only just returned starter James Crimaudo. They’re also coming off a week they’d like to forget: a five-point loss to Glen Burnie on Tuesday and a blown lead in a defeat to Southern on Friday.

Those setbacks were fuel for South River. The Seahawks might’ve lost the night before, but they could get better today.

“We learned a lot about ourselves and I was proud of our guys for coming out today, just grounding their approach, competing as a team and depending on each other,” coach Darren Hall said. “We got back to that today.”

The defense just couldn’t quite get it done. When the Mustangs got into the paint, they relied on their athleticism to continue attacking the basket, maneuvering past the Seahawks to find open teammates.

That’s what enabled junior Zamar Jones to hit his go-ahead 3-pointer — a sharp pass through traffic — to put Meade up 11-9 at the end of the first quarter.

Meade’s Lucaya Baldridge gets props from teammates after he slams home the Mustangs’ last two points Saturday during the Capital Hoops Challenge at DeMatha Catholic.
Meade’s Lucaya Baldridge gets props from teammates after he slams home the Mustangs’ last two points Saturday during the Capital Hoops Challenge at DeMatha Catholic. (Paul W. Gillespie/Capital Gazette)
Athleticism wasn’t enough. Not with the threat the Mustangs faced.

They executed their defense exactly as planned. By deploying a triangle-two against seniors Herndon and Blake Burrows, Meade could subdue two of the Seahawks’ best shooters — but not all of them. Timmons (22 points) muscled into the second half with a quick jumper and a pair of threes for a 20-15 lead.

“You got to pick your poison,” Glick said, “because they’re a really tremendous shooting team.”

It was by no means a stable advantage, and Meade made that clear as it worked to jam up the interior. The zone defense pushed South River back to the outside, where the Seahawks harvested another six points. But South River’s ability to slice through Meade’s defense diminished as the half waned.

Unfortunately for Meade, little was done to capitalize on that opportunity, as it entered halftime trailing 32-25.

“Definitely, we gotta handle adversity better,” Jones said. “We started to shut down. So, we came together in timeouts, making a little circle in the middle of the court, just telling each other to keep our head up. Play our ball.”

Jones cycled on and off the floor in the first half. In the second, nothing could keep him from the action. If he wasn’t batting down Seahawks shots, he was bounding down the court to put all that height to use to score.

Then, Xavion Roberson (21 points) came to the table. By his hand, South River’s last gasp at a lead blinked out as the ball sailed from arc to strings.

The senior point guard whipped to the basket over and over again, securing Meade’s newfound lead as South River fought back. Jack Schrader’s three points from the free-throw line reeled the Mustangs back to a 43-43 tie at the end of the third quarter.

Meade’s Lucaya Baldridge blocks the shot of South River’s James Crimaudo in the first quarter Saturday during the Capital Hoops Challenge at DeMatha Catholic.
Meade’s Lucaya Baldridge blocks the shot of South River’s James Crimaudo in the first quarter Saturday during the Capital Hoops Challenge at DeMatha Catholic. (Paul W. Gillespie/Capital Gazette)
“We haven’t had too many situations were we’ve been down and somebody’s punched us in the face,” Glick said. “They came after us, and we weren’t fluid offensively. We couldn’t score. I was really proud of how our kids picked up the defense.”

The Mustangs’ man defense hampered South River’s freedom indefinitely, and the teams warred for supremacy all through the fourth, right up to Herndon’s 3-pointer that tied the game at 60 before the buzzer.

Timmons tried to win it in regulation, but lost the ball on his last drive to the basket. When it came to overtime, he wouldn’t make that mistake again.

In the final seconds, Timmons overpowered Meade’s guards and knotted the score at 69 as time expired.

“Trashaun was huge tonight,” Hall said. “Just his toughness, his energy. When he brings it at a high level, we are so much better.”

The fifth-foul bug claimed Herndon first, in the first overtime, which didn’t stop the captain from steering his Seahawks from the huddle. But then it took Roberson, and with it, the Mustangs’ best driver.

Shawn Jones couldn’t just rely on his shooting to save Meade. And there was a reason he made himself the first one to arrive and the last one to leave every practice: to practice his free throws.

For every one of his six chances in double overtime, Jones lifted a perfect arc into the net. But he wasn’t the only savior in the end.

The Seahawks overthrew a pass during their last attack, and Baldridge claimed it before throwing down his third dunk of the day. The and-one sealed South River’s fate.

“To watch his growth is excellent,” Glick said.

The game, which was scheduled for last month until both teams were invited to the showcase, didn’t count towards either teams’ county record. But Jones doesn’t view it as a meaningless exhibition.

“It put some respect on Meade,” Jones said. “We started it last year, in the state [semifinal]. We just want to keep building on it.”

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No. 15 Mustangs close strong after blowing fourth quarter lead to remain undefeated in Anne Arundel County boys basketball

Kyree Scott answered the call for Meade boys basketball Friday evening. The senior scored 18 points, including two 3-point plays in the final quarter as the 15th-ranked Mustangs remained undefeated in Anne Arundel County league play with a 67-60 home victory over Northeast. (Trevor Colgan)

Kyree Scott smiled as he walked to the free throw line late in the waning seconds of Friday’s Meade/Northeast boys basketball game.

The Meade guard converted a basket and was fouled. He completed the 3-point play with the free throw which was enough for the 15th-ranked and host Mustangs to outlast Northeast, 67-60, in Anne Arundel County.

“It’s a big win,” Scott said. “That’s what we needed. We’ve been playing up and down, this is the first good game we’ve had for all 32 minutes. That’s what we needed for the next level.”

The victory keeps the Mustangs (10-1 overall, 8-0 Anne Arundel), the defending Anne Arundel regular season champs, tied atop the standings with South River (7-0 Anne Arundel).

The big individual matchup was Meade’s Xavion Roberson against Northeast’s Cameron Albury. The dynamic guards didn’t disappoint, with Roberson scoring 18, and Albury finishing with 16.

But there were other showstoppers Friday evening. Shawn Jones led all scorers with 21 for the Mustangs with Scott pitching in 18. The Eagles got 20 points from Shamar Johnson and Jaydss Fifer added 14.

Meade’s senior experience proved valuable Friday, especially Scott’s.

Mustangs coach Mike Glick called him the “MVP” of Friday’s game.

“He’s been really really playing well,” Glick said. “He just gives us that third scoring option, that third punch. That really gives us another level.”

Meade led 15-13 after the opening quarter before extending its lead to 37-30 at halftime. Roberson scored eight points in the second quarter, while Jones scored six.

The Mustangs led 57-47 in the fourth quarter after a Jones layup, but Northeast went on a 10-0 run, featuring six points from Johnson, to pull even.

Meade responded as Roberson hit from three, and Scott converted a 3-point play for a 63-57 lead. Fifer’s 3-pointer brought the Eagles to 63-60 before another 3-point play by Jones helped put the Mustangs over the top.

“It’s just a really good high school game,” Glick said. “I was really proud of our kids. It’s a typical game where you can never get out in front, they kept coming back. I was really proud of how resilient our guys were.”

Northeast coach Roger O’Dea was proud of his team’s tenacity, battling back from 10 points down in the fourth quarter.

The Eagles (10-3, 5-2 Anne Arundel), however, weren’t able to close the deal.

“Just off on a couple things,” O’Dea said. “Just lost a little focus here and there.”

Which was what Meade had in the end.

“We got experience,” Scott said. “We don’t panic.”

NO. 15 MEADE 67, NORTHEAST 60

Meade – Xavion Roberson 18, Shawn Jones 21, Kyree Scott 18, John Teague 4, Lucaya Baldridge 6. Totals 26 11-18 67.

Northeast – Cameron Albury 16, Jadyss Fifer 14, Tim Saval 2, Shamar Johnson 20, Johnnie Hutton 2, Anthony Sheehan 2, Chase Buttry 4. Totals 25 7-8 60.

Meade 15 22 16 14 — 67

Northeast 13 17 17 13 — 60