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There was something about the “oooh” from the crowd when Meade junior Nasir Brockington gave his guard the slip, about the explosion of cheers from the bench as Brockington’s jumper sailed in before the buzzer, that felt a little different.
The Mustangs were moving with energy flowing through each step. That’s not something they were always used to.
But it was something that awarded them with another game to play in the 4A East region playoffs.
Consistency on shots from field goal range and the foul line gave No. 5 seed Meade the ingredients it needed to hand its rival Old Mill a thrashing in its own gymnasium in the 4A East Region quarterfinal, 82-49 — the Mustangs’ largest point total this season.
Meade moves on to face top-seeded North County on Tuesday in Glen Burnie.
“I’m just so proud of the way our kids have bought in," Meade coach Mike Glick said. "We’ve lost so many close games. We’ve lost seven games in which we were tied or down, with the ball, with the chance to take the lead or tie the game with a minute left. The kids never gave up.”
This week, junior TJ Speight (16 points) told his teammates that the regular season was long gone, and the playoffs marked a new year. That meant the Old Mill that hung Meade out to dry on transition points twice earlier in the season was gone, too.
“We talk about in practice how we got to get back on defense, we got to play hard. … It was 0-0 and now it’s 1-0. We came out flat the whole regular season, wasn’t doing what we had to do, so in practice, we told everybody we got to go hard, rebound," Speight said. "Everybody go 100 percent, do what we got to do so we can win.”
That kind of mentality was only possible because of the growth made internally by Meade this season after losing its senior leadership to graduation.
“Everybody had to pitch in and not be selfish," Brockington said. "This is a team game. Beginning of the season, everybody was selfish, worrying about them. Coach Glick had a talk with us, saying, it’s a team. We all need everybody to win.”
Senior Corey Williams (13 points) struck the flint to spark the beginning of the end for Old Mill.
The 6-foot guard shot three-straight baskets to break a tie with the Patriots in the first quarter, including a 3-pointer that both gave Meade the advantage and earned a “boom!” from his coach and teammates.
And yet, for a moment, Old Mill seemed to have rocked back onto its feet, with a triple by junior Alex Diggs (15 points) that tied things at nine.
That lasted about as long as cold weather in this Maryland winter.
Six-foot-5 Meade big Devin Barksdale carved out some room with a few putbacks before the buzzer, Brockington nailed a following triple to open the second and Speight continued to whittle away with good shots from the free throw line.
The Mustangs would go on to put up a nearly perfect 20-for-21 mark from the stripe — the best, Glick said, Meade has shot all season and a stark contrast to Old Mill’s 6-for-13 performance.
“It’s crucial cause there’s a lot of games we’ve been down by three, a lot of games we’ve been down by missed free throws and layups," Speight said. "If we can capitalized off the missed free throws, and the layups and the turnovers, we’ll be a better team than we were.”
Junior Delonte Johnson’s bucket to close out a 10-0 Meade run before halftime, which earned an even more emphatic “boom!” from Glick and subsequent layup helped the Mustangs cross the border into rout territory.
“We’re a very deep team. We’re a team that can play 10 guys on any given day, any one of the 10 guys can step up and play, and that was the best we’d shot the ball this season," Glick said. “Our struggles have been, all season, that we can’t score. Getting guys coming off the bench hitting shots, I thought, was the difference offensively.”
But the Patriots that hustled out of the locker room were not the same ones that headed in with 38-18 deficit on their shoulders.
Old Mill came back, and you could blame it all on Meade. The Mustangs had momentarily lost the energy that now radiated from the Patriots as they knocked down five field goals, scoring seven points unchallenged, from a team with a revitalized sense of competition.
Suddenly, the Mustangs were back to 14 points up with momentum on the opposite end of the court.
So they reversed it.
Johnson picked a steal off the Patriots and rocketed it from going out of bounds to Omar Beattie, who hooked it in. Before long, after Speight’s basket, Johnson’s triple and Beattie’s pair from the foul line, Meade was right back where it wanted to be, riding a 26-point advantage, 59-32.
The Mustangs decided to have a little fun with it now.
Brockington drove the ball inbound, with his assigned Patriot, Diggs, staring him down. Brockington shifted left to right to left, eyes on the basket, and then stepped to left. Diggs dropped to the floor, and Brockington released the jumper that would bring all of the Meade crowd’s love down upon him like rain.
“I just wanted to score, get something for the crowd," Brockington said. "I think it pumped a lot of energy. It got the bench going, fans off their feet.”
With a 61-35 lead entering the fourth quarter, not one Mustang slowed his pace toward victory. Beattie drained a 3-pointer; Speight hit both of his free throw opportunities along with both baskets. That was the last move by the main players before Meade brought in its subs, who were then able to tack on another six points. With it, the Mustangs are hauling the exact kind of momentum they believe can quash North County. In their last meeting eight days ago, Meade fell by just three points.
“Hey, they’re the number one seed. We have nothing to lose," Glick said. "We played them twice and both games were very, very close games. We know them well, they know us well. We got to have a good couple days of practice and get out there ready to play on Tuesday.”
If Meade High’s Mike Glick’s 26-year basketball coaching career were a river, it would be the Potomac, long and winding across the region.
Glick has more than 500 wins at Gwynn Park High during his 12 years at the school. Before then, he coached at Archbishop Spalding High (Anne Arundel County) and St. Vincent Pallotti (Prince George County.) He helped boost 45 players to Division I scholarships.
He also spent time as a college coach, assisting at Montgomery College-Germantown and Columbia Union College.
Now, a teacher at Meade, Glick recently led the Mustangs to the Class 4A Region finals.
Here are three things you might not know about him.
Before playing basketball at St. Mary’s College of Maryland and coaching, Glick helmed The Midnight Sun. The high school newspaper at Robert E. Peary High School [Montgomery County] was named in honor of the man widely credited with leading the first expedition to the North Pole.
Baseball, not basketball, set Glick on high school coaching path.
While Glick was coaching college basketball in the 1990s, the head basketball coach job opened at Pallotti.
Glick, then 26, believed he had no chance of getting the job, but he talked to a friend and fellow baseball umpire, Steve Walker. Walker, who become Pallotti’s school’s athletic director, promised to at least get Glick an interview.
“I went in … all nervous, trying to do the best I [could] and I got hired for one reason," Glick said. "My [former high school] principal was the principal at the school.”
Richard Dumais, who had been diagnosed with cancer, resigned from Pallotti two weeks after hiring Glick. He wrote to Glick, “The last thing I’ll ever do in my career is give you a chance. I always saw something in you.”
Rudy Gay was not Glick’s only NBA product. Rudy Gay is unarguably Spalding’s most famous athlete graduate. Before a 14-year NBA career, playing for four teams, Gay played for Glick.
Gay is not Glick’s only former player to make it big.
Jerome Williams, who was coached by Glick, was drafted in 1996 by the Detroit Pistons and accumulated 11 years in the NBA by “rebounding his ass off.”
Glick also coached Jarrett Jack at Pallotti before Jack joined the NBA.
Anne Arundel basketball coaches react to death of Kobe Bryant, daughter
By Katherine Fominykh
Capital Gazette |
Jan 27, 2020 | 10:40 AM
Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant celebrates with his daughter following the Lakers’ 99-86 defeat of the Orlando Magic in Game 5 of the NBA Finals at Amway Arena in Orlando on Sunday, June 14, 2009. Bryant and his daughter Gianna died Sunday in a helicopter crash in California. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/TNS)
For Archbishop Spalding boys basketball coach Josh Pratt, watching his 9-year-old son Joey playing in a youth basketball game should have been a happy moment, one that he’d always enjoyed.
Then, Pratt’s nephew sent him a text letting him know that former Lakers star Kobe Bryant had died. Bryant and his daughter Gianna were two of nine people killed in a helicopter crash outside of Los Angeles on Sunday morning.
The longtime NBA veteran, who had spent 20 years in Los Angeles, amassed over 33,000 points in his career and garnered five NBA titles, two NBA Finals MVP awards and two Olympic gold medals.
Basketball had been a through-line in Pratt’s life and his long coaching career. Pratt began coaching in 1993, three years before the Lakers drafted Bryant. Bryant, 41, was only a few years younger than Pratt.
“As I’m walking out of the gym, we’re all looking at each other, everyone’s whispering,” Pratt said. “Nine year olds, you know, they don’t really know what’s going on. The parents, they’re looking at each other like, ‘is this even real?’”
Kobe Bryant’s death leaves NBA players, others in shock: ‘There will never be a greater warrior in our sport’
In the grocery store after the game, Pratt was enveloped by mourners looking at their phones, taking in the news. Life goes on but the Crofton resident hugs his children a little bit tighter.
“This happens, it puts things in perspective,” Pratt said. “You could tell he was a wonderful dad to his daughters, which makes it all more tragic. I’m still trying to process it all really.”
Meade basketball coach Mike Glick, whose long career accomplishments link to the NBA, includes mentoring multiple professional veterans like Rudy Gay at Archbishop Spalding, was watching the Maryland men’s basketball game when his son texted with the news. Horror washed over him.
“He’s one of the best players to ever live,” Glick said. “He’s an icon, and he’s positively affected millions of people around the world. It’s a horrible loss to humanity.”
The circumstances of the tragedy, and the loss of the John Altobelli, his wife Keri and daughter Alyssa — fellow parents with their child, heading to a travel basketball game — were all too familiar to him.
“I think of the amount of hours I’ve spent in cars taking my three sons to national baseball tournaments,” Glick said on Sunday. “I’ve done the same thing Kobe was doing this morning. It’s tragic.”
When the news struck Southern coach Will Maynard, he’d hoped it was a hoax — born out of the hype surrounding LeBron James surpassing Bryant for third on the NBA all-time scoring list the night before.
When he’d realized the news had been confirmed, and then the subsequent news about his daughter Gianna, it put Maynard in a daze. He’d been watching the Maryland game, too, and preparing to rebound from Friday’s loss to Annapolis to keep Southern as the No. 1 seed in Class 2A.
But as the news sunk in, he couldn’t watch film anymore. For three to four hours he scrolled through Twitter, silently pleading that some news outlet would walk it back, say it wasn’t true after all.
He thought of Marvin Wallace.
“I lost a kid in the beginning of the (school) year a few years ago. First week of school,” Maynard said. “He was never able to put on a Southern uniform, but he played for us during the summer and he would have made the team.”
Wallace was 14 years old, just one year older than Gianna Bryant, when he died.
“I remember the effect that had on the kids, on the community. It wasn’t a national story, but seeing someone that young just when the best times of your life… to be taken away is tough,” Maynard said. “Never question God, but it was an unfortunate situation.”
Maynard recalled when he was young, when University of Maryland first team All American Len Bias died two days after getting drafted by the Boston Celtics in 1986. Pratt will always remember where he was when Bias died, just as he will never forget what he was doing when word arrived about Bryant.
“We tend to believe tomorrow’s always guaranteed, but in this situation, it shines light that you’re never guaranteed to see the next five minutes," Maynard said.
New Town point guard Martaz Robinson knows his responsibilities as the Titans’ senior leader.
He needs to set the example and get teammates involved. And, sometimes, he has to take over a game.
That was the case Thursday night as the No. 7 Titans were struggling to shake off young Meade at the 24th annual Baltimore City Public Schools Basketball Academy at Morgan State’s Hill Field House.
With the score tied at 24 at halftime, Robinson, a three-year starter, scored nine of his team-high 19 points in the second half to help the Titans pull out a 58-52 win over the Mustangs.
After a season-opening loss to Edmondson, New Town has won six straight to improve to 6-1. The junior-laden Mustangs, with a new starting five and making their first appearance at the Academy, showed themselves well in falling to 4-6. Junior guard Delonte Johnson finished with a game-high 20 points.
A two-minute stretch early in the third quarter belonged to Robinson. His two free throws, a follow basket, a 3-pointer and a steal started an 11-0 run that put the Titans up for good.
“As a senior, I’m starting to understand that I have to take over the game to help my team," Robinson said. “So in the second half, I came out strong to set a tone because we wanted to win the game.”
The Titans have another senior in All-Metro forward Andrew Mills, who did his share in closing out the win in the fourth quarter after battling foul trouble early. After Johnson hit consecutive 3-pointers to start the fourth quarter and teammate Omar Beattie made a putback midway through the quarter, the Titans’ lead was cut to 48-45 with 4:37 to play.
Mills answered with a follow of his own at the other end and made two free throws to put the Titans back up 52-45. He finished with 14 points.
For Meade coach Mike Glick and his Mustangs, who have 12 juniors on the roster, this season is one for growth. Hanging tough against a ranked opponent showed that they grew plenty Thursday. Beattie finished with 10 points and Devin Barksdale had a strong first half to finish with eight points before fouling out.
“This got us better — that’s the purpose of coming here,” Glick said. “I was very happy with our intensity, and when we hit shots, we’re a much better team. [New Town is] an excellent team and I was very proud of our effort. I thought our kids competed.
“This is a tremendous opportunity. It’s great for us to get out of Anne Arundel County, see some different competition and everything the Academy entails academically — tremendous experience, and we’ll definitely be back.”
New Town returns to the Academy on Saturday to take on Henry Wise at 7 p.m.
Robinson said that the team heard talk after losing its first game, but the Titans weren’t listening.
“Everybody was doubting us and telling us how we weren’t going to be good this year, but I told my teammates that’s not just a loss, but it was a lesson,” he said. "After that, we’ve been coming out strong and finishing strong.”
M – Speight 6, Beattie 10, Barksdale 8, Brockington 6, Johnson 20, Cobb 2. Totals: 20 7-15 52
NT – Mills 14, Robinson 19, K. Johnson 8, Black 3, Carter 5, Sparrow 6, Marcano 3 Totals: 21 12-23 58
In his first season as head coach of the Meade High School basketball team last year, Mike Glick took a very young Mustangs team to the Class 4A East Region title game. This year, Glick is going to push his squad to go further.
“Our goal is to win the county and state championships, and that’ll remain our goal every year that I’m at Meade,” Glick said. “I think we have a team that can challenge in both those [areas].”
Meade High graduated its two top players from last year’s squad, Tre Dunn and Mazhi Thames, but didn’t lose anyone else.
Junior guard TJ Speight, who cemented himself as a vital piece to the team during his sophomore campaign, figures to lead the team.
“He’s become a much stronger player from taking part in football and going through [Meade varsity football] Coach [Mike] Francis’ workouts,” Glick said. “His shot is tremendously improved and he’s one of the best athletes in the county — just a tremendous athlete.”
Joining Speight are a couple of transfers — junior guard Delonte Johnson and sophomore forward Solomon Hillman, who are coming from Eleanor Roosevelt and Mount Carmel high schools, respectively.
Junior center Devin Barksdale is also returning to the basketball program after taking a year off.
“[Devin] is a very versatile big man who can score inside and out,” Glick said. “He’s a tremendous rebounder and space-eater.”
Glick is adding a couple of new faces to his coaching staff, too. Tommie Duvall, a local youth coach with over 20 years of experience, is joining the staff as a junior varsity assistant.
Francis, current head coach of the varsity football team and former basketball coach of county rival Old Mill, will join the varsity bench.
The cohesion between the football and basketball programs at Meade isn’t something that every high school boasts. This year, Glick’s squad will feature four players who played under Francis on the football team.
“At any public high school, everybody shares the assets,” Glick said. “So for us, it’s vital having a two-sport athlete. And with Coach Francis, I’m blessed to have him on our coaching staff. He’s been a great addition for us.
“We have a phenomenal working relationship where the players know that there’s no problem with them playing football and basketball.”
The Mustangs have Fort Meade representation this year with juniors Josh Bishop and Jaden Cobb.
Commenting on Josh, who started every game of the 2018-19 season, Glick said he personifies the son of a military family.
“He is the toughest kid in the program,” Glick said. “He’s the strongest kid in the program; he goes harder than anyone in the program; and he’s the most unselfish kid in the program.
“Josh will start for us all season. He’s a physical specimen.”
Josh’s parents — former Spc. Michelle Bishop and retired Maj. Todd Bishop — both served in the Army. His father actually served at Fort Meade, most recently with the 742nd Military Intelligence Battalion.
Jaden’s father, retired Marine Master Sgt. Sheldon Cobb, served at Fort Meade with the Marine Cryptologic Support Battalion.
“I hope they go out there and have a good time and enjoy themselves,” Cobb said. “I know they want to win, but at the end of the day, they’re kids.
“My wife and I support them every game. Here or there, we don’t care — we’re there to support them.”
New Playoff Format
One of the biggest changes coming to Maryland high school basketball this year is a new playoff format.
Once the postseason tournament is down to eight teams — the quarterfinals — the participants will be reseeded. They are reseeded once more for the semifinals.
It isn’t unheard of for two or more of the best teams in the state to come from the same region. In the old format, those teams would necessarily play each other in their regional bracket. The new format leaves open the possibility that those schools would face off deeper in the playoffs.
Regardless of what the postseason might hold, Glick is not getting ahead of himself. With the new playoff format, there’s even more reason to take every last regular-season game seriously.
“[If we succeed] it means that we are able to put the ball in the basket and score consistently,” Glick said, pointing out that the team’s identity ultimately lies in their defensive schemes. “For us, that’s what it’ll come down to. … We have three or four bigs who can rebound the basketball. We’re extremely athletic.
“Our focus is going to be putting the ball in the hole. We struggle when we don’t score.”
Glick’s efforts to coach up his team and push them further into the postseason is not lost on the team or their families either.
“[Glick can] bring out the best in any one of his players,” Todd Bishop said. “We’re very excited about watching. We have a team full of juniors, so we’re really looking forward to their progression this year.
“And we’re super excited about how much more they’ll get done next year with another year under their belt.”