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Meade senior Bryson Spruell faced a 10-point, fourth-quarter deficit as calm as one could possibly be. He prodded one corner of the court, settled his feet and shot: 3-pointer.

He tried the other corner: 3-pointer. Then 10-point spread was whittled to two.

If he could just make one more.

From the center of the arc, Spruell sunk one more, putting Meade ahead.

When Arundel recaptured the lead from the foul line, Spruell did not panic. Instead, he did it again.

Those four 3-pointers fueled the Mustangs’ epic comeback against Arundel in an eventual 62-61 victory in what could’ve been a preview of what’s to come in the regional playoffs.

“It is just beautiful,” Mustangs coach Mike Glick said. “It was a total team effort. The kids are a resilient bunch. A lot of teams would’ve folded in this environment.”

The win also finally served revenge against what the Wildcats did nearly two years ago.

Spruell grinned as he thought of it. What was once a painful memory — Arundel defeating Meade in the region championships in 2020 — is now resolved. This Mustangs team is mostly juniors on down, but for Spruell and the seniors who were then junior varsity, it was long-awaited revenge.

“I was tired of losing. I had to step it up,” said Spruell, who led the way with 13 points. Junior Xavion Roberson had 10.

Meade nearly tumbled in the third quarter just as it did two years ago. Arundel pushed ahead by 10 and the Mustangs could not seem to claw back. But this was not the same team. It was methodical in deploying three timeouts. Each time, Glick and his staff reminded the players, stay in the game.

Meade certainly benefits from its three seniors but that’s not solely what got the team to buy-in come the fourth quarter. It’s simple, really. They’re a team in the truest sense.

“It’s not me, it’s not the coaches. It’s a group that likes each other,” Glick said. “It’s not a group that’s selfish. They share the basketball. That was evident the first week of the season.”

Size did not aid Meade. Arundel’s system was perfect: 6-foot-9 Azim Sana easily floated assists to the likes of Karris Scott (13 points), deposited his own or plucked rebounds.

That’s how Arundel cruised to an early 8-0 advantage and drove Meade, uncharacteristically panicked, into a timeout in under two minutes.

Perhaps that did the trick. The Mustangs remerged a renewed beast, their passing and shot selections more confident, more on-brand. But pretty quick, they realized how tough Arundel really was.

Senior Messiah Anderson sparked another Wildcats run with back-to-back baskets. But Meade rallied to get within 16-14 after a quarter.

Meade adjusted to the size discrepancy boxing out. Both Spruell and Glick attested that success predominantly to bigs John Teague and Shawn Jones.

The margin didn’t change after the second quarter, Arundel led 31-29 at halftime.

Glick challenged his players then to stay in the game.

“It motivated me a lot,” Spruell said. “Really, we all just came out with energy. That’s what we needed.”

The game began to follow a little bit of a pattern in the third quarter. As soon as Meade caught up, the Wildcats would collect a little steam, push ahead and send Meade into a timeout.

While Arundel remained consistent, Meade scored, some, but did not string together streaks. The Mustangs fell behind by double-digits for the first time and were down 48-39 after three.

High school varsity sports roundup from Jan. 25. »
Spruell is more than comfortable with 3-point shooting, which carried Meade in the fourth. In-game, his coach said he sometimes needs the second touch to get it.

“I’m really proud of Bryson. He stepped up in the biggest game of the season,” Glick said. “… We challenged him at halftime. I was proud of his rebounding and defense.”

Key plays from Spruell and Jones among others in the fourth told Meade one thing.

“Tells me we’re the best in the county,” Spruell said.


Nothing fazes the members of the Meade boys basketball team.

Whether leading Southern by 16 to battling to maintain that lead, the Mustangs remained mild as May. They showcase trust in one another in passes through traffic, in boxing out on offensive rebounds, in maintaining leads.

And why not? It’s gotten them this far.

High school varsity sports roundup (Jan. 18) »
Led by versatile junior Xavion Roberson, the Mustangs cruised to their seventh win in a row, a 74-47 victory over the Bulldogs to Improve to 8-0 in county play.

“It’s one of the most together teams I’ve coached in 34 years,” Meade coach Mike Glick said after his team improved to 8-1 overall. “They play for each other. There’s no selfishness whatsoever. The kids are totally bought in.”

When Glick and his staff lay critiques on their players mid-game, the Mustangs visibly absorb it. There’s never a complaint, the coach said. Even when Meade limited its rotation Tuesday, the bench supported without protest.
It’s a team, Glick said, that is truly pleasurable to coach. That translates directly to the floor.

“We just play off each other,” said Roberson, who had 18 points. “We don’t care who scores. We just want to win the game.”

Meade is no more fortunate than anyone in Anne Arundel in that it lost practically every player from last season. This year’s group meshed quickly. Junior John Teague remembers that bond they felt with one another from the very first day of practice.

“We’re a good team. We work together, play together, practice hard with each other,” said Teague, who had 16 points. “We’re trying to get to the top. We’re trying to get a championship.”

If it wasn’t for Southern’s cold shooting early, the Mustangs would’ve found themselves stuck in a hole. Once Meade relaxed, Roberson, Shawn Jones and Kyree Scott began to push in the paint and flick in easy layups. Their box-and-one defense quickly frustrated the Bulldogs, who quickly lost their early pace.

Suddenly smothered under an 18-4 score, Southern made an effort to pressure its guests under the net. Try as they might, though, the Bulldogs could not successfully box out.

“Going into the end of the first quarter, we had ‘em,” Roberson said.

Where there was wealth with Meade’s top scorer, Roberson, there was famine with Southern’s. Senior and Division I hopeful Larry Bulluck stamped 20-plus-point performances throughout the season. But for a time, Bulluck was locked down Tuesday.

Roberson approached Glick before the game and demanded to guard Southern’s best player.

“I love that. It’s showing leadership on his part,” Glick said. “And he did an outstanding job.”

Guard Aureon Johnson hit Southern’s first two 3-pointers of the game, kicking off an 11-0 Bulldogs run at the top of the second that cut the deficit to 10. Senior Chris Thomas followed suit hitting a 3-pointer.

Most of the quarter slipped away from Meade before Roberson settled in and drilled Meade’s first triple. And it appeared he’d sparked the life again when senior Andre Campbell complimented him with a basket.

Then, Bulluck finally had his say: a 3-pointer, a steal-to-layup and then another trey. He finished with 12 points.

Leading 33-25 at halftime, Meade’s lead showed cracks. Rather than fretting, Meade’s staff adjusted – shading towards Thomas, for instance.

Really, there’s one thing that keeps them stable.

“We just feel like we’re the best,” Roberson said.

The Mustangs patched the holes, stringing confident passes for baskets, powerful box-outs for baskets and stripping Bulldogs for baskets.

While Southern didn’t wither away entirely, Meade gardened its double-digit control through the third quarter and took a 50-33 lead.

But all the things Meade excelled in, it put on full display in the fourth. The Mustangs carved daring runs through Southern’s defense and when those shots didn’t land, players like Jones and Teague bodied Bulldogs down to hit the putback.

“Shawn and John compliment each other excellently. John’s the heart and soul of our team,” Glick said, “a great rebounder and unselfish kid. Sometimes he’s too unselfish and he compliments Shawn because Shawn’s more of a lengthy, inside blocker. It’s great to have two big men that are totally different.”

The players nodded understandingly at their assistant coach, Mike Francis, when he said, “The score of the game doesn’t matter. It’s how we finish.”

That mentality stretches beyond this game. As Teague said, there is one goal. They won’t get cocky in their abilities, no matter how confident in them they are.

“It’s really the heart,” Teague said. “What we put on the court.”

Added Roberson, “It’s the bigger picture. We know what to do to get there.”


T.J. Speight, Meade, junior, guard

Junior guard T.J. Speight scored in double figures in 22 of 24 games, erupting for a career-high 40 points to lead an upset of top-seeded North County in the Class 4A East Region I semifinals.

Speight ranked second in Anne Arundel County with a scoring average of 20.6 points, many of which came from the free throw line. The 5-foot-11, 155-pounder took the ball strong to the basket and wound up attempting 221 free throws and making 176 (80 percent). Speight also amassed 95 rebounds (4.0 average), 62 assists (2.6) and 47 steals (2.0).
He scored in double figures in 22 of 24 games, erupting for a career-high 40 points to lead an upset of top-seeded North County in the Class 4A East Region I semifinals. He also scored 38 points versus Old Mill and 30 against Glen Burnie.

“TJ Speight is the definition of a student-athlete and a winner. He’s a throwback kid by carrying a 3.3 grade point average while excelling at three sports (also football, track and field),” Meade coach Mike Glick said. “Our staff couldn’t be prouder of how he bought in and embraced being a leader and a great teammate. TJ is a great representative of our school community and is loved and respected throughout our building. One of the c players I’ve been blessed to coach in my 32 years.”

In a battle where every flinch was either a shot or a turnover, where each basket was amplified 100 decibels by a roar of a crowd packed to the walls in white or black clothes, who would emerge with a handful of tickets to the Class 4A state tournament? Who wanted it more?

That, you could see in the ferocity with which sophomore Karris Scott flung himself into the air — fighting for a rebound with nobody but air. That, you could see with the intensity with which junior Nigel Omotosho drove through a four-player pileup to the net and somehow made it.

That, you could see as Arundel players crashed into one another like a hurricane flood when the Class 4A East Region I title was truly in their hands.

The Wildcats rode a surge of energy in the fourth quarter to outpace their rival Meade, 63-52, in a clash that was, in itself, its own Route 175 Classic.“We love each other, and we did it for each other,” said Omotosho, who netted 14 points for Arundel. “I’m so happy to be on that banner. Everyone doubted us. And we’re really out here now.”

Arundel coach Rodney Ramsey always knew he had the talent, even in downward seasons in years’ past. It was something that coaches long before him had seeded in the ground, that other coaches and Ramsey himself worked to bloom.

On Thursday night, Ramsey’s Wildcats found the ingredient that, when combined with skill, would produce a victory in the region championship — resilience.

“This was something we started a long time ago and started to build, and we finally did it,” Ramsey said. “We feel good about it.”

Junior Tyson Brooks, who also had 14 points, suffered a sophomore season in which he and his fellow Wildcats could only finish with three county wins in hand.

Thursday’s achievement felt sweeter for it. “I’ve been waiting for this since freshman year. Last year, we had three county wins and now we’re regional champions,” Brooks said. “It’s a blessing from God.”

Deadlocked at 10 points apiece after one quarter, someone needed to pull a stick of dynamite from his pocket to break away from his opponent. For Meade, it was junior Nasir Brockington that had the lit fuse in his hand.
Brockington, who’d already had his share of all-star moments from the two previous playoff games, had run point on nearly every drive up to this time, a minute into the second quarter. When he found he couldn’t find an open teammate, the junior settled behind the arc and sunk a 3-pointer.

After that, Arundel, which struggled through the Mustangs’ choking defense to stir up anything good inside, turned to a different kind of star to swing momentum its way.

That came through every pair of long arms that hooked a would-be Meade shot and pounded it to the floor, carving room for Brooks to lay in a few baskets in the absence of Mustangs scoring.

“I thought their size was the difference in the game,” Meade coach Mike Glick said. “They’re a very, very long team and had some easy putbacks. That was the difference.”

That seemed to be the game plan that could quell a modestly-sized Meade team; that is, until junior TJ Speight, who dropped 40 on No. 1 seed North County two days ago, began to toss a little flair.

Speight’s triple snapped Meade’s scoreless streak and brought the gap. Two more points at the foul line gave them a lead.

Had Brooks not battled through traffic to deposit a last-second layup to put Arundel up 22-21 before the buzzer, Speight (18 points) could have gift-wrapped momentum by way of a Mustangs lead for the visiting team at halftime.

That’s exactly why the Wildcats had to draw up a blueprint to take Speight out of the equation entirely, and they found one. “It was effective,” Brooks said, “so we won.”

Arundel couldn’t quite plug every leak Speight worked through in the third quarter, as the junior guard would break through to notch seven points, inlcuding three from the perimeter, before the clock expired. But when the fourth quarter began, the Wildcats made sure Speight was nowhere to be found, relying on a 3-2 defense to slow Meade down.
“We also went man after the half to make sure everybody stopped getting good looks,” Omotosho said.
It wasn’t just the Arundel defense that needed to look inward at halftime.

Omotosho shot blanks in the first two quarters. In the second two, all he could do was land basket after basket.
“I have to do a self-talk, tell myself I’m not missing any more layups and help my team out,” he said. “That’s what I did.”
All of Omotosho’s 14 points came in the second half, as the 6-foot-3 junior tag-teamed with Brooks to strip the Mustangs of hope and pile it up on Arundel’s side.

The two combined for 18 points in the latter portion of the game, doing so as their fellow teammates kept chipping around them.

The Mustangs, on their third road game in a week, funneled the last of their energy into the third quarter, as they momentarily plucked a 43-42 lead from their hosts on Speight’s trey. To Glick, that was emblematic of the team that wouldn’t give up when they were just 5-11, that lost seven games in the final minute and still believed.

“We held it together, and we just got better and better as the season went on because everyone bought in. I just couldn’t be prouder of the kids,” Glick said. “They might have lost the last game, but to me, it was a championship effort.”
But come fourth quarter, Arundel still had energy to power all of Gambrills.

Meade junior Omar Beattie’s 3-pointer in the fourth would be the Mustangs’ last tying score and second-to-last field goal of the night. After senior guard Quaadir Spence’s full-court layup, there was nothing that could stop an Arundel player as he narrowed in on the net.

Of the last 14 Wildcats points not scored from the free throw line, only one shot misfired.
“Every player played their part,” Brooks said. “Each guy knew what they had to do and we came out with it at the end.”


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.”