Meade boys basketball earns gritty win over rival Old Mill, 74-70, to remain unbeaten

Posted by Michael Glick on Jan 14 2023 at 10:03AM PST

Meade boys basketball earns gritty win over rival Old Mill, 74-70, to remain unbeaten
By Katherine Fominykh
Capital Gazette Dec 21, 2022 at 10:06 pm

The true end of Old Mill and Meade’s electric, unrelenting caffeine rush of a pre-Christmas clash didn’t match the tone of the game one bit. It was 6-foot-6 Shawn Jones standing at the foul line with a tenth of a second on the clock, lifting a pair of free throws to close Meade’s 74-70 win Wednesday.

In a game filled with high-intensity fast breaks, turnovers and lead changes, Jones, who netted 11 free throws , was the catalyst in the third quarter the Mustangs (5-0) needed to freeze their archrivals’ run and ultimately head into the holiday weekend undefeated.

And he wasn’t the only one. The Mustangs shot 14-for-22 from the foul line, with contributions from Zamar Jones, Xavion Roberson and Lucaya Baldridge.

“This definitely gives us experience so when we get into the long run, we know who to give the ball to on the free throw line,” said Jones, who netted 21 points. “Then, we’re all confident and we believe in each other.”

This last week has not been kind to Meade. Facing two bitter rivals in Old Mill (1-4) and Arundel, and a top MIAA B Conference team Indian Creek, has laid the Mustangs’ faces to the flames every other night without much of a break to absorb it all.

But it’s been essential for a team whose secret is out. Everyone’s gunning for the Class 4A state semifinalists.

“It’s good for us to be in a close game like this,” Meade coach Mike Glick said, “No matter how good we’re supposed to be, or how much talent and returning players we’re supposed to have, Arundel and Old Mill are the rivals. For us to go to Old Mill, to go to Arundel and find a way to survive and advance, that’s huge for us.”

It was difficult for either team to establish momentum with the game pausing for technical difficulties and timeouts. But even in between, there wasn’t much for either team to chew on as the teams traded the lead back and forth.

One player was clearly tired of that stress. Zamar Jones proved why he’s one of the county’s most effective shooters, even with only five varsity games to his name. Hitting two 3-pointers and another jumper was only his warmup.

The junior rolled up to the tip of the arc again, popping a graceful 3 with ease for a 22-15 lead with the first quarter not yet over.

“I love it,” Roberson said. “He makes shots, he plays good defense. And he’s just gonna get better. He’s a great addition to the team.”

But Old Mill can shoot from the perimeter, too. Jahson Moreau hit one with about 20 seconds left, then sophomore Brian Poore’s bucket sunk the moment the buzzer blared, carving Meade’s lead to just one, 22-21, at the end of the first.

Now, anyone and everyone looked for their chance. Poore (12 points) hit another; Meade’s Kesean Graham struck one for himself.

In the second quarter, the Mustangs started converting from the foul line. Old Mill soon found itself in a seven-point hole.

But when Meade fell silent, Old Mill jumped at the opportunity. Every Patriot on the floor sunk shots, leading to junior guard Ryan Stacy (21 points) giving the Patriots a 36-34 lead at the halftime buzzer. And he wasn’t done.
Stacy came out of the break with another quick six points, pushing the advantage to 42-34.

“They were up by six and we were able to make a run back,” Glick said. “Getting stops and getting out in transition was key.”

The Mustangs turned a pair of steals into layups and netted another four points from the foul stripe. With both offenses revitalized, the two lashed baskets at one another, tipping control back and forth as they had in the first. Even with Meade pulling significantly more free throw chances, it mattered little when the Patriots answered with layups.

Meade held a slim 55-53 lead after three, but soon found itself tied at 62 halfway through the fourth.

The Mustangs understood the key to their success: Slow it down, begin with the point and let it flow into a set-play. They know their plays, Shawn Jones said, and when they executed, their lead grew.

“We started to get some stops that we needed,” Roberson, who finished with 18 points, added. “That was big. I feel like we’re going to keep getting better on the defensive end. We’re going to keep improving before we pull a championship.”

Glick is grateful that the Mustangs can exhale now over Christmas. They’re looking forward to pulling up film, examining the Xs and Os, and improving the gameplay off the court.

“Right now, we don’t have attention to detail as a team. We’re turning over the ball too much over trying to force plays that aren’t there, instead of being patient on offense,” Glick said. “But the kids are resilient. They found a way to win.”


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