We have to get it this year’: Meade boys basketball showcases its best to rout Arundel in region semifinals, 64-39

Posted by Michael Glick on Mar 09 2023 at 10:03AM PST

By Katherine Fominykh Capital Gazette
Feb 28, 2023 at 9:38 pm

Meade’s KeSean Graham hits a three-point shot in the third quarter. The Meade Mustangs defeated the

Meade coach Mike Glick noticed KeSean Graham months ago.

The 5-foot-9 guard was a ghost last winter behind seniors Andre Campbell and Bryson Spruell. But when Graham arrived for summer workouts and played with more energy than anyone, Glick told his assistant coaches, “Watch this one. He’s going to do something this year.”

Graham lived up to his coach’s words Tuesday night, in the top-seeded Mustangs’ rout of No. 5 Arundel, 64-39. The senior helped permanently swing the momentum in moments Meade needed a little flair, amassing 15 points on five 3-pointers.

Meade’s seniors know better than anyone that one playoff win doesn’t give you a trophy. The Mustangs fully remember falling one game shy of the state final last year. Meade hosts Reservoir in Thursday’s Class 4A East Region I championship game.

“Our team is all seniors. This could be our last game. So we have to play off,” Graham said. “Stay motivated.”

Meade wouldn’t have won so handily if it was just Graham doing the work. It’s never been the Mustangs’ style to put the onus on one person, or even two. Meade is at its best when every person on the floor is fulfilling their role.

And the Mustangs reached a personal best on Tuesday.

“We have a senior-laden team that has really come together in terms of being friends and brothers off the court,” Glick said. “And it’s very obvious there’s no selfishness on the team. The kids buy in to everything we’re bringing with them.”

It wasn’t just his offense either. Graham’s strengths weren’t limited to his offensive output. He shouldered one of the most essential — if not the most essential — tasks of the night in guarding Arundel junior Noah Frayer, one of the best shooters in the county who had 37 points against Meade in the regular season and 37 against Old Mill on Friday.

Meade forced early turnovers and yanked down defensive rebounds. The Mustangs deployed a diamond-and-one defense on Arundel’s Noah Frayer, who posted 37 points on Meade in the regular season and 37 against Old Mill in Friday’s quarterfinal. Sophomore Jaisean Kenner led the effort in shutting the prolific attacker, who failed to score until the fourth quarter.

“The fact he didn’t touch a ball, that we stayed in front of him,” Graham said, “as soon as he tried to drive on us, we cut him.”

But other than John Teague, Meade struggled to score.. But It wasn’t Teague’s baskets that changed that; it was his hands.

Most teams zero in on 6-foot-6 senior Shawn Jones because of his length and neglect Teague. Tuesday proved the same; Arundel zoned in on Jones and Xavion Roberson. Teague took advantage. He pulled down offensive and defensive rebounds and limited the Wildcats’ possessions.

“I thought John had maybe one of the best games he’s had in a Meade uniform,” Glick said. “John is one of the best rebounders in the county. He was absolutely relentless tonight.”

Arundel had a chance to get within a point in the final seconds of the first quarter, but Roberson came up with a steal and fed Graham for a 3-pointer to close the first quarter 16-10.

Between Graham, Teague and Kyree Scott, you wouldn’t have even noticed Meade’s two leading scorers, Roberson and Jones, hadn’t yet scored.

By the time Roberson did add his input — a layup and a 3-pointer sandwiching another Scott basket — the Mustangs were in full control, leading 36-18 at halftime.

“I couldn’t be happier how our kids embraced the game plan,” Glick said. “Seized the moment.”

That isn’t to say Roberson (17 points) didn’t collect a share of spotlight for himself. The senior stormed in the last three Meade baskets of the third quarter and accounted for eight of the Mustangs’ 21 points in the frame. What he didn’t score, he tended to assist.

“We go as he goes. His leadership is unbelievable,” Glick said. “His ability to talk to us about what he’s seeing on the court, and he’s terrific in transition. And our team’s premise is getting defensive stops and rebounds to get out in transition.”

Even after Glick swapped out his starters with four minutes left in the fourth, Arundel still turned over the ball. It still missed open shots. Sylvan Amegashie made a basket and then blocked the Wildcats on the other end, to the absolute delight of his teammates.

The Mustangs will celebrate this game before growing serious for No. 2 Reservoir. They don’t take the visitors from Howard County lightly; they’ll work the next two days on a game plan to ensure they’re ready.

But it’s not just film preparing them for victory.

“The hope of winning it all,” Graham said. “We have to get it this year.”


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