All season long, Broadneck boys basketball coach John Williams has stressed the importance of defense to the Bruins’ championship hopes.

That defense made the difference late as Broadneck took a big step toward earning a spot in the Arundel County final by shutting down South River in the fourth quarter of a 50-45 win Friday in Edgewater.

“We’ve made defense our focus,” Williams said. “I’m pleased with our effort overall. I thought we did a great job of executing the game plan.”

With the game knotted at 42 at the 4-minute mark of the fourth quarter, Broadneck (13-4 overall, 9-1 Anne Arundel) buckled down on defense and ended the game with an 8-3 run to secure the victory. Amari Jefferies had 5 points during the decisive run, while Jordan Brown scored 2 and led the charge on defense.

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“We play as a team of defense,” Brown said. “We know we’re good. That was [a credit] to the way we work in practice.”

After a timeout, the Bruins jumped out to a 47-42 lead behind Jefferies and Brown. The Seahawks (11-6, 8-4 Anne Arundel) cut the lead to 47-45 on a 3-pointer from junior James Crimaudo with 2:45 left in the game. After a turnover from the Bruins, the Seahawks had a chance to tie.

Brown pressured the ball and South River had difficulty getting an open look before hoisting up a long 3-pointer late in the shot clock. After Brown missed two free throws, the Seahawks again had a chance to tie.

The Bruins defense did not relent and forced another long contested 3-pointer from South River. The Seahawks could not convert and Broadneck iced the game at the free throw line.

“We just made [defense] a greater focus heading into the fourth quarter,” Williams said. “I think the guys recognized how critically important it was that they get stops on the other end and knock down free throws. I thought we executed that to design.”

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Early in the contest, it didn’t look like the game would come down to the final minutes as Broadneck used its size to dominate the boards in the first quarter and push out to a 18-6 advantage.

Jefferies and Kyle Miles each had 6 points in the quarter as the Bruins kept earning trips to the line after picking up offensive rebounds.

South River coach Darren Hall said his team had trouble dealing with the physicality and size of the Bruins’ front line.

“[Broadneck] was very physical tonight,” Hall said. “We just did not match their physicality. They beat on the boards, they beat us in the paint and they bullied us on the perimeter. In big stretches down the stretch, we couldn’t finish defensively with rebounds. Credit to them, we didn’t match their physicality tonight.”

After getting down early, South River rallied in the middle part of the game. The Seahawks came out of halftime red-hot, starting the second half on a 14-0 run that gave them a 38-32 lead.

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Senior Blake Burrows knocked down a trio of 3-pointers during the run as the Seahawks looked to have rediscovered their shooting touch.

After a timeout midway through the third quarter, Williams told his team to focus on finding the open shooters. The Bruins responded with a 7-0 run to take a 39-38 lead at the end of the third quarter.

“We knew it wasn’t going to be easy and that we were going to have to be resilient,” Williams said. “We put it in our guys head some character traits that make a champion and one of those was being resilient.”

The Bruins, who sit second behind Meade in the Anne Arundel standings, have won all nine of their matches in the new year. The top two teams in the standings will play for the league championship, Feb. 18 at Arundel.

Jordan Brown was a major reason Broadneck maintained its positioning in the Anne Arundel County boys basketball title chase Friday evening. The senior finished with 11 points and was part of stout defensive effort as the Bruins held off South River in Edgewater. (Eric Bem)

After some struggles early in the season, Jefferies feels the team has grown together at the right time with the playoffs right around the corner.

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“Early in the season, we weren’t really jelling,” Jefferies said. “Now I feel like we are a great team and a great family. We just stayed calm, cool and collected. We stayed together.”


Broadneck - Amare Jefferies 11, Jordan Brown 11, Jalen Carter 9, Kyle Miles 9, Michael Schwob 4, Devon McGowan 4, Auron Johnson 2. Totals 17 16-20 50.

South River - James Crimaudo 15, Brian Burrows 14, Tra’Shaun Timmons 14, Jeremy Berger 2. Totals 11 2-4 45.

Broadeneck 18 14 7 11 -- 50

South River 6 18 14 7 – 45