Defensive shift helps Meade capture a second straight Anne Arundel County boys basketball championship
Broadneck’s hot shooting early forces the Mustangs out of their initial triangle-and-2 and into their best man-to-man defensive effort of the season
Meade boys basketball coach Mike Glick and his veteran staff drew up an intricate defensive stratagem for Broadneck, his squad’s opponent during Saturday afternoon’s Anne Arundel County championship game at Arundel High School.
But after watching the Bruins guard Jalen Carter bury four long-distance 3-pointers in the first half, Glick and Company went back to the drawing board and the result was a second consecutive county title through a 60-51 victory against the regular season champion Bruins.
“No. 5 (Carter) shot us out (of the initial Triangle-and-2 defense),” Glick said. “No. 5 shot extremely well. If we’re going to go out, we’ve got to go out guns ablaze. We’re an athletic team. We have the ability to play man. I thought that flipped the game.”
It most certainly did in the second half as the Mustangs (20-3), switching to a man-to-man defense, limited the guard-oriented Bruins to a mere 15 points going into the final minute of the contest to open up a 60-43 advantage with 46.3 seconds left in the contest. Broadneck (16-7) dropped in eight straight points, including two more 3-pointers from Carter (20 points), in those final 46 seconds as Glick emptied his bench.
“I thought it was the best man-to-man defense we played this year,” the Meade coach said. “We challenged the kids. We’re a zone team. We’ve been a zone team all year long. I thought we were engaged. We communicated. We were able to switch screens. Very, very impressed with our man-to-man defense.”
Leading by three points, 31-28, at halftime after a slow start to the contest–the Mustangs fell behind 6-0 on two Carter 3-pointers–Meade held Broadneck to eight points in the third quarter by limiting the Bruins to one shot per possession and those looks were usually under duress to push that advantage to 10 at 46-36 going into the final eight minutes of this championship matchup.
Broadneck closed the gap to 48-43 with 4:39 remaining on two free throws by Jordan Brown (15 points), but the Mustangs put the game away with a 12-0 run capped by four straight 1-and-1 free throws from Shawn Jones, who led all scorers with 26 points to go along with 13 rebounds and a block that led directly to a fast-break basket by Kyree Scott (14 points) to extend his team’s lead to 56-45 with around a minute left.
“We just locked in and crashed the boards together and got out on our outlets,” said Jones, who converted a loose ball into a layup in the closing seconds of the third quarter and had six fourth-quarter rebounds, including an offensive rebound off a missed teammate’s free throw that he converted into two points. “We knew we could open the offense and stretch the lead. We knew in the third quarter, that was going to be the turning point.
“We have a lot of experience this year, so we knew we were going to win two times in a row. It feels good right now, but in the playoffs, we’re back to it.”
Broadneck coach John Williams agreed with Jones’s assessment of Meade’s ability to control the offensive and defensive rebounding as a major reason his squad came up short Saturday despite taking a 13-9 lead in the first eight minutes.
“They beat us on the glass,” Williams said. “They got a lot of offensive rebounds and putbacks we weren’t able to overcome. It was tough to get big buckets in the second half. This is just going to get us better for the playoffs. I think we found that we’re a little bit deeper than we thought. Give them a lot of credit: they raised their level of play in the second half.”