The atmosphere surrounding Craig White Court was electric as Meade took on Old Mill for the fourth time this season. The Mustangs had a 1-2 record coming into Thursday night against the Patriots with Old Mill winning the last time they faced off. Meade went on to beat Old Mill 50-46 advancing to their third straight 4A East Region Championship.
The Mustangs pride themselves on starting the game off fast by getting as many early points as possible. The team went on a 7-0 run to start the game, holding Old Mill scoreless until there was under four minutes left in the first.
However, after Meade held a 9-5 lead through the first quarter, both teams turned it on in the second. The Mustangs and Patriots went back-and-forth throughout the second quarter as Old Mill was able to get ahead thanks to an offensive put back by William Spriggs late in the quarter, sending the Patriots into the locker room up 19-17.
At the start of the third quarter Meade’s senior point guard Syvan Sturdivant took over. He started the second half by driving through the defense and finishing with a layup. He countered that lay up by adding a trio of 3-pointers, with two of them coming within the three minute mark of the third quarter.
Old Mill was still clinging on to a 37-35 lead as the fourth quarter approached in large part to Savione Barnes, who added 11 points and three 3-pointers of his own in the quarter.
A one possession game as the game entered the fourth quarter, it was anybody’s game for the taking. Meade started off the quarter with possession and turned to Malcolm Moses as he drained a 3-pointer to regain the lead.
Another back-and-forth quarter would ensue as there would be a total of eight lead changes and ties in the fourth alone. With 1:09 remaining in the game Meade’s Jeremy Washington went to the free throw line and made 1-of-2 to give the Mustangs a 46-44 lead.
On the ensuing possession Old Mill sent sophomore Avion Robinson to the line. He knocked down both of his foul shots, re-tying the game at 46 with less than a minute remaining.
Sturdivant took the inbound pass from half court and set the play up looking to give the Mustangs lead. After keeping the ball from beyond the arc he cut toward the top of the key where he passed the ball to his right to find junior Esmond Williams wide open.
Williams received the pass, drove to the lane with Spriggs and Robinson waiting for him, went to his left to avoid Briggs and finished the layup. Old Mill sprinted down the court looking for a last second miracle to save its season.
After a missed 3-pointer from Barnes and layup chance from Robinson, a jump ball was called with the possession arrow in Old Mill’s favor. The Patriots called a timeout with 7.9 seconds remaining to draw up one last play. The following inbound to Robinson was then stolen by Moses who was fouled with 3.1 seconds to play. Moses went onto hit his two foul shots finishing off the game.
This was Meade’s first road playoff game in five years but Meade coach Pete Corriero did not let the environment effect him or his team.
“We stuck with the game plan,” Corriero said. “We are an up-and-down team but the last two games we have really packed it in on defense and played good half court defense. We simplified the game plan [and] played one defense the whole game, the guys listened and they’re buying into what we’re doing.”
Moses described what happened on the last play.
“In the huddle, Jeremy [Washington] said to me, ‘let’s double Avion [Robinson],’” Moses said. “That is what we did and he coughed up the ball.”
Old Mill coach Mike Francis said after the game that the late stages of the fourth quarter were deciding factors in his team’s loss.
“This was the fourth time we played them and there were no new surprises either way,” Francis said. “We had a bad stretch right there at the end where we missed a couple of layups and a couple of free throws, and in a game like this, that’s two possessions. We missed three close shots. Those three possessions helped decide the game.”
Francis now wants this game to be used as motivation.
“I told our underclassmen, the feeling you have now, the next time you miss a workout, think about this feeling.” Francis said. “The next time you get out of a summer league game, think about this feeling. Next season starts tomorrow.”
Meade will take on Annapolis Saturday, March 4 in a rematch of last years 4A East region championship with tip off at 12 p.m.