After just three points separated them during the regular season, it was fair to assume Tuesday’s MIAA A Conference basketball quarterfinal with Glenelg Country School and McDonogh School would be a close affair.
The Eagles had other ideas. No. 7 McDonogh built a 17-point first half lead and cruised to a 70-49 decisiion over 12th-ranked Dragons inside Lamborn Memorial Field House in Owings Mills.
Senior guard Jaedon Wills had 19 points for the Eagles (20-9 overall), and Damian Chong Qui and junior Noah Locke each finished with 17. Jalen Gabbidon led Glenelg Country School with a game-high 20 points.
McDonogh will play at No. 3 Mount St. Joseph Thursday in a semifinal. The Gaels defeated St. Vincent Pallotti, , at The Smith Center in Irvington.
Executing on offense from the start, the Eagles methodically stretch Glenelg Country with a 3-point barrage to build a 13-point halftime cushion. McDonogh defeated the Dragons, 48-45, back in December.
“That was an early season game and we were just trying to find ourselves at that point … Now it’s the playoffs, everything is amped up, everything means more,” said Willis, who dropped three 3-pointers in the opening half. “Today we just came out and we had something to prove today. You know we’ve been struggling at getting wins at home lately and today we wanted to prove we could do that and move on.”
Caidon Owen added 14 for Glenelg Country (19-10), which reached the MIAA A semifinals last winter. The Ellicott City school, which lost St. Joseph University-bound forward Anthony Longpre’ to an apparent wrist injury in the second half, was unable to muster anything close to a rally.
The Eagles sealed the game in the fourth quarter after a Malik Hudson slam dunk stretched the lead to 60-35. Though the dunk fired up the home crowd, McDonogh coach T.J. Jordan was annoyed his squad and gave up a 3-pointer, and called timeout.
“I’ve been telling our guys it’s playoff basketball, it’s a new season. We worked our tails off to get to this point,” Jordan said. “When you look back at the end of a game, people talk about there is no one possession, but there actually is … if they made a run it could have come back to haunt us and we try to value every defensive possession and get consecutive shots.”
Thursday, the Eagles will try to derail a Mount St. Joseph squad that hasn’t lost in 17 league decisions, including playoffs, this season. The Gaels (30-3) defeated McDonogh, 65-46, last month at Lamborn.
“We are going to enjoy it tonight, but tomorrow it’s all about getting ready for who we are going to play next,” Willis said.
MIAA A Conference basketball quarterfinal
No. 7 McDonogh School 70, No. 12 Glenelg Country School 49
Glenelg Country School 13 10 7 19 — 49
McDonogh 20 16 13 21 — 70
Glenelg Country – Jalen Gabbidon 20, Caidon Owen 14, Isaiah Burnett 9, Anthony Longpre 3, Revanth Nedurumall 3.
McDonogh – Jaedon Willis 19, Damian Chong-Qui 17, Noah Locke 17, Ke’von Brown 5, William Little 4, Malik Hudson 4, Tyler Johnson 2, Marquis Thornes 2.