No. 5 New Town shakes off Mustangs late; Lake Clifton falls (VIDEO HERE!)
by Derek Toney
Though its close to mid-January, New Town High boys basketball team is still in the adjustment phase. The Titans took a step in their process Thursday evening at the 24th Basketball Academy.
Fifth-ranked New Town defeated Meade, 58-52, inside Morgan State University’s Hill Field House. No. 7 Lake Clifton fell to Prince George’s County’s Rock Creek Christian Academy, 72-67.
Delonnie Hunt finished with a game-high 26 points for Rock Creek (13-3 overall), ranked 12th in the District region by the Washington Post, and Zaakir Williamson added 18. Senior guard Michael Gray led Lake Clifton (6-4) with 18 points, and Jalen Morris added 16.
Trailing 37-26 at halftime, Lake Clifton went on a 16-8 spurt, capped with Zac Blackwell’s three-pointer, to pull to within 45-42 with 3:52 left in the third period. Hunt immediately answered for Rock Creek, scoring 11 in a 13-0 retort, putting the Upper Marlboro school back in command.
“We made changes at halftime to slow up their scoring, and we started making some shots ourselves,” said Lake Clifton coach Herman Harried. “But like any good team, they [Rock Creek] made plays after we made plays. We just dug too deep of a hole.”
New Town got all it could handle from Meade in the first boys game in this year’s Basketball Academy. The Titans were finally able to put away the Anne Arundel County squad in the latter stages to move to 6-1.
Delaware State University-bound guard Martaz Robinson posted 19 points for the Titans, and Andrew Mills finished with 14. Junior guard Delonte Johnson had a game-high 20 points for Meade (5-6).
Tied at halftime, New Town found its rhythm, building a 10-point advantage entering the fourth. The Mustangs rallied to 48-45 on Omar Beattie’s short jumper with four minutes, 37 seconds left in regulation.
Mills got his own miss inside and scored, starting a 6-0 spurt as Twan Carter’s steal and layup made it 54-45 with 2:31 to play. Kyree Johnson scored all of his six points in the third quarter run, putting the Owings Mills school ahead for good.
Though far from pretty, New Town coach Derek Wise said the win was important.
“These type of games build character,” said Wise. “We made a lot of mistakes, but made adjustments that will help us in the long run.”
“We didn’t take them [Meade] lightly, but they were ready to fight…they punched us in the mouth,” said Robinson. “In the second half, we had to come together and fight.”
Robinson’s follow sparked a 11-0 run, including a three-pointer and drive by Robinson and two scores from Johnson, for a 39-30 lead in the third. The defending Baltimore County champs led 43-33 after three.
Meade, in its first appearance at the Basketball Academy, kept battling behind the shooting of Johnson. Johnson hit four three-pointers Thursday including consecutive daggers to pull the Mustangs to 43-39 with 6:34 left in regulation.
Meade was still in contention with 31 seconds left after three free throws from Johnson made it 58-52. But the Mustangs failed to convert a couple of one-and-one opportunities and turned the ball over after the Titans missed the front end of an one-and-one.
Meade coach Mike Glick said playing at the Basketball Academy will serve his squad for Anne Arundel league play.
“I was very happy with our intensity and we hit shots…when we hit shots we’re a much better team,” said Glick. “I thought our kids competed.”
While most teams have played double-digit games, New Town has played only seven to this point. The pace will pick up for the Titans, who next play Prince George’s County 4A power Henry A. Wise Saturday evening at Hill Field House.
“We’re still working the kinks out. We’re going to be playing a lot of games in January and this is where we’ll see what we’re made of,” said Wise, whose team plays Milford Mill and undefeated Loch Raven next week in Baltimore County play before a trip to Pittsburgh for the Stand Against Violence Tournament next Saturday. “These tough games where things aren’t going our way and there’s adversity, we need that.”
AT MORGAN STATE UNIVERSITY
No. 5 New Town 58, Meade 52
Meade – Speight 6, Beattie 10, Barksdale 8, Brockington 6, Johnson 20, Cobb 2. Totals 20 7-15 52.
New Town – Hills 14, Robinson 19, K. Johnson 8, Black 3, Carter 5, Sparrow 6, Marcano 3 Totals 21 12-23 58.
Meade 13 11 9 19 – 52
New Town 16 8 19 15 – 58
Rock Creek Christian Academy , No. 7 Lake Clifton 67
Rock Creek – Malik Carson 10, Rivera 2, Freeman 1, Hunt 26, Masio Carson 5, Matthews 5, Williamson 18, Gross 5. Totals 26 14-27 72.
Lake Clifton – Blackwell 15, Gray 18, Hodges 9, Morris 17, Spruill 8. Totals 28 5-10 67.
Rock Creek 21 16 22 13 – 72
Lake Clifton 7 18 19 23 -67