Hall, Owens lead Severn to AACS Summer League title

bburden@capgaznews.com

Another AACS Summer League season came to a close with a familiar match up that will have a different feel to it come winter.

Severn, led by veterans LJ Owens, Jermaine Hall, AJ Burch and Mo Terry, matched up against a junior dominated Eagles squad in the finals for the second consecutive year.

Hall had 20 points and nine rebounds and Owens added 18 points and six rebounds as the Admirals concluded a successful first third of the summer with a 77-56 victory.

"We play together and get everyone involved, and it is always a team effort," Hall said. "We have great ball handlers, so we can be quick off the ball ourselves."

Severn easily defeated Long Reach in the semifinals, 66-43. Owens had 28 points and 10 rebounds and Hall had 14 points and 12 rebounds against the Lightning, led by new head coach and former Chesapeake and North County coach Andy Lazzor. AACS knocked off Arundel Christian in the other semifinal, 40-31.

"I brought my North County teams here and had a good experience, so I reached out to Doug to get our guys some games down here, and it has gone well," Lazzor said. "We were the last public team standing."

Eddie Scott led four Eagles in double figures in the final with 13 points. Jordan Johnson had 12, while Aaron Celsis and Cameron Williams had 11, as coach Doug Scheidt consistently used mass rotations.

"We need to get better with chemistry; that is the big thing," Johnson said. "We are constantly running the sets, looking for the extra pass and setting each other up in good situations. With the mass substitutions, we play even harder, knowing we can push ourselves harder."

AACS jumped out to a good lead early, then the teams traded leads until the waning minutes of the first half, when Severn began pulling away.

"We started letting up at the end of the first half, and we just need to learn how to be more consistent," Scott said.

Mo Terry added 14 points for Severn, with AJ Burch contributing 12 and Kendall Harmon 11. Severn only had seven players total, and only had eight for the league. That is par for the course for coach VJ Keith's squad.

"We don't have a lot of depth, but we have a group of kids that like to play together and play hard," Keith said. "There is a big difference between freshmen and sophomores, and between juniors and seniors, mentally and physically. Kendall is now getting down to playing defense, and Mo is really becoming a special player."

Owens is already a special player. The Capital Gazette Communications Player of the Year last winter already has a slew of Division I offers, but just keeps playing his game. His reverse dunk in the game's final minute put a cap on the win, small revenge for losing in last year's final to the Eagles.

"We want to keep building on that team chemistry and have fun," Owens said. "That is the main part."

Despite the loss, it was another successful league season for Scheidt, who is moving his squad up to the MIAA A Conference this year.

"I might be crazy, but we have had the best overall record in the B conference the last three years and Pallotti and BL (Boys' Latin) have already made the jump," Scheidt said. "Take Mount St. Joe out of the equation, and we have gone .500 against the A Conference the past few years. I think our kids appreciate that I have the faith that they can do this."

Scheidt has a young group, and needs to replace Brandon Joseph inside. Scott is one of those new varsity faces he is counting on.

"He is the kind of player who makes floaters, consistently gets his hands on the ball defensively, and he is a tough-nosed kid who plays winning basketball," Scheidt said.

For Keith, it is now just a waiting game as his group goes off to play AAU ball. He is excited to have one last run with this particular group.

"They are great guys and I love coaching them. This has been a special group, and has been for the past few years."

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