Senior Garrett Mills talks about the Gladiators’ 79-55 win at the Severna Park Winter Jam on Dec. 29. (Kyle Stackpole / BSMG staff)
HOWARD COUNTY, MD — Glenelg boys basketball bounced back from Thursday’s 56-45 loss to Suitland by nearly matching that point total in the first half on Friday night.
The Gladiators opened their 79-55 win over Blake with 20 points in the first quarter and added 24 the next period, building a comfortable lead by coverting in transition and making 12 of their 13 foul shots before the break.
Holding a 17-point halftime lead, they continued to force the Bengals into difficult shots and found enough scoring to secure a blowout victory and close the Severna Park Winter Jam on a promising note.
Senior Ryan Davis, who went for a team-high 18 points against Suitland, matched his scoring total on Thursday en route to earning All-Tournament honors. Meanwhile, junior Johnny Piwowarski (12 points) finished in double digits for the second straight contest.
“Any time you get a win you want to celebrate that. They’re hard to come by,” assistant coach Alex Blazek said. “But we get caught up playing for the scoreboard and not playing for our philosophies and our principles, so we need to stick to that.”
For example, Glenelg (3-4) rarely had to execute their half-court offense. The Gladiators did so with extreme efficiency in the first four minutes — they opened up a 16-8 lead during that stretch — but relied mostly on fast-break points and foul line conversions to enter intermission with a 44-27 advantage.
Against Blake’s pressure defense, Glenelg committed 16 first-half turnovers.
”At half, coach [Jansen McMillan] gave us a big boost up because we hit all of our free throws, but that was the main reason we were up,” said point guard Garrett Mills, who finished with six points and six assists. “So, we had to come out in the second half and put them away.”
From there, Mills thought the Gladiators did a better job taking care of the ball while continuing to attack the basket, which created easy buckets. He and junior guard Carson Dick also appeared to better adapt to the Bengals’ full-court press as the contest progressed.
There were still some offensive miscues, but they didn’t prevent Glenelg from totaling its highest scoring output of the season.
On the other end, Blazek thought his players executed the program’s defensive principles of guarding the ball as a team, providing helpside defense and constantly communicating.
Their effort limited the Bengals to 34 points through three quarters.
“We showed today that if we commit to defense and commit to our philosophies on defense, good things will happen, and that will translate to the offensive side of the floor,” Blazek said. “And if we can get everybody to believe that, I think we’ll be in good shape going forward.”
Next week, Glenelg returns to league play, where it has won two of its first three games. It’ll be tested with contests against Wilde Lake at River Hill — the reigning county champions — for a chance to build on this win and prove it can be a county contender.
“We can takeaway handling the pressure, because we played a lot of teams that were pretty guard oriented,” Mills said. “It was good for us to get used to an athletic team that presses us, so we can ride that back when we play the more athletic teams in the county.”