Up against Meade, the defending public school 4A state champions, the Glenelg Country boys basketball team picked up a huge early-season confidence booster on Saturday.
The Dragons built a double-digit lead in the third quarter and then held on down the stretch for a 58-57 victory.
"I'm super proud of them. That's a fantastic Meade team right there," Glenelg Country School coach Kevin Quinlan said. "We've gotten a lot better in the offseason, so I'm really looking forward to this season."
Meade (1-1) trailed, 48-38, entering the fourth quarter, but held the Dragons without a field goal for the first five minutes of the quarter and eventually tied the game at 55 with 1:42 left. After the teams traded baskets, Glenelg Country School (4-1) held the ball for most of the final minute before Anthony Longpre hit one of two free throws with five seconds left for what proved to be the winning point.
Tristan Easton, last year's Capital Gazette Communications Player of the Year, battled through some late foul trouble and led the Mustangs with 21 points and three rebounds. With the Mustangs down by a point with five seconds left and forced to go the length of the floor, Easton's jumper from just inside the 3-point line rimmed out to send the Mustangs to their first loss since falling to Annapolis in last year's county championship game.
They've lost three games since the beginning of last season by a total of nine points.
"If you're down 10 late, then you have a chance to win with the ball in Tristan's hands at the end, you'll take that 100 times," Meade coach Pete Corriero said. "The energy we had in the fourth quarter, if we had that energy early we might have had a different result."
Longpre, a 6-foot-9 center, led the Dragons with 16 points and 11 rebounds. His only point in the fourth quarter came on the free throw in the final seconds. With Glenelg Country School playing man-to-man defense for most of the game, he did just enough to altar some shots and we was also active on the glass.
"We usually don't have 6'9" skilled players in Anne Arundel County," Corriero said. "It's definitely a different look, but I don't think it threw us off to the point where the game was out of reach."
Keith Duffin added 14 points and three steals for Meade, including a 3-pointer at the 3:46 mark of the fourth that helped the Mustangs rally from the 10-point deficit. Josh Qualls followed with 11 points—including seven in the fourth—two rebounds and a steal. His two free throws with 1:42 left tied the game and capped a 17-7 run since the beginning of the quarter.
"We might need this type of game to go forward," Corriero said. "Everyone was all panicked when we lost to Annapolis (in the county championship) last year, except us, and we saw what happened. We'll learn from this and watch some film. One game at a time."
Joshua Hightower added 13 points—including seven in the fourth—Isaiah Burnett had 11 points and four rebounds and C.J. Wilson pitched in with 10 points and six rebounds for Glenelg Country School, which plays in the challenging Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference. Four of the five Dragons' starters reached double-figures.
"That's a very strong, athletic team and they showed us some things we don't always see," Quinlan said. "I thought it was a really good test, and I think our guys passed it."
Glenelg Country 58, Meade 57
GC (4-1): Longpre 16, Hightower 13, Burnett 11, Wilson 10, Owen 6, Williams 2.
M (1-1): Easton 21, Duffin 14, Qualls 11, Jackson 6, Sturdivant 3, Elder 2.