Seniors Keith Williams and Shon Osborne came off the bench last night to help budding sophomore leader Mitch Guest and No. 18 Glen Burnie to a crucial 71-64 upset of No. 9 Meade in Anne Arundel County boys basketball.
The result broke a three-way tie for second place and left the Gophers (13-6) tied with No. 16 Southern-AA (13-6) at 10-3 each with three county games left.
Though Meade (14-5) slipped to third in the county at 9-4, it stayed in second place in the Class 4A East region race but are now tied with Glen Burnie. Glen Burnie and Meade are 12-5 each in the region in games that count. The top four seeds get first-round byes in the state playoffs.
Williams, who finished with 16 points and had two key steals in the final period, has been starting since his freshman season. Foot blisters sidelined him Friday and is why he didn't start last night.
Osborne, who led the Gophers with 19 points, 13 in the second half, and nine rebounds, has been a starter since 10th grade. He has been fighting the flu and that is why he didn't start.
Another three-year starter, Ray Cromwell, chipped in 11 points.
The Gopher trio is not ready give up their club leadership roles, just yet, but when they do, Guest will be ready to take over.
Guest scored seven of his 16 points in the final period, had all five of his rebounds and five of his six steals in the second half, and four of his six assists.
"Coach [Mike Rudd] has been telling me that I need to be more of a leader, and grow for next year, " said Guest. "I guess he put the ball in my hands and said be a leader. We're coming together as a team."
Down 34-30 at halftime, the Gophers took advantage of nine Meade turnovers in the third to outscore the Mustangs 17-13. Tied at 47 entering the last quarter, the Gophers went on an 11-3 run to take a 58-50 lead on a Guest-to-Sam Hastey basket with 3:30 left.
Meade's 6-foot-5 senior, Eric Bigby, scored 25 points in each of his team's two wins over Glen Burnie this season but was limited to two last night because of foul trouble. He had three fouls in the first half and picked up his fourth in the first two minutes of the second.
"We couldn't stop anybody one-on-one and they took command in that third period, " said Meade coach Butch Young. "And when Eric got into foul trouble, that changed things we wanted to do."