Yesterday provided another clear indication that the pieces are all coming together for the Arundel girls basketball team.
Against visiting Meade, the No. 6 Wildcats defended persistently, rebounded with authority and ran when they wanted. A steady stream of points from sophomore guard Alex McGuire - 28 in all - didn't hurt, either.
The Wildcats jumped ahead quickly, and then every time the No. 16 Mustangs tried to close in, McGuire and Co. were quick to respond for a 64-50 victory.
The win put Arundel at 14-3 overall and 10-1 in Anne Arundel County play. Meade dropped to 12-5 and 8-3.
The final seconds of the first quarter told the story.
After being limited to two field goals and a pair of free throws to trail 17-6, the visiting Mustangs got a three-pointer from Victoria Lawson with six seconds left. There was just enough time for McGuire to bank a long three-pointer at the buzzer to give the Wildcats a 20-9 lead.
"Alex is Alex," said Arundel coach Lee Rogers. "She always steps up."
Others did as well.
Senior point guard Jessie Collins added 14 points and kept getting the ball where it needed to be. Amanda Hernandez added 12 points. Sophomore forward Tiffany Johnson finished with just three points, but was a presence was under both baskets. Guard Ana Baker hassled on defense and helped with ball-handling.
Since a 56-53 loss to No. 11 Chesapeake in the middle of January, the Wildcats have won five straight county games - including a win over No. 10 Severna Park to get a share of the top spot.
"After we lost to Chesapeake, we made a re-commitment to what we're doing. It's showing," Rogers said.
After McGuire's three to close the first quarter, the Mustangs never got within single digits.
Meade coach David Wylie said it was what his team wasn't doing as much as what the Wildcats were doing.
"We didn't make any shots tonight. We blew our opportunities early, dug a hole and couldn't get back to a manageable margin," he said.
Guard Sparkle Williamson scored 15 to lead the Mustangs, and forward Shamir Footman added 12.