Mount Hebron basketball coach Mike Linsenmeyer is a bit superstitious.
He also was worried about playing a hot Glenelg team following a 1 1/2 -week layoff.
So minutes before the start of yesterday afternoon's game against Glenelg, he was pacing the hallway, waiting for the arrival of his 9-year-old son, Joe.
"We haven't lost a game since he started sitting on the bench with us," said Linsenmeyer.
The coach's son finally arrived at Glenelg during the first quarter, with No. 13-ranked Mount Hebron losing by three. With Joe Linsenmeyer on board, the Vikings promptly took the lead and went on to win their 12th straight game, 53-43, to maintain a 1 1/2 -game lead over second-place River Hill in the Howard County league.
"His mom took a wrong turn getting here," said Linsenmeyer.
The Vikings (16-3 overall, 14-1 league) have taken few wrong turns so far on their path toward what they hope is their first county title since 1994.
Point guard Aaron Rei-White scored eight points, grabbed four rebounds and had six assists for Mount Hebron.
"He controlled the game both offensively and defensively," said Glenelg coach Jeremy Snyder. "His stutter-steps, pauses and drops broke us down for easy layups. We struggled to find a rhythm and didn't play consistently for four quarters."
Consistency along with offensive leadership from J. J. Marchany are what helped Glenelg (10-9, 8-8) win seven of its previous eight games. But Marchany sat out much of the second quarter in foul trouble and finished with 14 points. He had averaged 24 in the previous four games.
"Jerry [Calixte] did a great defensive job on J.J.," said Linsenmeyer, who also praised the play of Jeff Morales off the bench and that of Rei-White and Shawn Velazquez. "Patience on offense is what won it for us."
Velazquez scored a game-high 16 points. More impressively, the 6-foot guard recorded 14 rebounds against a much taller and beefier Glenelg squad.
"Their size didn't bother us," said Rei-White. "We win when we play smart, make good passes and play the coach's way."
Mount Hebron pulled away by starting the third quarter with an 8-0 run for a 29-19 lead. The Gladiators got as close as 39-34 in the fourth quarter, but then missed two layups and any chance they had at victory.