When senior Brandon Held looks back on Marriotts Ridge boys basketball’s 75-61 playoff win Friday night, he’ll remember the third-quarter, euro-step layup that secured his place among the top scorers in Howard County history.
With 5 minutes, 50 seconds left in the period, Held received a pass off a fast break, took one dribble, stepped around a Glenelg defender trying to take a charge and finished the basket off the glass, bringing the Mustangs within 41-37. On the surface, it was a routine bucket. But for those who know Held, it meant so much more.
With his nifty conversion, Held became the fifth Howard County boys basketball player this season to surpass 1,000 points for his career, joining Oakland Mills’ Daeshawn Eaton, Hammond’s Micah Henry, Wilde Lake’s Trea Keys and Mt. Hebron’s Brandon Prox.
“It was amazing,” Held said after the game. “First playoff game, couldn’t have it any better way. All of our fans are here, the team supported me, coaching staff, everyone. It was great.”
The layup was the start of a big-time second half for Held, who poured in 17 of his game-high 25 points to lift Marriotts Ridge to a playoff victory for the second-straight year and help the program secure its first postseason home win since 2015. The Mustangs (14-8 overall) will now travel to Oakland Mills for the 2A South, Section I semifinals on Monday night.
“Once the guys settled down a little bit and started finding each other and making that one extra pass, it made a big difference,” coach Tim Brady said. “It settled guys down and got them into a groove.”
Joining Held in double figures for Marriotts Ridge were guards Amari Little and John Miller, who scored 16 points apiece, and big man Cam Brown, who added 10 points, several rebounds and a few blocks. And while Cam Heard only scored five points and dealt with first-half foul trouble, Brady commended the Mustangs’ point guard for keeping the team composed and facilitating the offense down the stretch.
As for Glenelg, which ends the season 8-14 overall, coach Jansen McMillan lauded the team’s resiliency throughout a trying 2018-19 campaign. The Gladiators did not dwell on their 0-8 start in county play — several of which came down to the final few possessions — and actually developed into a dangerous league opponent down the stretch, finishing the regular season with a 4-4 league record.
Glenelg then nearly added a playoff victory Friday night, jumping out to a 17-8 lead after one period and weathering a furious Marriotts Ridge comeback to lead, 36-33, at halftime.
And when the Mustangs finally took the lead on a 3-pointer from Little in the final minute of the third quarter, the Gladiators immediately responded. With two foul shots from Carson Dick (17 points) and a breakaway layup from Johnny Piwowarski (team-high 19 points), the Gladiators were back ahead, 50-49, entering the fourth quarter.
“They were very mentally tough to be able to stay together and stay upbeat,” coach Jansen McMillan said. “It’s a character trait, and I hope they’re able to use that in life to grow as young men. They’re fine young men.”
In danger of having its season end on its home floor, Marriotts Ridge took control of the game in the final frame. Leading the way offensively were Held and Miller, who combined to score 22 of the Mustangs’ 26 points in the period. Defensively, the Mustangs limited an explosive Glenelg offense to just 11 points.
The home crowd cheered and clapped throughout this dominant stretch, but it was during the final seconds, with the game already decided, that the noise level in the gym reached its peak. That’s when the referees stopped the game to honor Held, who stood alone on the court as the announcer detailed his achievement. He couldn’t stop smiling as he looked around the gym and saw the crowd giving him a standing ovation.
Moments later the final buzzer sounded with Marriotts Ridge ahead, 75-61, meaning Held’s special career would continue. He’ll now have at least one more game to add to his four-digit scoring total.
“He’s put in the time,” Brady said. “Things have changed around him and he’s adapted to it. … He’s a tough kid. He’s a basketball player, true and true.”
Marriotts Ridge (14-8 overall) — 75, Glenelg (8-15) — 61
MR — Held 25, Little 16, Miller 16, Cam Brown 10, Cam Heard 5, Olsufka 3.
G — Piwowarski 19, Dick 17, Chappell 10, Koele 5, Walsh 5, Pearcy 4, Trawick 1.
Halftime: 36-33, G
2A South, Section I
Wilde Lake (15-7) — 59, Hammond (8-15) — 44
Wilde Lake overcame an eight-point halftime deficit and then ran away with a home playoff victory Friday night.
Playing their second straight game without Marc Marshall, who is sidelined with a broken finger, the Wildecats relied on a host of players for scoring production. Four players finished in double figures, with Emmanuel Wright and Trea Keys leading the way with 14 points apiece. Micah Henry and Jaylen Wiggins each scored 16 points for Hammond.
Next up for Wilde Lake is a third meeting with River Hill. The Wildecats, who split their previous two games against the Hawks, will travel to Clarksville for the 2A South, Section I semifinals on Monday at 6 p.m.
WL — Wright 14, Keys 14, Zimmerman 11, Boampong 9, Burris 6, Mitchell 3, Adams 2.
Ha — Henry 16, Wiggins 16, Mair 12.
Halftime: 31-23, Ha
3A East, Section I
Mt. Hebron (12-11) — 68, Long Reach (7-15) — 56
So it turns out Marriotts Ridge senior Brandon Held was not the only Howard County player to surpass 1,000-career points on Friday night.
Mere hours after Held reached the milestone in a win over Glenelg, Mt. Hebron senior Odell Dickerson accomplished the same feat in a 68-56 victory over Long Reach in the 3A East playoffs. Dickerson began his high school career with the Vikings, then transferred to Chapelgate for his sophomore and juniors seasons before returning to the Vikings for his final campaign.
Another note from Friday night’s game was the return of first-team All-County guard Brandon Prox, who missed the final eight games of the regular season with a broken hand. The Vikings’ second-leading scorer on the season scored a team-high 15 points on Friday night and was one of four Vikings to finish in double figures.
Carey Olivis and Craig Johnson led Long Reach with a combined 33 points.
Mt. Hebron will now take on No. 1 seed Atholton in the 3A East, Section I semifinals on Monday. It’s a tough task, especially considering the county-champion Raiders have lost twice all season, but the Vikings are more than capable of pulling the upset. In fact, they’re one of the teams to beat the Raiders this season. On Dec. 17, the Vikings put up 85 points in a double-digit victory.
MH — Prox 15, Coleman 14, Dickerson 14, Bates 10, Ichrist 10, Crump 3, Briggs 2.
LR — Olivis 17, Johnson 16, Addo 11, Raymond Jr. 7, Martin 5.
Halftime: 32-29, MH
4A North, Section I
Howard (6-17) — 46, Catonsville — 34
No. 4 seed Howard kept its season alive by grinding out a win over fifth-seeded Catonsville in the 4A North, Section I quarterfinals Friday night. Darrion Harris (18 points) served as the go-to scorer for the Lions, who distanced themselves from the visitors in the second half.
With the victory, Howard advances to play top-seeded Dulaney on Monday at 6 p.m.
Ho — Harris 18, Colbert 10, Rodgers 8, Hendricks 5, Simmons 5.
Halftime: 21-18, Ho