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Jabari Young leads the way as AACS boys basketball holds off Indian Creek, 63-61

The Annapolis Area Christian School and Indian Creek boys basketball teams have had ups and downs throughout the course of long 20-plus game schedules. With the start of the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference playoffs coming Monday, both teams had a great tune-up for the postseason.

AACS posted a strong second quarter and held off a furious Indian Creek comeback to earn a 63-61 win in Crownsville on Friday.

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AACS finishes the regular season with a 10-8 conference record and will be the No. 3 seed, avoiding an early play-in game next week. AACS will face No. 6 Chapelgate Christian Academy on Wednesday. Meanwhile, eighth-seeded Indian Creek will host ninth-seeded Gerstell Academy in a play-in game Monday.

The reestablished county rivalry was on full display, as the teams played an aggressive and emotional game. Indian Creek forced AACS into a lot of errors as the guests committed 26 turnovers, including 16 in the second half when Indian Creek erased an eight-point halftime deficit.

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“We have actually been pretty good with the ball this entire year. Indian Creek just really brought it tonight,” AACS coach Doug Scheidt said. “They are well coached, they are physical, they are strong. They brought us into their game. We just barely hung on. I praise God we were able to pull it off.”

The additional days could prove beneficial to AACS, which will be without one of its starters for the first playoff game because of a disqualification.

The offensive production was spread out for AACS, with Jabari Young leading a trio of players scoring in double figures with 17 points. Nate Clinkscale followed with 12 points, Jonathan Perry was close behind with 11 and Jonathan Hardy added eight.

Third-year head coach Marcus Johnson’s Annapolis roots were on display, as the John Brady disciple showed the fiery attitude of his mentor. Not only did he motivate his players much like Brady had once influenced Johnson, but the 2000 graduate was adept at preaching the fundamentals throughout the game — especially during timeouts.

“There are a lot of things that I learned from all my coaches. From Coach Brady, that energy, that fire, holding guys accountable,” Johnson said. “My youth league coach, we do a lot of fundamentals stuff, because I believe that is the key. From my JUCO coach, coach Eddie Barnes, he instilled a lot as far as understanding people. Understanding the different characters that you have on your team, rather than trying to push everybody in a certain direction. It’s just exciting to be out here coaching and trying to get guys to reach a level I know they can reach.”

Johnson has been fortunate to have several veteran players with seniors Josh Chambers (18 points) and Daniel Ablorh (10 points) being key go-to scorers throughout the season. Junior Kyndall Crawford (22 points) also played a pivotal role in securing a 13-13 overall record (7-11 conference), while seniors Lawrence Fowler, Cole Turner and Josh Leedy have provided key leadership roles.

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“I appreciate the journey we’ve been on. I told the team I think we are getting better every time we have a close game,” Johnson said. “Honestly, I think we are just a few plays away from being up closer to the top.”

Johnson has a different quote that he tells the team each week. The latest: “Don’t be upset by the results you didn’t get from the work you didn’t do.”

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With losses against Severn (59-48) and St. Mary’s (60-54), it was a tough week for Indian Creek, but Johnson will take away some valuable lessons as the team heads into the playoffs.

“This week, despite the outcomes, I think we turned it up and put a little more work into it,” Johnson said. “Obviously we didn’t get the wins, but we are having some progress I think we wouldn’t have got if we didn’t work as hard as we’ve been working.”

The MIAA playoff schedule is expected to come out over the weekend, telling AACS and Indian Creek their draws.

AACS knows how to react to adversity, as it came out of a close to three-week COVID shutdown and suffered two big losses to St. Mary’s and St. Paul’s, only to win eight of nine games before losing three straight heading into the Indian Creek contest.

“The guys really came together, but teams start figuring you out, they have great game plans. Let’s say we are capable of beating anybody, but also capable of being beat by anybody,” Scheidt said. “We’ve jelled and we’ve matured a lot this season. Down the stretch it’s nice to have a bunch of bright seniors. In order to win this all, you have to play a near-perfect game. It’s possible. You have to shoot the ball well, you have to rebound the ball well, you have to execute your offense well.”


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