After senior Brendan Davis crashed into the sidelines, breaking both of his arms, he’d envisioned this day, one that many weeks later he’d be able to reverse Broadneck’s subsequent loss against Southern, on his terms.
When the guard careened into the box for a go-ahead layup off a steal and then launched an assist that would tip the night into his team’s hands, he’d fulfilled his goal.
“Really, it was all just redemption,” Davis said. “All week, we’d been talking about how much we wanted this game and what we were going to do to beat them.”
That moment, a 3-pointer involving the Bruins’ two leading scorers on Friday night, would fuel the momentum necessary for Broadneck to take down the Bulldogs, 63-52.
“It feels good to build on the win steak and keep the snowball going,” said senior Logan Vican, who led Broadneck (8-6) with 21 points. “Knocking them off, now we split them even.”
Friday’s victory properly avenged the Bruins’ opening loss to Southern, in which the Bulldogs edged Broadneck by five points — an outcome that to Bruins coach John Williams may or may not have happened if Davis, who long ago trademarked his late-game scrappy reliability, had been on the court.
“They were extra excited about the fact that they were able to vindicate the loss earlier in the year,” Williams said. “The fact that we lost BD in that game as well, it added a little something to the game. I was happy to see him get that victory, personally, from a personal standpoint.”
Two players who would be the catalysts to Friday’s game couldn’t get rid of one another to start. When Southern senior Khiyon Washington (22 points) stormed down the court, he did so with Davis on his heels, and vice versa.
Old Mill, Chesapeake, Southern, Severna Park and Meade picked up victories Friday night in girls' basketball.
And yet, they still continued to make moves on the chessboard. After Davis (19 points) converted his steal for a layup that’d eke Broadneck out by one before the end of the first, Washington had a quick, defiant response, lifting a 3-pointer that’d hand the Bulldogs the smallest advantage, 13-11, before the second quarter.
And, that oceanic push and pull between those two wouldn’t be limited to one frame. As Davis tied things up with a layup, Washington replied with a trey.
Broadneck’s pile of, to borrow language from the scandalized, drama-riddled sport that currently is baseball, swings-and-misses piled up as Southern ticked shots away.
That was predominantly Washington’s doing.
The senior guard breezily hustled back from Vican’s game-knotting jumper, which had marked the third tie in four minutes, and floated in a 3-pointer as gentle as a dandelion puff in a gust. It was a bucket that’d embark the Bulldogs on the scoring stretch they’d need to pull out of this first half with the tendril-thin upper hand.
“He’s a pretty tough player,” Williams said. “I don’t know that he showed as well in the first game as he did in that first quarter. I thought he was just really dynamic. We were lucky to be in the ball-game at the end of the first (half).”
Because after Washington’s six points, with a sprinkle of Jay Carter free throw action folded in, the Bruins’ eyes opened from hibernation.
The hosts moved methodically, beginning with little snacks at the foul line and then setting up the main course as Davis tore down the court, slipped into the open paint, and as the buzzer called hooked in the layup that would officially diminish Southern’s once sizable lead to almost nothing.
And even that wasn’t satisfying enough.
Davis broke out of the break with the same thunder. Southern’s opening possession blinked out as Davis swooped in, picked the Bulldogs and quickly flipped the score — for the very last time — with a pop in the basket.
Next time his fingers gripped the orange rubber, he averted leaping Southern guards by tossing a high arcing pass to Vican. The 6-foot-9 senior skated back, raised his hands and drained the 3-pointer that, as it dropped to the floor, may as well as acted as the snuffer that put the Bulldogs’ flame out.
“It felt like we were playing more as a team, that we were sharing the ball well and getting easy buckets,” Vican said. “That translated to defense, too. It brought our energy up. We started getting steals on defense and turning it into easy buckets.”
Down then by just four, Southern couldn’t find it within to react as they had the first half and tie the game. When they reached into their bag of tricks, their hands hit the bottom.
That flicker of victory just kept dimming and dimming. Davis won a trip to the foul line and made good on it twice, which Vican complimented once again with a crisp shot from the perimeter.
Southern moved like the recently returned winter chill affected only them, shaking their movements like a shiver, stiffening shots for misfire after misfire. Even the Bulldog’s eventual strike, Zachary Reed’s own 3-point bucket, couldn’t still the earth shifting under their feet.
Ehrlich took in that trey, and responded with one of his own.
“Normally, we have four guys that average in double-digits. We didn’t get the normal production,” Bulldogs coach Will Maynard said. “Foul trouble took a big toll on us.”
There couldn’t be a better image than Washington attempting a shot that fell directly into Davis’ hands. The Bruins prioritized the objective to smother Southern’s top shooter of the night by limiting his touches, tasking practically anyone who could get face-to-face with the senior Bulldog to shut him down.
“One of our main focuses was to guard him heavy, so he didn’t get the ball and give him as little touches as we could so we could focus on some of the other players and get fast-break layups,” Vican said.
The moment the ball touched Washington’s hands, he had a bear on his back. As a result, the senior, who’d carried 15 points into halftime, went silent in the third quarter.
“It was a total team effort. Not one guy can stop him. Josh had a period of time on him, we put Tremaine on him, then BD as well,” Williams said. “Our bigs did a great job stepping out and making things difficult for him in the second half.”
The figure that jumped into the fray of twisting blue-and-white players, rose above and hit the basket that would Increase the Bruins’ advantage to 10 was not the one you’d expect.
“We have some guards out there playing really unselfishly. BK (Brendan Kennedy) particularly, he doesn’t do a whole lot as far as filling up the stat sheet, but he is a tough defender. He is a total team guy,” Williams said. “He usually gets one of the tougher matchups out there defending. Brendan Kennedy does a lot for us.”
Any chance of chipping away Broadneck’s still manageable lead, just as they had by the end of the first half, became increasingly difficult with every errant try at the foul line.
None but one of seven Southern visits to the free throw line made its destination on both attempts. By the time Washington pocketed both of his shots off a foul, it was not only too little, too late — two small additions to a too-wide Broadneck advantage — it would also be Southern’s last contributions to the scoreboard, preceding another four Bruins points.
“We’re normally a good free-throw-shooting team. I think a little bit of fatigue, adrenaline, stuff like that (factored in),” Maynard said. “Basketball’s funny; last game against Meade, we were running from the line, and this game, we couldn’t hit them in the clutch. But it happens.”