The holiday season wasn’t complete without the Southern Maryland holiday basketball tournament that was held at Great Mills High School on Thursday and Friday.
Just seven points separated the boys championship winner and nine points separated the two girls teams.
Calvert (6-2 overall) outlasted Great Mills in the boys final, 65-58, while the Great Mills girls handed Chopticon its first loss of the season, 47-38.
“We won it last year, too, and we hosted our own tournament my sophomore year, so this is three in a row for me,” said Cavaliers senior Jermaine Hunter, who finished with 17 points in the win, while Josh Smith led the team with 20 points. “We had a disappointing loss last week, but we used it to build off of and come out here and get this win.”
Calvert’s opponent in the boys final went down to the final seconds in Thursday’s first round with Great Mills prevailing, 69-68. Calvert won its first round contest, 68-50 over Chopticon.
Great Mills (4-4) came out quick in the championship game and, although they were outsized by Calvert, it was able to handle that with speed and tight defense and lead 17-10 after the first quarter.
The second quarter saw Calvert totally shut down the Hornets in the second quarter and take a 27-19 lead into the locker room.
Great Mills head coach Frank Peck was happy with his team’s shot selection early on, but it was when they deviated from the game plan when things began to go south.
”They have to recognize what’s not working and as a group make the adjustments,” Peck said. “I showed them the shot chart for the second quarter and they weren’t bad shots, but when you’re not knocking them down, you’ve got to change up what you’re doing and we went away from what was successful in the first quarter.”
Melquan Williams was the top scorer for Great Mills with 14 points.
“I was really ready for this game,” Williams said. “We lost by eight points to them last time at their place, so we really didn’t want to lose against them again. They aren’t as good of a team as people say they are. I really just wanted to come out and help my team win.”
Great Mills transfer Tyreek Murray (11 points) said his team could have done just a few things to sharpen things up.
“We could have boxed out more and pressured the boards,” said Murray, who comes from King’s Christian Academy. “Our shots in the first quarter were in the paint. From just looking at their team, I thought we were going to have trouble with them but our speed took over. It was a good battle. We have to get the rebounds and run the floor and keep working on it.”
Friday afternoon’s consolation game between Chopticon (0-7) and Leonardtown (3-4) ended with the Raiders on top 62-42. Leonardtown led 50-31 lead in the third quarter and never looked back.
Calvert will be at Westlake at 6:30 tonight in a nonconference contest, while Leonardtown travels to La Plata and Great Mills hosts Chopticon in nonconference action at 7 tonight.
Lucky shirts assist Great Mills girls
A little superstition goes a long way sometimes.
Chopticon junior guard Tyaira Priest tied the girls game up at 37 with a three-point shot, but Great Mills senior Tyniece Woodland answered back with a three-pointer of her own. Chopticon turned the ball over and Great Mills shut down the scoring.
The last two minutes was telling as Chopticon head coach Joe Cook had to sub out Priest (14 points) for a tape issue, as it started to unravel from her calf on the court.
Priest re-entered the game, but her two three-point attempts were just slightly off and Great Mills senior Kendra Bowman jumped to get a couple timely rebounds. Woodland fed sophomore rising star India King (12 points) a pass and she put the Hornets up by seven points.
Cook and the Braves bench both were called for technical fouls in the final minute as Great Mills was slowly winning the mental battle in sending Chopticon (7-1) to a loss for the first time this season.
It was the fourth straight win for the Hornets (4-4) after starting the season at 0-4.
Great Mills first-year head coach Matthew Wood said his team hasn’t lost in the coaches yellow polo shirts that they were wearing Friday night, so he and assistant coach Pat Carr may just be wearing them again in the next match-up, which will be a rematch against the Braves at 6:30 tonight at Chopticon in a nonconference matchup.
Wood said he was absolutely happy with the way his team played in the final uncertain minutes and the effort that they gave. He said in practice he’s stressing defense with his new team.
“We play them again [tonight], so we hope to play them with the same effort that we did tonight,” Wood said.
Woodland was the team’s highest scorer with 17 points. She also knocked down four three-point shots. Woodland said she and her teammates are focusing on playing team ball this season.
“We’re hustling,” Woodland said. “We never stop playing, even when we’re down, we hustle all the time.”
Woodland said that Priest was hard to cover at times.
“We never knew if she [Priest] was going to shoot or attack,” Woodland said. “We actually used to play together in AAU for the Pax River Silver Stars.”
Great Mills reached the championship game after a 46-45 win over Leonardtown in the first round on Thursday, while the Braves outlasted Thomas Stone to face the Hornets in the final, winning their first-round game, 47-41.
In the consolation contest on Friday afternoon, Stone defeated Leonardtown, 38-33.
Stone (4-4) will be at Patuxent, while Leonardtown (2-6) hosts La Plata in nonconference games at 6:30 tonight.