- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Both teams had plenty of fun playing in the Sunday Youth Basketball Leagues boys Coaches Showcase contest Friday evening at St. Mary’s College of Maryland’s Michael P. O’Brien Athletics and Recreation Center Arena in St. Mary’s City.
When the fun of playing the game was over, the North would enjoy a victory, 69-55 over the South, as it led from the start.
“It was a lot of fun,” said North coach Cal Weirich, who coached Archbishop Neale School to league tournament and North division titles with a perfect 16-0 record. “Good kids, got them all involved, it was a lot of fun.”
The North led by 20 points at halftime, 37-17, and its biggest lead was 28 one minute into the third quarter.
“The difference in the game, I think, we played a man-to-man, a fast-paced game, which is what were used to doing [at Archbishop Neale],” Weirich said, “and the kids that were on our team from the rest of the league enjoyed it. When you run fast, it’s a lot more fun, and the other team played a slow game; they just sat back in a zone, and I think it just worked to our advantage.”
Jalen Gibbs (Archbishop Neale) scored 15 points to lead the North, hitting three of the team’s seven three-pointers in the contest. He was named the league’s boys Player of the Year later in the evening.
“I was just hot; I was just hot today,” Gibbs said. “I was just hot.”
Derrick Carter (St. Mary’s Bryantown School) finished with 10 points and was named the North’s Most Valuable Player later in the evening.
“I liked the fact that I could drive and penetrate and pass it out to one of my teammates to shoot and make it, make a three,” Carter said.
Despite being down double digits for most of the contest, the South made a valiant effort. They out-scored the North in the second half, winning both the third and fourth quarters.
“I think in the second half, the guys got over the little bit of shock of playing with new people and I think that was a big difference in the first half,” said South head coach Jeff Barickman, who led St. Michael’s School to the South division title and a runner-up finish to Archbishop Neale in the league tournament final. “In the second half, you could tell we had a lot of fast breaks where three, four guys were touching the ball on passing, had some good looks down the stretch.”
The South finished the game on a 13-2 run. Tyler Young (St. Michael’s) began the run with a three-pointer and was named the South’s Most Valuable Player later in the evening.
“We played good; our effort was there,” Young said.
Tyler Young had eight points, while Noah Young (St. Michaels) added five
“We played well; I liked all the people that were on my team,” Noah Young said. “And I like playing basketball; it’s still one of my favorite things to do.”
Jaleen Sauls (St. Michaels) led the South with 14 points, while Seth Blevins (Little Flower School) hit two three-pointers and finished with 10 points.
“We played good,” Sauls said. “I missed a couple layups, but I’m getting better and better. I’m only in seventh grade, so next year the season should be better.”
Blevins said of the difference in the game, “I thought they crashed the boards more and out-hustled us.”
Gibbs hit back-to-back three-pointers to help the North out to a 10-4 lead 3 1/2 minutes into the contest. The game featured four eight-minute quarters versus the regular four six-minute quarters the league usually plays.
Brandon Lowe (Mother Catherine Spalding School) beat the first-quarter buzzer with a three, and the North led 17-8 after one.
The North had a 16-2 run over the first 5:45 of the second quarter. Michael Sullivan (Mother Catherine) drained a three during the run, and Matthew Sharkey (St. Mary’s Bryantown) hit another to finish it, putting the North up 33-10.
Blevins answered Sharkey’s three with a three-pointer of his own to stop the run, but the North went to halftime with a 37-17 lead.
The North scored the first eight points of the second half in the opening minute of the third quarter, six coming from Gibbs. But the South continued to claw back, getting to within 52-36 with 1:36 to go after another Blevins three.
Brad Hoover (St. Mary’s Bryantown) answered Blevins trey with one of his own, but the South scored the final two baskets of the period to go to the fourth trailing 55-40.
The North began the fourth by scoring the first 10 points, with the first basket coming on Gibbs’ third three of the night, and it held the South scoreless for the 4:20.
The South finished the game strong with the 13-2 run, but the North prevailed.