With a pair of county wins already in the bank, the Severna Park basketball team had some building blocks in place heading into its Second Annual Winter Jam tournament over the holiday break, when 10 varsity programs visited campus for some competition to close out 2018.
The Falcons emerged with a pair of close losses, as two-time reigning 4A state champion Perry Hall slipped by Severna Park 49-46 on December 27, and Cristo Rey edged the Falcons 48-45 on December 28.
The outcomes weren’t without positives and highlights as Severna Park’s deep rotation of players gained further experience ahead of the bulk of the county slate. Jordan Hallet led the Falcons with 15 points against Cristo Rey, while Jacob Goodman added 14 and Josh Horgan (seven points) and Orion Young (four) pitched in with scoring. Against Perry Hall, Horgan led the Falcons with 15 points and Goodman scored 11.
Horgan, a senior who was named to the All-Tournament team, said the team was mostly satisfied with its defensive effort in holding a pair of strong teams below 50 points, but the Falcons have work to do.
“Just the defense and the toughness that we brought,” said Horgan, asked what positives he could cite from the tournament. “A lot of energy. But, there’s still a lot of room to grow. We’ve been humbled a couple times, but our defense can give us an opportunity to win every game.”
That was already the case twice before the calendar turned to 2019 as Severna Park notched county wins over both Arundel and South River. On December 21, Hallet scored a team-high 15 points, all in the second half, Evan Dill scored 12, Young scored 11 and Horgan had eight as the Falcons came together for a big 61-57 win over the Seahawks on a Friday night in Edgewater.
A week earlier on December 14, Goodman had 17 and Hallet scored 16 as the Falcons crushed Arundel at home, 60-40. Colin Wolfe added 10 points, Jerry Jennings scored seven points and point guard Matt Simms scored four in the Falcons’ winning effort.
Hallet said the team was well prepared coming into both wins.
“You know what, our coaches know everything about schemes and offensive planning, so once we get five guys into it, we play together and we’re in it,” Hallet said. “It starts on defense. Going at it in practice, it’s a whole camaraderie and great culture. We just have to stay consistent throughout the year.”
Head coach Paul Pellicani, who has a roster full of versatile players well suited for interchangeability and modern positionless basketball, believes the consistency will come; the Falcons are competing hard, doing well defensively and spreading the scoring.
“What stands out the most is how hard they play. They play really hard, and they play 32 minutes,” said Pellicani. “We are getting them in some terrific spots and getting them some great looks, and once we start finishing those, not only is it a different outcome, it’s not a close one.”
He noted that holding both Winter Jam opponents, including the defending 4A champs, to under 50 points was an achievement, particularly for the relatively inexperienced Falcons, many of whom are stepping into larger roles and moving up from JV this season.
“We’ve got a lot of guys that are in significantly different roles than they were before. For those guys, they’re growing into that,” said Pellicani. “The challenge on our part is, who is the spark tonight? It’s getting the right combo on the floor. The guys are doing so many great things, but it’s just getting over the next hurdle.”
Horgan likewise sees the team’s depth as a strength and looks forward to practicing hard and translating that execution into games.
“Just work harder in practice, going 100 percent all the time,” said Horgan. “We go 15-deep, so whoever we need to step up, they’re ready, and that’s how we feel.”
The Falcons visit Broadneck for a 6:45 tipoff on Friday, January 11.