Falcon Boys Flying High As Season Nears Conclusion


By all rights, Severna Park’s boys basketball team can say they should be undefeated.

A 15-3 record is certainly nothing to sneeze at, though, especially knowing the manner of each loss is both common and correctable.

They just might have corrected it, even, based on their early February play. And that could bode well for their postseason aspirations.

The Falcons enter the final week of regular season play as winners of five straight games, headlined by a 62-55 victory at Broadneck on February 2 that avenged an earlier loss in which Severna Park led by 16 points with just six minutes to play.

The Falcons led by 16 with just two minutes left this time, but unlike the first matchup, they didn’t race to a huge lead. Instead, they built it slowly and dropped the hammer late in the third quarter. By the time Broadneck got rolling offensively, there simply wasn’t enough time left to overhaul the deficit. It got as close to five, but the Falcons did what they didn’t do the first time: bleed clock and score late in the possession to minimize their defensive possessions.

“We learned (from the first game) we needed to get more into our shot clock, so we got into our offense, got more looks and that was it. After a few ball reversals, things started to open up for us, so we worked from there,” said Severna Park forward Upton Young. “We just kept playing team defense at the end, boxing out, and getting boards. We just needed to hold the ball, play smart, and not rush things.”

A decisive performance in the paint from Young helped complement the consistent guard play from Brendan Abell that has pushed the Falcons all season. That combination has been significant for Severna Park as they seek to hit peak form with the postseason looming.

“When we are able to use him where we have multiple ball reversals on a possession, and Upton takes it to the glass and scores with five seconds left, that’s the way we want to score,” said Severna Park coach Pete Young. “This year, athleticism helps us out with boxing out also. We can’t jump with everyone, but Upton and Tucker Moran give us a little margin for error in that department because they both can spring up a little bit.”

Also since an early January break, Severna Park beat Northeast (56-55 on January 22), Southern (47-43 on January 23), Arundel (53-48 on January 26), Annapolis (37-36 on January 30), Laurel (65-56 on February 5), Chesapeake (60-39 on February 7) and Crofton (51-37 on February 9). They sandwiched wins around a 57-52 loss to Old Mill on January 29, in which they surrendered a late lead.

In fact, the occasional soft fourth quarter has really been the only bugaboo for the Falcons this season: in all three of their defeats, they’ve seen double-digit leads slip away.

“We’re trying to put ourselves in situations where we learn to play from in front because it’s almost as much of an art as playing from behind. We have to figure out how to run your offense and find shots at the back of the shot clock to drain the clock a little bit,” Pete Young said. “I’d like to say that we’ve gotten to the place where we’ve moved by it because we’re finding ourselves in that position a lot more often, but it’s a little bit of an Uptown problem. There’s been years where we’ve worked and tried to figure out how to get it done, and now we’re learning how to protect leads. That’s a positive.”

With the Falcons chasing a potential county championship in addition to a regional tournament run, every win counts. Even more important is the focus on the bigger prize that Young feels is within reach for this squad.

“I want us to enjoy every opportunity when we get a win, but I need them also to have a short-term memory,” he said. “Things in the middle of the year can’t become your season highlights, especially when you have an opportunity to achieve something bigger.”


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