Falcons Avenge County Loss, Advance In Regionals Over South River


Brendan Abell found his favorite spot in the corner of the court, launched a 3-point shot, and turned to his bench in celebration as the ball swished cleanly through the hoop.

That celebration was curtailed by a swift South River counterattack, which looked destined for an easy layup until the hustling Abell, at full stretch, rejected the shot straight down and to a Severna Park teammate.

The successive plays were just two of many on the night, but they kickstarted a decisive 10-2 Severna Park run as the Falcons eliminated South River 54-45 on the Seahawks’ home floor Thursday, advancing to the 3A East Region I championship game.

“It was a great momentum shift, and I had to hustle back to get that block. Once we got in our offense after the block, I felt like we were able to control the pace of the game,” said Abell, who scored 14 for the Falcons. “We know that for 32 minutes, South River’s never going to quit, and they’re a talented team. We knew if we wanted to win, we had to play 32 minutes straight together and close this game out to continue our season.”

Upton Young led all scorers with 19 points to pace Severna Park, while Tucker Moran added eight.

The victory avenged not only a blowout loss in Saturday’s county championship game but also last year’s regional playoff contest between the two sides, which went South River’s way. Severna Park won two of the three matchups this season.

For a moment it looked like it would be clear sailing for Severna Park. The Falcons led by as many as 11 at different junctures in the first and second quarters, but the offense broke down in the second period and South River closed the gap back to two.

Whereas Severna Park fell apart in the third quarter of the county championship game trying to erase a large deficit in one fell swoop, on Thursday they stayed within themselves and remained patient, waiting for the opportunity to pad their lead.

“It was a very quiet moment at halftime,” said Severna Park coach Pete Young. “A very wise coach named Paul Pellicani (Young’s predecessor) told me once that guys react to voice inflection. "So if I go in and I sound like I’m in a heightened sense of urgency, the guys will play like (there is). But basically I talked to them like I’m talking now, and I just explained to them, this is the third quarter on Saturday. If you guys want to get this done, if you want to take this two-point lead and stretch it back out to 10, we have to get back to playing five-man basketball, and we did.”

What followed was a mature fourth-quarter performance, spearheaded by Abell’s “3 and D” showcase on those successive possessions early in the period.

Building on experiences from early in the season, where three times the Falcons let a late lead slip, they steeled themselves when South River made a last, desperate push, and held them at least two scores down for the final minutes. Running a patient offense, they still scored 16 points in the period, 11 coming from Young and Abell.

“We’ve been in plenty of close games this year, and we learned what we need to do in those situations,” Upton Young said. “We were good at the end, working the clock, getting good shots and making them foul us, so we felt good.”

The Falcons now play for the region championship on Tuesday at Stephen Decatur. The winner will secure a berth in the 3A state quarterfinals.

Severna Park 54, South River 45

Severna Park    18   6    14   16   --54

South River     10   12   13   10   --45


Cleary 2 0-0 4, Tenenbaum 1 0-0 3, Moran 3 2-2 8, Hartman 2 2-4 6, Young 7 2-2 19, Abell 4 4-6 14. Totals 19 10-14 54.


Finn 5 4-4 16, Barney 2 0-0 4, Schrader 2 0—0 4, McDuffie 3 0-0 6, Hall 0 2-2 2, Crimaudo 4 3-3 13. Totals 16 9-9 45.

3-point goals: Severna Park 6 (Young 3, Abell 2, Tenenbaum); South River 4 (Finn 2, Crimaudo 2). Total fouls: Severna Park 12, South River 15. Fouled out: none.


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