The Severna Park boys basketball team had a strong showing in its opening game of the Winter Jam basketball event at Severna Park High School on January 27 as the Falcons jumped out to a large lead over Cristo Rey and thwarted a comeback attempt to win 59-45.
Jacob Goodman led Severna Park with 18 points, Jack Leverty added 11 and Orion Young had 8 points and 8 rebounds.
The Falcons improved to 6-2 overall with a 49-36 victory over Perry Hall on the event’s second day on January 28.
The event, in its third season, has grown from eight teams in its first year to 16 this year, which included JV matchups, schools from the DC area and Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association schools.
Against Cristo Rey, the Falcons produced a suffocating defensive effort in the first half, allowing just nine points in the first quarter and five in the second. Leverty hit a pair of smooth midrange jumpers and had a steal and breakaway layup to help the Falcons build a lead. Good ball movement by Declan Fox and Stephen Horman freed up Goodman to attack off the dribble, and Tyler Dulin, Eric Bloom and Joe Harrington played strong back-line defense and rebounded well to close defensive stands. The Falcons led 36-14 at half.
“I thought the first half, both ends of the floor, was about as good as we can play,” said head coach Paul Pellicani. “We shared the ball, had good ball reversal, made good decisions on shot selection. Defensively we really throttled—14 points in the first half, I’m very happy with that.”
Cristo Rey switched its defensive scheme to a disruptive zone in the second half, temporarily stalling Severna Park’s offense. But Young kept the Falcons ahead with rebounding energy, relentlessly crashing the glass and coming up with four offensive rebounds and two put-back layups in the third quarter alone.
“I think all of us have really focused on, as soon as the shot goes up, really crash and be aggressive,” Young, a senior, said. “Even if it leads to a couple rebounding fouls, we always play the same and try to crash the boards.”
Some effective individual scoring by Cristo Rey closed the lead somewhat, but Severna Park never surrendered its double-digit advantage en route to the victory.
Goodman, a senior, has elevated his scoring this year, having scored in the teens and 20s in almost every game.
“I think everything has just kind of come together. My teammates are finding me,” said Goodman. “I’m not the quickest guy, so it’s kind of lulling the defense to sleep. I wait for a guy to go backdoor, then I attack off that, and normally I can get to the basket.”
Pellicani said Goodman put in the offseason work to take his game to a new level this season.
“I’m really happy for that situation, because he really worked hard in the offseason,” said Pellicani. “He put in all the time, all the effort, did everything he was supposed to do, and he literally changed his body. He is bigger and stronger. You can see what he’s doing offensively, but he’s getting some big rebounds, he’s getting some steals, he’s getting deflections. He’s become a complete player.”
The Winter Jam has become a great success in its three years, as players, coaches, families and referees enjoy the organized scheduling and swift administration of the games. Players, coaches and referees also had access to hospitality rooms that provided food—a sure way to win over teenage athletes on their way in and out of the gym.
Young said the Falcons hope to ascend the county ladder in 2020. The rest of the season is wide open, and Severna Park has an experienced and well-rounded roster.
“I definitely think it can be a good year for us,” said Young. “We just have to take it one game at a time and focus on one win at a time.”