[Baltimore Sun] Broadneck boys basketball shocks St. Mary’s, 57-48, in season opener

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Broadneck boys basketball hit this season with a roster of variables and one experienced starter, projected to be one of the best, if not the best, players in the county.

The Bruins’ first half against St. Mary’s suggested this would be a winter to rebuild. The second half suggested possible domination.

Senior guard Jordan Brown poured in 18 second-half points as Broadneck fiercely rallied to a 57-48 victory in its season opener at home.

“We got a layup and a 3 real fast, got another layup — quick buckets. We brought energy,” Brown said. “That’s what led us to the win.”

St. Mary’s (1-3) lacked the inevitability that the two time MIAA B Conference champion team led by Player of the Year Aidan Harris possessed in every game.

But it was clear after a quarter, playing a private school schedule that started weeks earlier gave this Saints rebuilding something Broadneck, in its debut, did not have: experience together. Broadneck only managing seven points in the first quarter confirmed as much. Brown was just 3-for-6 from the foul line.

“Some guys played more varsity minutes tonight than they did all last year,” first-year Broadneck coach Jeff Starr said. “They just had to calm down.”

St. Mary’s junior Mason Hopper engineered the Saints every second he was on the floor, helping St. Mary’s extend its 14-7 advantage at the end of the first to 18-7 well into the second while leading the box-out effort on the glass.

As the Saints settled down, other figures worked their way forward, such as Joe Hall with a long jumper and perimeter bucket and Gavin Johnson with a full-court layup.

But as time passed, Broadneck’s pieces began to snap into place. Namely, Drew Cahall. Cahall’s eight points, including two 3-pointers buoyed the Bruins.

Down 25-19 at the half, a different Broadneck walked out of the locker room. St. Mary’s was the aggressor in the first half, Starr said. The second half was the Bruins’ turn.

“They came out with energy and effort,” Saints coach Trey Quinn said, “and it rolled downhill on us. It wasn’t a surprise they came out to try to win.”

Broadneck ran off seven straight points — five from sophomore Ashton Sellman — so quickly that the Saints rushed to a timeout, only to come out the other side and let their lead continue to slip away. Sick of just free throws, Brown sunk a layup, then another. The Bruins jumped ahead 35-29 with its breakneck tempo. Brown then fired beyond the perimeter for a 3-pointer just as officials called a shooting foul. His fans bowed.

“We had to be smart with the ball. We did that very well in the second half,” Brown said. “We capitalized on plays, we got stops on defense and rebounded well — boxing out was definitely something we keyed on. Once we did, we got every rebound.”

The Bruins revolved different zone defenses and marked Hopper head-on and from the side. The longer Broadneck played, the more comfortable the Bruins became with executing everything they studied in the preseason. Trust, Brown said, was the main thing for them. Leadership was his.

“We tried to give him opportunities where he was able to score within what we want to do as a team,” Starr said. “He didn’t force any shots, even when we were struggling in the first half. The energy picked up when our defense did, and we adjusted to get him into scoring position.”

St. Mary’s had to slow the Bruins down. They trailed by five, 41-36, after three quarters and pulled within two after Riley Costello’s 3-point play

But every inch St. Mary’s took, Brown added his own. His sixth point of the quarter drove St. Mary’s to timeout. His ongoing efforts, mixed with senior forward Devin McGowan, helped bury St. Mary’s for good.

“We knew we had to work the ball against the zone. We weren’t able to get stops so we could get out in transition,” Quinn said. “This is a great learning experience for us, to settle and recognize when a run is happening, and for us as coaches to recognize that run and call time out to make a switch and settle our guys down. It’s just a learning process right now.”

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