[Baltimore Sun] Severn boys basketball to play for first MIAA B Conference title in 31 years after 43-33 semifinal win over St. Paul’s

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The last seconds of the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference semifinal counted down, and for the first time, Jacob Randall had a reason to smile.

The junior jostled senior Kingston Price, who joyfully struck the basketball down as hard as he could. Their eyes were only on their teammates and the ensuing celebration. Off to their side, nestled between championship banners hung boys basketball, dusty and untouched in decades, with just two dates printed in the top left corner: 1966 and 1993.

On Thursday, daylight finally peeked through that door. In what became their lowest-scoring game of the season, Severn was able to settle down and conquer St. Paul’s in the second half, 43-33, for one reason: fun.

“It was tense in that first half. We knew we had a door to push through. We could feel those eyes [of the crowd] on us,” Admirals coach Mike Glasby said. “But just having our guys focusing on having fun and enjoying the moment, that was the most important thing.”

The Admirals return to the MIAA B championship game for the first time since 2017-18, where it fell to Gerstell — its opponent once again at 4 p.m. Saturday at UMBC. It’s a dream players like Price had been working for since the dark, empty days of the canceled 2020-21 season.

“This is something we wanted for years. Last year, we felt like we might’ve had it,” Price (20 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists) said, “but some things slipped through. This year, it does feel like finally we’ve made it where we’re supposed to make it.”

Down a point at halftime, there were plenty of halftime adjustments Severn knew it needed to make — but the biggest was mental.

The eyes of every hopeful Severn observer who wanted a new basketball title burned into them. The Admirals’ own hunger for the championship ached. But if they were going to beat St. Paul’s, they couldn’t move through the second half like each mistake was touching a hot stove.

The only thing the Admirals seemed to want more badly than scoring themselves was to frustrate St. Paul’s. They held the Crusaders to only five third-quarter points and a permanently abandoned advantage. Severn prides itself on defense, but Price wasn’t sure he’d ever seen he and his teammates jell that much on that side of the ball.

“We start having fun, that’s what happens,” Price said.

Severn’s Jacob Randall puts up a shot against St. Paul’s in the semifinal round of the MIAA B Conference playoffs on Thursday. (John Gillis/Freelance)

Severn’s D. J. Lee shoots against Andrew Cooper of St. Paul’s in the semifinal round of the MIAA B Conference playoffs at Severn School in Severna Park. Severn won 43-33.(John Gillis/Freelance)

Severn’s Sean Harvey, left, drives to the net against St. Paul’s Xavier Belton in the semifinal round of the MIAA B Conference playoffs at Severn School in Severna Park. Severn won 43-33.(John Gillis/Freelance)

Severn boys basketball head coach Mike Glasby talks to Kingston Price in the semifinal round of the MIAA B Conference playoffs against St. Paul’s at Severn School in Severna Park. Severn won 43-33.(John Gillis/Freelance)

Cahron Wheeler of St. Paul’s, left, moves the ball against Severn’s Sean Harvey in the semifinal round of the MIAA B Conference playoffs at Severn School in Severna Park. Severn won 43-33.(John Gillis/Freelance)

Andrew Cooper of St. Paul’s puts a shot over Severn’s Jacob Randall in the semifinal round of the MIAA B Conference playoffs at Severn School in Severna Park. Severn won 43-33.(John Gillis/Freelance)

Severn’sKingston Price, left, dribbles against St. Paul’s Xavier Belton in the semifinal round of the MIAA B Conference playoffs at Severn School in Severna Park. Severn won 43-33.(John Gillis/Freelance)

Johnathan Miles of St. Paul’s, right, shoots over Severn’s Sean Harvey in the semifinal round of the MIAA B Conference playoffs at Severn School in Severna Park. Severn won 43-33.(John Gillis/Freelance)

Severn’s Sean Harvey goes up for a shot against St. Paul’s in the semifinal round of the MIAA B Conference playoffs at Severn School in Severna Park. Severn won 43-33.(John Gillis/Freelance)

Severn’s Kingston Price puts a shot over St. Paul’s Xavier Belton in the semifinal round of the MIAA B Conference playoffs at Severn School in Severna Park. Severn won 43-33.(John Gillis/Freelance)

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Bryce Matthews readied to swing the lead back the visitors’ way, but Randall lunged like a shadow to batter the attempt down and preserve Severn’s 30-28 third quarter control.

“You might not think of Jacob as a glue guy, but Jacob makes a ton of glue guy plays,” Glasby said. “And glue guy plays are winning plays.”

When the Crusaders did get shots off, it was like the ball itself rebelled against them. Simple layups and 3-pointers alike refused to fall. When Randall laid down his second-straight basket in the fourth, the whole Severn gym knew it was over.

“I’m proud of our guys — of the work they’ve put in and the work they still have to do,” Glasby said. “It’s not just the season, but a culmination, to get to this point.”

The burden of being so close weighed heavily on the first half. Severn’s opening 3-pointer was its last score for four minutes. Three-straight unforced turnoversgreeted missed, easy layups — broken up only for a time by a pull-up jumper from freshman Corey Dixon. In addition to turnovers and missed layups, the Admirals missed their next 10 3-point tries.

Randall alchemized his mistakes. Crusaders ball-handlers would go for shots, tangle up with Randall under the net and find themselves picked clean. After Price stitched a bit of a lead, Randall closed the frame with a long jumper.

“I’m confident in the work I put in and in my guys I know I work for these moments,” Randall said. “I wasn’t too worried when I started the game slow. I knew it was gonna be me and [Price] and all the guys toward the end. We were all gonna come together.”

Near the end of the first quarter, the Crusaders began to find their offensive rhythm. Freshman Cahron Wheeler drew Admirals fouls and turned it into a 15-14 lead. Sophomore Henry Hatter and Matthews handled matters from the perimeter and St. Paul’s took a 23-22 lead into halftime.

“Kudos to St. Paul’s, they’ve been a thorn in our side since my first year at Severn,” Glasby said. “They’ve always been a great team. And our guys were a little bit tense. But at the end of the day, whether shots are falling or not, our defense can travel. Our defense can put us forward and helps us win ballgames.”

St. Paul’s — 9 14 5 5 — 33

Severn — 14 8 8 13 — 43

SP: Bryce Matthews 13, Cahron Wheeler 9, Henry Hatter 5, Xavier Belton 5, Andrew Cooper 1.

SV: Kingston Price 20, Jacob Randall 8, Daniel Growney 6, Corey Dixon 4, Sean Harvey 3, DJ Lee 2.

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