Maryland 2A boys
Gwynn Park loses to City in Maryland 2A boys' basketball championship
Sunday, March 14, 2010
With just under two minutes remaining in the first quarter of the Maryland 2A boys' final, Gwynn Park's Brandon Ford connected with fellow junior Tion Barnes for a picture perfect and electrifying alley-oop. It gave No. 15 Gwynn Park a five-point edge over City at the time, but the lead would be short-lived and the Yellow Jackets' last.
Gwynn Park's shooting went cold after that play; it failed to record a field goal for more than eight minutes. City took control of the game in that stretch, and ultimately prevailed, 56-45, at Comcast Center on Saturday night.
The victory gave the Baltimore school its second straight state title, while Gwynn Park fell short in its first championship game appearance since 2004. The Yellow Jackets' most recent title came in 1988.
"We just went cold at the wrong time," senior forward Mike Hemsley said. "Their height inside definitely was a problem for us and we couldn't really hope to win shooting the way we did."
City has only one starter who is shorter than 6 feet 5, and the Knights (23-2) caused significant problems for the Yellow Jackets (20-7) in the paint. The height differential forced Gwynn Park to the outside, which Coach Mike Glick admits is the weakest part of his team's game.
The Yellow Jackets made 1 of 13 shots from behind the three-point arc, and the ill-timed shooting lulls didn't help either. They shot 29 percent from the field the entire game, compared to City's 48 percent. The Knights also limited the opportunities for Ford, Gwynn Park's catalyst.
"It was very hard to get shots off," said Ford, who finished with 14 points. "They just made it tough for me a lot. That one three-pointer I got was probably the best look I got for a three-point shot."
The game never seemed completely out of reach for the Yellow Jackets until the waning minutes of the game. But they weren't able to keep sustained pressure on City.
Led by Hemsley, who recorded 14 of his game-high 22 points in the second half before fouling out with just less than three minutes remaining, Gwynn Park continued to push in the final two frames. But every time the gap shrunk, City answered with a quick basket, never allowing the Yellow Jackets to close what seemed like a constant five-point gap.
"We're not used to playing against 6-8 players inside," Glick said. "Their size definitely affected us; our weakness has been our outside shooting all season. For us it was a really tough matchup; we needed to shoot the ball well to win the game."