The celebration was on in Brandywine, and Gwynn Park junior Justin Faison stood to the side watching his teammates line up to cut down the nets when the reason why this was all happening came to him. The Yellow Jackets are “the definition of a team,” Coach Mike Glick would say later, with a roster full of potential leading scorers who don’t actually care who scores the most in any given game.
Such was the case again as No. 10 Gwynn Park pulled away from Westlake after halftime for a 79-69 win in the Maryland 2A South region boys’ basketball final Friday night. The Yellow Jackets simply had too many options, and it’s why they’re headed back to the Maryland 2A state semifinals for the first time since 2011.
They will face New Town, which won the Maryland 2A North region title, next Friday at the University of Maryland’s Xfinity Center.
“It’s just a blessing to have this many great players with me,” Faison said.
The contributors in this latest triumph varied from quarter to quarter. First came a 10-point barrage by forward Isaiah Miles as Gwynn Park (24-2) built an early double-digit lead. Senior guard Marlon White followed with his own second-quarter flurry, scoring 11 of his 18 points in a matter of minutes to keep the Yellow Jackets ahead going into halftime.
Faison (27 points) then applied the finishing touches, attacking the basket at will once junior Everett Mouton got Westlake (20-5) to within one point by nailing consecutive three-pointers to start the second half. By the time Gwynn Park was done, it had broke open the game with a 12-1 run and eventually widened the lead to 74-55 in the fourth quarter.
“They came out and tried to give it their best shot, and we had to let them know it wasn’t happening,” White said. “I love this team so much. We have so much diversity. It’s like every game it’s everybody’s game at the same time.”
A strategic defensive change by Glick also helped. He turned to the same box-and-one defense that worked so well in crunch time when the Yellow Jackets beat No. 7 Douglass on Wednesday to slow down Mouton (15 points).
More than anything, though, they were just a group of veterans who took their lumps in previous seasons and came out more resilient this winter as a result. And they did it all together.
“I don’t think anybody had us winning this region at the beginning of the year, and you know what,” Glick said. “We believed in ourselves.”
● HUNTINGTOWN 52, MAGRUDER 46: The Hurricanes are headed to the state semifinals for the first time after coming from behind in the fourth quarter to beat the Colonels during a back-and-forth 3A South final in Calvert County. Point guard Brandon Easton (16 points) put Huntingtown up for good with less than two minutes remaining in regulation.
● SENECA VALLEY 61, TUSCARORA 59: Sophomore Tristan Price took advantage of a turnover with less than one minute remaining in regulation and hit two free throws that lifted the Eagles to a dramatic win in the 3A West region final. Next week, Seneca Valley will make just its third appearance in the state semifinals, and first since 2006.
● SURRATTSVILLE 50, PATTERSON MILL 42: The Hornets punched their ticket to the 1A state semifinals for the first time since 2008 thanks to a dominating first-half performance. Surrattsville led 29-12 at halftime, and five players finished with at least eight points.
● MIDDLETOWN 59, OAKLAND MILLS 58: The defending Maryland 2A state champions fell to Middletown in the 2A West region championship game Friday in Columbia. The No. 17 Scorpions missed a potential game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer.